MY JUNIOR!!!!

No one has ever celebrated the beginning of the long awaited NASCAR season like this – I promise! Gramma and Grandpa joined us for the feast and celebration of our family obsession!
The only T.V. he knows!!!  He is so into it – it is beyond adorable!!!  
 No beer and pizza tonight (or Saturday night as it were).  For a night race (the Budweiser Shootout) and the celebration of a long winter without Junior being over I decided to set the table and celebrate in style!  (Summer Sunday races are for my homemade pizza and I promise that recipe will come.) No, we don’t make homemade beer…yet.  And my apologies, the meat looked SO GOOD we dove in without remembering to take a photograph for the blog! I did take this photo of Aidan’s centerpiece that he and I made for the table!
This is a long post on account of the photos and directions but either one of these recipes are sure to “wow” your family and are a great addition to your repertoire.  
Côte de Beouf Compote d’Oignon
Beef Rib with Onion Sauce
This is the photo from the cookbook – I still can’t believe I forgot to take my own!!!
VERY EASY!
Here I will give you the recipe straight out of my favorite cookbook but will mention that I purchased a tip roast instead of the suggested cut of meet.  I did followed the cooking method below but not the cooking times as my cut of meat was much bigger.  (I will mention other variations I made throughout) I “eyeballed” it by cutting it in the middle while flipping it in the skillet before moving it to the oven.  I prefer my red meat more rare than well done and have been known to get the nod of approval by the waiter when ordering my steak “á point” in France or at the local French bistro.
You will  need:
1 Beef rib with bone, about 2 1/2 pounds well trimmed of fat
1 tsp crushed black peppercorns (I used multi-colored and much more than that.  I am a peppery  kind of girl!)
1 tbsp course sea salt (can’t live without it)
4 tbsp unsalted butter
For the sauce-
1 large red onion (I used about 1.5)
1/2 cup fruity red wine (Sent Big Daddy out for cheap fruity wine, he came back with Boons Farm carbonated Sangria…the recipe still came out OK and we got a good laugh!)
2 tbsp red currant jelly or seedless raspberry preserves
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2-3 tbsp Olive Oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
Wipe the beef with a damp paper towel.  Mix the crushed peppercorns and salt and press onto both sides of the meat coating it completely.  Cover lightly and let sit for 30 minutes.
Melt 2 tbsp of the butter in a saucepan over medium heat add the onion and cook until softened then add the wine, broth, jelly and thyme and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30-35 minutes until the liquid has evaporated.  Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
Preheat the oven to 425, melt the remaining butter with the oil in a large heavy oven proof frying pan or in a large flameproof casserole over high heat.  Add the meat and cook for 1-2 minutes until browned, turn and cook for another 1-2 minutes.  (Again, I flipped mine probably 4 or 5 times because my cut of meat was really thick I was nervous there was no way it was going to get done.)  Immediately place the pan or casserole in the oven and roast for 8-10 minutes.  Transfer the beef to a board and cover for 10 minutes.  With a knife, loosen the meat from the rib bone an then carve into thick slices.  (I dumped the juice from the pan onto my platter – we dipped our bread in it – amazing!!!!)
Queen of Sheba Chocolate Cake
Reine de Saba Gâteau Chocolat
For the cake:
2/3 cup blanched almonds (I blanched my own)
2/3 cup super fine sugar
1/4 cup flour (rice flour for gluten free)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (I like 70-ish %) melted
3 eggs, separated
2 tbsp almond liqueur (Amaretto)

For the chocolate glaze:
3/4 cup heavy cream (I used whipping cream, is this the same thing???)
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (I did 6 onces at 71% and 2 ounces of 100%)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp almond liqueur
chopped toasted almonds to decorate (chop in Cuisinart or smash up and toast in a dry skillet)
with non stick baking paper and dust with flour (I did not have the paper and mine came out great)
Process almonds and two tablespoons of the sugar in a food processor with the metal blade until very fine, transfer to a bowl and sift over the flour.  Stir to mix and set aside.   Melt chocolate in a double boiler, once melted add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing after each and then add the amaretto.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until the edge is puffed but the center is still soft and wobbly – a skewer inserted about 2 inches from the edge should come out clean.  Transfer the cake in it’s pan to a wire rack (a trivet on my counter would have to do – I don’t have a wire rack).  Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then remove the sides.  Invert the cake onto an 8 inch cake board (or three pink paper plates cut up and taped together – HA!), remove the base of the pan and paper.
To make the chocolate glaze, bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan.  Remove from the heat and add the chocolate.  Stir in gently until chocolate had melted and its smooth, then beat in the butter and liqueur.  I did not removed mine from the heat and I did not stir the chocolate enough as it was melting.  My glaze turned into a congealed disaster (to the right) and I had to scrap it and start all over.  (Properly made, left) Thankfully I had enough chocolate and an extra cream in the fridge!!!
Cool for about 20-30 minutes until it has slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.
Place the cake on a wire rack (or an upside down bowl as I did, with a brown paper bag beneath!)  Pour the warm chocolate glaze to cover the top completely. 
 It may drip down on the sides, that’s good, just take a spatula and add more to the sides of the cake to complete.  Let it stand for a few minutes and then gently press the crushed almonds onto the sides of the cake.
This cake can be made ahead of time and well, wrapped will last in the fridge for 3 days.  
Stay tuned for another take on this recipe I thought of the other night while falling asleep, I may take a stab at it for Valentines Day.
So, if that is not a great way to start the NASCAR season I don’t know what it…oh yes I do…JUNIOR taking the checkered flag at the Daytona 500 next weekend!!!

Bon Appetit!!!

2011 update!  Just found two wire wracks at the Thrift Store…  WOO-HOO!  AND, I fixed all the mistakes in this recipe – so sorry to those of you who tried it and were like, “What the heck is this girl smokin’?”

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