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Updated Southern Cooking:
A Buffet Dinner to Celebrate the New Year: Part III

John Tullock

Here are the recipes for the main and dessert courses for a buffet dinner for 12 to celebrate New Yearıs Eve. Check the article archive for the complete menu and recipes, which have appeared in past weeks.

Roast Tenderloin of Beef Creole

1 whole beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied, about 4 pounds.

Marinade:

2/3 cup dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanch
1/3 cup olive oil (not necessary to use extra-virgin)
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons salt

Seasoning Mix

Thoroughly combine:

1 Tbs black peppercorns, cracked
1 Tbs white peppercorns, cracked
1 teaspoon dried hot pepper flakes
1 Tbs paprika

Crack the peppercorns by placing them between sheets of plastic wrap and pressing down with the bottom of a heavy skillet or pot, or use a mortar and pestle. The pieces should be coarse and gritty.

Do not use chardonnay in this recipe, as the oakiness it contributes is out of place, creating a hint of bitterness that I find unpleasant. Sauvignon blanch and Rhine are good choices that provide acidity without the oak. Combine the wine, oil, onion, garlic and salt in a plastic bag large enough to hold the beef. Place the trimmed tenderloin in the bag and seal tightly, pressing out any air so that the beef is completely covered with the marinade. Alternatively, place the beef and marinade in a baking dish and turn the beef every hour or so to marinate evenly. Marinate beef 6-8 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. Roll the beef in the seasoning mix. Place on rack in open roaster. Roast at 425 degrees until thermometer in thickest part registers 135 degrees (45-50 minutes). Let stand 15 minutes. Carve. Transfer the beef to a platter, arranging the slices decoratively. Garnish with fresh parsley, cherry tomatoes, and whole black, white, pink, and green peppercorns for a holiday flair.

After marinating and coating with pepper, the beef can sit, loosely wrapped in waxed paper, in the refrigerator for another day before roasting. Bring to room temperature before cooking.

Aunt Hazelıs Potato Salad

My aunt was an amazing lady. When I visited her unannounced and found no one at home on one occasion, I searched near the house and discovered her 15 feet up in an oak tree, removing a limb that was shading her little herb garden near the kitchen door. She was 91. Her potato salad was a fixture on the table of every church supper and family gathering I can remember. The secret to its appeal seems to lie in cutting the vegetables into uniform, fine dice. The cubes should be a little less than 1/4 inch across, the cut chefıs know as brunoise. This recipe makes enough for a crowd.

5 pounds waxy boiling potatoes, such as Red Pontiac, peeled, diced and held under cold water prior to cooking

1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced green bell pepper
1 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 cup finely diced onion

Bring a large pot of water and a tablespoon of salt to a rolling boil. Drain the water from the potatoes and add them to the pot. Cook until the potatoes are barely tender, about 6 to 10 minutes. Add the remaining vegetables, return to a boil and cook one minute longer. Drain the vegetables in a colander and run cold water over them to stop the cooking. Drain thoroughly, dry on kitchen towels, and transfer the vegetables to a large bowl. Refrigerate, covered, until chilled.

Make the dressing by combining:

2 cups mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed

Mix the dressing gently into the vegetables and return to the refrigerator until ready to serve. Top with chopped fresh parsley and garnish with slices of hard cooked egg.

Glazed Baby Carrots and Sugar Snap Peas

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop in the contents of a one pound package of peeled baby carrots. Cook for 6 minutes after the water returns to a boil, then remove the carrots with a slotted spoon and drop them into a bowl of cold water. This will stop their cooking and set the color. Return the water in the pot to a boil and drop in 1/2 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed. Cook 3 minutes, then drain the peas in a colander and run cold water over them to stop the cooking. Reserve the peas and carrots separately, covered, in the refrigerator until you are ready to complete the dish.

In a heavy 12-inch cast iron skillet, melt 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, stirring to combine. Add the carrots and toss, covering them with the glaze. Cook gently, allowing the glaze to reduce and the carrots to brown slightly. Add the reserved snap peas, toss and cook until just heated through. Serve at once, garnished with chopped fresh chervil. Keep warm over hot water on the buffet.

Grandma Tullockıs Deviled Eggs

I must confess the secret to this recipe is homemade sweet pickles, but you can achieve almost the same result with store bought ones.

Place a dozen eggs into a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a rolling boil. Cover the pan tightly and turn off the heat. Allow to poach for 20 minutes, then drain the eggs and run cold water over them. Let them sit in cold water in the pan until cool, then peel. Cut each egg in half lengthwise, separating the yolks and placing them in a bowl, and arranging the whites on a tray.

Mash the yolks gently with a fork. Add to the yolks 2 tablespoons finely chopped drained sweet pickles, a dribble of pickle juice, 1/4 teaspoon curry powder, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Combine thoroughly, then add enough mayonnaise to produce a nice consistency for filling the whites. Transfer the egg mixture to a heavy duty zip closure bag. Cut off one of the corners of the bag with scissors, to make a hole about 1/4 inch in diameter. Gently squeeze the bag to pipe the filling decoratively into the whites. Top each filled egg with a small piece of pimento. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Taking the eggs from the refrigerator about an hour before serving improves the flavor.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Symbolizing welcome, pineapple motifs adorn many southern homes. In this easy and scrumptious dessert, it welcomes the New Year, and partners wonderfully with another southern favorite, pecans.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Sift before measuring, 2-1/4 cups cake flour. Resift with 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. In a 10-inch round or 9 X 12 oblong baking pan or cast iron skillet, melt 1/4 cup butter. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar until a syrup forms. Drain a 1 pound can of sliced pineapple in unsweetened juice, reserving the liquid, and arrange the slices in the butter/sugar mixture in the pan. Arrange pecan halves in the spaces between the pineapple rings. Set aside.

With an electric mixer, in a large bowl cream together 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup granulated sugar until the mixture becomes fluffy and light in color. Continue beating, adding 3 large eggs, one at a time, combining well between additions. Add 3 tablespoons of the reserved pineapple juice, along with 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and combine well.

Using a wooden spoon, blend 1/3 of the flour mixture into the bowl, followed by 1/3 cup sour cream. Add another third of the flour, combine well, then another 1/3 cup sour cream, and finally the remainder of the flour. Spoon the batter over the fruit. Tightly cover the baking pan with foil and bake for half an hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven, carefully take off the foil, and cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Place a serving platter atop the pan and invert. Gently remove the pan. Store the cake, covered with plastic wrap, overnight in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature an hour or two prior to serving. Serves 12.


John Tullock is an expert gardener and self-taught cook who likes to develop new recipes using his own fresh produce and the best from the local market. His interest in plants and horticulture begin in childhood, and he holds a masters degree in biology from The University of Tennessee. He also co-owns "Native Sons Nursery," a retail business that specializes in rare ornamental and gourmet vegetable plants.


A Buffet Dinner to Celebrate the New Year

A Buffet Dinner to Celebrate the New Year: Part II

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