Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Yummy~issimo: My Recipe for Double Truffle Beef Tenderloin

Well, Christmas is almost over and, as always, I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, the right one, my hands hurt from double duty chopping and whisking. But on the other hand, the left one, I wish we could keep the feeling of peace and kindness that seems to be in abundance this time of year.

Santa Adam
Originally uploaded by

So I arrived at the Cristo's beautiful home yesterday morning, pots and pans in tow and enough bags of food to feed an army. Santa Adam was waiting for me, singing hat, blinking red nose and Christmas jammies.

First things first. Adam makes the most incredible cappuccino of all time. Move over Starbucks. His double cappuccino, double foam and extra cinnamon is a work of art. After my shot of caffeine, I'm ready to cook.

The entire family was going to be at dinner as well as several friends for the pre~dinner cocktail party. The food had to be magnificent. The appys:

Marinated Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail with Dill and Garlic Aioli
Smoked Salmon Red Pepper Dip with assorted crackers
Stuffed and Baked Baby Bellas
Prosciutto and Gruyere Pastry Pinwheels
With two vegetarians in the dinner group, I always need a WOW salad. A few days ago I was fooling around with some pomegranates and decided to make a pomegranate vinegar. This stuff is absolutely incredible! Look for the pomegranate vinegar and my soon~to~be world famous Pomegranate and Shallot Vinaigrette Salad Dressing under the Yummy~issimo! label sometime in the near future.

They didn't want the typical Christmas dinner fare of beef tenderloin, lamb or ham. No seafood either. That left chicken. For dinner:

Microgreens Salad with Baby Oranges with Pomegranate and Shallot Vinaigrette
Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Artichokes and Herbed Goat Cheese
Couscous and Spicy Mango Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Roasted Butternut Squash with Caramelized Shallots, Sage and Balsamic
Risotto with Parmesan, Sun~Dried Tomatoes and Baby Peas
Double Cheese Spinach Gratin
With sweet husband Tim helping in the clean up, I was home in front of the fire with a glass of wine by 8:30.

Red Nose Tim
Originally uploaded by
Speaking of sweet husband, he really got into the Christmas spirit this year!

Sweet husband is really excited about his Christmas present this year. I bought a 42" HD flat screen plasma TV with DVR. It's going to be installed in the wall over the fireplace on Thursday. For the last 20 years I've fought the idea of a TV in the family room but I guess this year he can watch the Bowl games in front of the fire.

Originally uploaded by
This is the first year that we could actually have a Christmas dinner together and we invited his sister, Judy, and her husband, Alan, to join us. After cooking for everyone and her sister this month, it was really nice to be at home in my comfy clothes in my kitchen cooking dinner for the people I love.

Double Truffle Beef Tenderloin
4 pound beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
2t Truffle salt
1t fresh cracked black pepper
White truffle oil for drizzling
Remove beef tenderloin from refrigerator at least 3 hours prior to cooking. Sprinkle with truffle salt and cracked pepper. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and allow to come to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 475. Unwrap tenderloin and roast 30~35 minutes. Remove from oven when internal temperature reaches 135. Tent loosely with foil and allow to rest at least 30 minutes and up to one hour. Slice and drizzle with white truffle oil. Yummy~issimo!

Merry Christmas. May 2008 be filled with peace, love, happiness, good food and great wine!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It Was One of Us!

So yesterday's Horoscope for Virgos was a bit ominous:

You've got a whodunit on your hands. There are several suspects, but don't jump to conclusions until you do some thorough investigating. The answer isn't so obvious.

Horoscopes are like fortune cookies ~ fun to read but I'm not going to bet my life's savings (such as they are) on my "lucky" numbers.

And, then the phone rings.

Hi, this is Debbie.

No salutation. Never a good start to the conversation.

I need you to cook for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day brunch. There will be 8 for dinner and 14 for Brunch. I want beef tenderloin, potatoes, yada, yada, yada. For Christmas Day I want yada, yada, yada.
By now I've gone into a self~induced coma.

Uh, ma'am, do you realize that Christmas Eve is only four days away?

Of course I know that! That's why I'm calling you. Do you think I can do all this by myself?
Am I on Candid Camera or am I being punk'd by one of my friends?

Ryan, is that you?

Uh, ma'am. I'm sorry but I've been booked for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day since August. Unfortunately, there's no way I can squeeze you in.

Is there another Personal Chef who can do it?
Yeah, in addition to keeping all of their calendars, I can guarantee that they would love to spend 8~10 hours planning, shopping and cooking as well as losing money as the cost of goods for the Christmas Eve dinner will probably be close to the total amount you're willing to pay.

Well, you can call the other Personal Chefs in town, but I have to tell you that this close to Christmas I have to believe they're all booked.

The whodunit it obvious and I'm not dooin it.

I looked around the kitchen. Nobody behind the kitchen island with a hidden camera. Nobody in another room laughing as they hang up their cell phone.

Are you sure I'm not being punk'd?

Russ, is that you?

Nope. Unfortunately the answer was obvious.

It was one of us.

An overworked, stressed~out person in charge of the family holiday, gifts and food who works more than full time, has no personal time and is expected to pull miracles out of the skillet for Christmas.

Good luck, my dear. When you reach my age, you realize you can't do it all.

But with the grace of Bacchus, you won't care!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Green Tea Martinis at Lunch

So I attended sweet husband Tim's office holiday party today.

You know the routine.

The entire office, including spouses, shows up at the restaurant for lunch. They stick us in a private room far away from normal people. Silly hats, Secret Santa gag gifts, Christmas muzak on the sound system.

In years past there have been a large selection of soft drinks for our dining pleasure.

This year, party central was at Soho. Soho Japanese Bistro is a great sushi restaurant where I just happen to know the bartender, Ian. Well, you'd know Ian too if you'd spent as much time there as I have in the last couple of years.

So, sweet husband is having a Dr. Pepper with his steak and shrimp and I get all wild and crazy and order a Green Tea Martini. Ian makes a kickbutt Green Tea Martini.

Sweet husband is ready to hide under the table.

Green Tea Martini disappeared entirely too quickly for polite company.

Sweet husband's feet are barely visible under the tablecloth.

So the server comes around seeing who else needed soda refills. Not me.

Ian walks in ~ of course I'm sitting as far away from the door as possible and he has to pass by every one of the firm's Partners to get to me ~ proudly offering me his holiday gift of another Green Tea Martini.

I just couldn't hurt his feelings.

Well, green is the color of the season. And Green Tea is really really good for you.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I'm a Personal Chef...Of Course I Can DO Desserts!

It's that time of year again and all the folks who think that a Personal Chef service is a substitute for dinner at Bob Evans or Olive Garden are calling me.

I think it's a conspiracy to drive me crazier.

Hi, this is Chef Debbie.

Hi. I want to give a gift certificate for Christmas. I want 2 weeks worth of meals with no repeats for a single person.

OK. Let me make sure I understand ~ you want 14 single serving individual meals with no repeats.


OK. The price for that is $$.

What! It's just food for two weeks.

Yes ma'am. Let me explain how a Personal Chef service works...

Hi, this is Chef Debbie.

Hi. I want to buy a Gift Certificate for a friend. His wife just died and I thought I'd get a Personal Chef service instead of flowers.

What a nice thought. I can do one week's worth of meals for $$ and two weeks worth of meals for $$.

I just wanted to get this instead of flowers. I thought I'd spend about $75.

I understand but let me explain how....

Hi, this is Chef Debbie.

I want to buy a Gift Certificate for my boss for Christmas. We're all going in and can spend $$. What can I get for that?
Happy Meals for everyone?

Well, what do you think you and your office workers want for your boss?

We thought we could get food for a few weeks or maybe a dinner party.

Uh, let me explain...

And, finally the best one of the day.

Hi, this is Chef Debbie.

Hi. I want to purchase dessert for 8 for Christmas Day. I'd like two dozen Christmas cookies in all different shapes and some Christmas candy. Maybe something exotic like Peppermint Fudge or something like that.

Uh, ma'am I'm a Personal Chef.

Well, of course, I know that! But I just want dessert. You're a Personal Chef. Can't you do dessert?

I can do dessert. Your price will be $$$$.

Note to self. Turn off cell phone and visit with Bacchus tonight.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Champagne with The Beach Boys

So back to last Thursday. Great friend Kristy invited sweet husband Tim and me to the grand opening of The Savannah Center. The Savannah Center is a multi~gazillion dollar conference center slash reception hall slash private party hall in West Chester.

Kristy said it's going to be a great party and one we can't miss. And Kristy knows parties.

I hadn't even heard of it. Needless to say, if I'd pull my head out of the oven once in a while maybe I'd know what's going on in the world.

So we get all dressed up and you know how much I love to do that (sarcasm intended). Makeup, high heels, blow~dried hair, little party purse which holds no more than the requisite tip money and business cards.

We arrive at the Center and immediately after we walk through the door there are servers in black tie with trays of champagne. Whoohoo! My kind of party!

Long story short. Open bar with top shelf everything all night, so many different buffet stations that I lost count, a sushi bar, a beef tenderloin bar, raw bar and a dessert station that was so beautiful it could make you cry. Even with the masses of people who were invited, I never had to wait in line for anything ~ that's how many servers, bartenders and food stations they had set up. Saw tons of old friends and acquaintances. Funny how I haven't seen many of them in a long while but they all knew I was a Certified Personal Chef and owner of
Yummy~issimo! Personal Chef Service.

And if that's not enough reason to have a great time, there was a private concert by The Beach Boys. Now knowing spoiled brat for a long time, Kristy had VIP tix for sweet husband and me. That meant a private "meet~n~greet" with the BBs with 2nd row seats for the concert. Well when the concert started, Mike Love invited the first few rows to come up to stand by the stage.

Yep. Spoiled brat. Front row, dead center champagne glass in hand.

What a way to spend a Thursday!