Prime rib claims center stage during holiday season for a very good reason. It is the king of beef cuts. It’s called a standing rib roast because to cook it, you position the roast majestically on its rib bones in the roasting pan. Beautifully marbled with fat, this roast is rich, juicy, and tender—a feast for the eyes and the belly.
The first is the stock. Your soup will only be as good as the stock you are using. This soup traditionally is made with beef stock, though sometimes a good beef stock can be hard to come by and expensive to make. If you use boxed stock, taste it first! If you don’t like the taste, don’t use it. (If you cook a lot of beef or beef roasts, save the scraps and freeze them to make a stock with later.)
People either love turnips or they hate them. And if they love them, it was probably an acquired taste. I can still remember making a face when thinking I was biting into a yummy potato in one of my mother’s stews I had speared a turnip instead. Yet this dish is another proof point that almost all things taste better with butter and cream.
All winter long it’s Dungeness crab season here in the Pacific Northwest. Dungeness crabs tend to weigh in between 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 pounds, and have perfect meat for making crab cakes. These crab cakes are a step-up riff off a recipe I found years ago in Ruth Reichl’s Comfort Me with Apples. The difficult thing with crab cakes is that they don’t hold together that well when forming them, and they can easily fall apart when frying them. The trick is to handle them delicately to begin with, and then chill them on a breadcrumb-lined pan for at least an hour before cooking them. Just that time in the fridge will go a long way in helping them stay together as they cook. There isn’t a lot of binder in this recipe, so it needs the chilling time.
Being a quintessential Swiss dish, cheese fondue conjures up images for me of alpine ski huts, deep snow and 20°F weather. Well, we don’t get much snow or cold weather in the California central valley, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a good fondue party.