Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Today Show Holiday Table

What would you do if you were asked to plan a last minute, day of, dinner party for 8 complete strangers for less than $150? Well, the Today Show called with that challenge and here is what my team and I created.

We wanted a mystical holiday table and elegant but affordable food. Below are the recipes and decor. If you need more info please comment. And, tune in to the Today Show LIVE Monday, December 20th around 9AM Eastern.

Décor List:
Quilt Batting (Table Cloth)
1 White Sheet
White Christmas lights
Apple barrel for centerpiece
Burlap fabric for napkins
Birch wood candle holders
Pillar candles

Grocery store list:
3 bunches green Grapes
Gypsy baby’s breath
1 box Sugar for Grapes (to frost the fruit)

8 servings
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 cup Sauternes
4 cups chicken stock
1 15.5 ounce can puree of chestnuts
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Chopped parsley for garnish

Heat butter on medium, add shallots and sauté for 10 minutes.
Add Sauternes and cook 10 more minutes.
Add chicken stock, bring to a boil and reduce heat, add chestnut puree and whisk until smooth.
Add cream, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and simmer for 15 minutes.

(Twice baked potato)
8 servings
8 Over sized Idaho Potatoes, bake until done.
Scoop out
1 cup of sour cream
1/2 lb butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup of heavy cream or until smooth

Combine all and hand mash mixture.
Add back into potato skins.
Brush the top with butter.
Bake 20 more minutes at 350 degrees.
Finish with a quick broil to give a golden brown top.

(Venison Chili)
4 slices bacon, chopped
3 pounds venison stew meat (leg) cut into ½” cubes
1 cup chopped red bell peppers
1 cup chopped Spanish onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
1 16-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 cup beef broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the bacon in a large pot until the fat is rendered and bacon is crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season the venison with salt and pepper and brown in the bacon fat on all sides (in batches in a single layer). Remove meat from pot and add peppers, onions and garlic and cook over low heat, stirring, until onion is translucent. Deglaze the pan with the wine and tomato paste, turn up heat, and bring to a boil. Add spices, tomatoes, beef stock, venison, and bacon. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer, partially covered, until venison is tender (about 2 hours or longer). Adjust seasoning. Like any chili, best if made a day or 2 in advance so flavors can develop.

The family was my favorite part of this entire project. I loved working with Steve and Jenny Margolis and their two wonderful boys. Thank you for allowing me into your home. Happy Holidays.