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Tasty Tuesday Holiday Dinner Table: Prime Rib

Preparations are under way...

The tree has either been hauled out of the closet/basement/attic; or a new one has been purchase and is sitting in a bucket of water ready to handle the 15 tons of ornaments that your family has progressively added to each year. Even the kitchen towels have been traded out. No more jack-o-lanterns or fall leaves. Now snowmen and Santas are living in the drawer by the oven. Toasty... that just sounds wrong!

The china cabinet displays Spode Christmas Tree pattern plates, bowls and green depression side dishes are in view. We live in a green and red mecca.

A few nights ago, 5 year old grandson had to show me the soaking wet pile of Snowmen towels on the bathroom floor. "Look, they are melting..." I suppose that is a good reason not to hang them up! How could anyone?

These decorations fill the house, and are there throughout December. But there comes a night when the table will display the warmth, the joy of anticipation, the abundance of blessings and work that brings us together: The Christmas meal. And it is always a good one!

This year I have dug back into the recesses of my mind and pulled up one of the best ever: Pepper crusted Prime Rib. No one on Earth could make this like Dorothy (Mom). But maybe that is because I could see her, talk to her and hear her voice.... Isn't that part of the holidays? The memories?

Prime Rib is as good as the cut of meat that you purchase. If you are going to go this route, it is wonderful, but don't take a cheap cut. The prime rib cut is the bone in beef cut from ribs 6 through 12 that contains a bit of gristle but is full of flavor. Do not confuse this with the Prime grade of beef. Prime rib is the location, not the grade. Opting for a prime grade assures you that there is marbled beef, and at least 8% is intramuscular fat, the reason it tastes so good. Only 2% of all beef graded by the USDA qualifies for the Prime distinction. If you find this cut at the commissary, and I did at Selfridge ANG commissary... pick it up and know you have a prize!

Pepper crusted Prime Rib
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
1 (6 lb) 4 ribbed Prime Rib: prime or choice grade
1T mixed peppercorns
1T Worcestershire sauce
1T Dijon mustard
1 head garlic
1t olive oil
1 small onion quartered

In small bowl, whisk peppercorns, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Spread over the surface of the fatty side of the meat. Place roast on a rack in shallow metal roasting pan.
Cut off the top of the whole garlic, keeping it in tact. Place on a square of aluminum foil. Drizzle olive oil over cut side. Bring foil up to enclose garlic. Place next to roast. Place onion in 4 corners tucked under roast.
Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350; bake 40 minutes. Remove only garlic from pan, set aside to cool. Continue baking meat for 1 1/4 more hours. Insert meat thermometer...not by a bone. When it registers 135 degrees, for medium rare and remove from oven. Meat will continue to cook. (If you have a cut of meat that has had the bones removed, bake until thermometer registers 140 degrees before removing from oven.) Transfer meat to a carving board and cover loosely with foil.

Gravy:
2 beef boullion cubes
2 c water, separated
1 c red wine
1/4 c flour

Put the roasting pan on a medium high burner. Add bouillion cubes and 1 c water. Smash cubes to dissolve. Stir up browned bits of the roast. Add red wine and discard the onions. In a small jar, or plastic shaker, add flour and 1 c water. Shake in jar to combine into a white mixture. Bring pan drippings to a boil, add the flour and water mixture stirring continually so that clumps do not form. Pour into a gravy bowl. This gravy will be thin.

Use the soft roasted garlic for garlic mashed potatoes. With fingers press soft roasted garlic from each clove, discard skins. Stir into pot of prepared mashed potatoes.
Call loved ones to the table! Time to celebrate!

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