Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Traditions with Prime Rib Roast

Christmas traditions and the love that creates them tie us together as a family. They form a bond strong enough to draw us back home for Christmas even though we may live a thousand miles away. Don't we all love Christmas?

Children especially love the magic that surrounds this season. It captivates them. They greatly anticipate sharing their favorite family activities with each other. For example every year on Christmas eve we would bundle up in layers of clothing to walk down this beautiful tree lined street in Fresno, California, Huntington Boulevard.  The homes were larger than life and decorated for Christmas with lights and ornaments, nativity scenes and the baby Jesus.  They were a wonderful sight to behold.  You could not help but stop and soak in each of these homes for several minutes.  You stood there in awe of the magic that homeowner brought to life right there in his very front yard.  You loved the smiles and the wide eyed little children as they took it all in and wondered what Santa was going to bring them that night for Christmas.  It was a family tradition in the making.

When it was time to go home and tuck the children into bed, we had another tradition.  Every Christmas eve since my oldest daughter was born we read the story, "The Night Before Christmas".  My youngest daughter, who is now 20 something, insists that I still read it to her on Christmas eve.  As was the tradition, on Christmas eve  I climb into my bed, call her on the phone and begin to read our story.

It is difficult not to get emotional and teary eyed as I think about those 3 small children with eyes so wide taking in all of the sights and sounds of Christmas.  Now it is my children's turn to begin their own traditions for Christmas.  It warmed my heart when my daughter told me that she had taken her own children to walk on those very same sidewalks on Huntington Boulevard that she walked as a little girl.

Another of our family traditions was the wonderful Prime Rib dinner my mother would prepare.  This is a tradition that I am proud to say I have held onto myself. 

Here is my recipe for a fool-proof Prime Rib dinner.No matter what size roast you have, you will start it in a pre-heated 450 degree oven for 15 minutes then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees for the balance of cooking time. Cooking times will vary depending on size of the roast and desired level of doneness. The following chart gives approximate times for to reach "rare" at various sizes.

Cooking Time for Rare (120°)

(3) Ribs, 7 to 8 lbs. 15 minutes at 450°, Then 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours at 325°

(4) Ribs, 9 to 10 lbs. 15 minutes at 450°, Then 1 ½ to 2 hours at 325°

(5) Ribs, 11 to 13 lbs. 15 minutes at 450°, Then 2 to 2 ½ hours at 325°

(6) Ribs, 14 to 16 lbs. 15 minutes at 450° Then, 2 ¾ to 3 hours at 325°

(7) Ribs, 16 to 18 lbs. 15 minutes at 450° Then, 3 to 3 ¾ hours at 325°

Every half hour or so, baste the ends of the roast with the drippings. Use your meat thermometer about a half hour before the expected end of the roasting time. Make sure to insert it in the thickest part of the meat, not touching the fat or bone. When the internal temperature reaches 120°, pull it out of the oven and cover with foil. Let the roast sit for twenty to thirty minutes. It will continue to cook during this time, reaching a temperature of about 125° to 130°. This resting period allows the juices and flavors to permeate the roast.

Creamy Horseradish Sauce Recipe:

About ¼ to ½ cup of prepared horseradish mixed with two cups of sour cream.

Add two tablespoons of lemon juice and a teaspoon of salt.

Thoroughly mix the ingredients, adding more horseradish as desired.

Rare meats measure in at 120° to 125° with a bright red center that grows slightly pinkish towards the exterior. Medium rare meats measure between 130° to 135° and are characterized by their extremely pink center portion that grows brown towards the exterior. Medium meats have a light pink center, brown outer portions and readings of about 140° to 145°. Medium well is not pink at all and is achieved at 150° to 155°. Well done is reached at 160° and above and is characterized by a uniform brown color.

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