From all of us here at the Matt Fetick Team – wishing you a Warm and Wonderful Holiday Season filled with family, friends, laughter and love!
Greetings good people, my name is Kate Manchester and I’m the newest member of the Keller Williams Matt Fetick Team! While we are focused on real estate here, I spent 20 + years in New York in the food business, first with Ina Garten at the Barefoot Contessa in East Hampton, NY. Shortly after arriving I also found work as a private chef and caterer to a very select clientele: think Steven Spielberg, Donna Karan, Ed Bradley, a US President and many more. During my years as a chef I wrote about food for Martha Stewart Living and other food magazines, and later went on to launch and publish Edible Santa Fe, created Edible Radio for Edible Communities, ran the Santa Fe branch of Slow Food, and founded a small cooking school in Albuquerque. When my good husband took a job in Kennett Square I decided to hang up my toque to pursue my passion for buying and selling real estate. On behalf of the team, I wanted to share our version of a festive holiday feast with you!
Christmas morning breakfast needs to be something special and outside of the ordinary. If you’ve got little ones toast with Nutella may be festive enough – waffles or Pumpkin Pancakes are a win for kids and adults – with real maple syrup of course. To save time in the morning assemble dry ingredients the night before. For grown ups, something more sophisticated and festive which can also be assembled on Christmas Eve: Morning Bread Pudding fits the bill perfectly. It’s a lovely custardy affair with mascarpone. Once baked, invert onto a platter like an upside down cake to find the whole number soaked in a gorgeous caramel sauce! I love this dish because you can assemble the night before and put it in the fridge, then bake when you get up in the morning. (Make sure to remove the cold dish from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature before you put it into the hot oven!) Fry up some extra thick, smoky bacon and put together a platter of fresh orange slices drizzled with honey and pomegranate seeds – and you’ve got this!
Drinks, Snacks and Music…
As for dinner – it’s the holidays and we don’t eat like this all year. January and our resolutions are right around the corner so enjoy every bite! Much of this menu can be assembled early in the day and then it’s simply a matter of timing to get things in and out of the oven in time for dinner. After breakfast, queue up the tunes, then get to work on assembling your antipasto platter which will serve as your stress free hors d’ouevre. I generally go straight to Pinterest for inspiration here since the sky’s the limit as to what you could do. Include 2-3 cheeses, olives, nuts, fruits and some salami or cured ham and you can’t go wrong. Don’t forget some honey and fig jam to accompany the cheeses! Total Wine has put together a terrific list of their top wines of 2017 which should make choosing wine for dinner or to gift a breeze. Put together a holiday Glogg in the slow cooker or pull out Grandma’s punch bowl and mix up a batch of Under-the-Mistletoe-Punch and you’ve got something guests can help themselves to and the house will smell wonderful.
Showstopper Dinner Options…
Dinner – the star of the show is Melissa Clark’s Porchetta – I took a picture of the recipe to my butcher – the venerable David Boxler, owner with his wife Dorothy of the Country Butcher in Kennett Square. I had never cooked a porchetta and had no idea how wonderful it would be. David asked if I would like it ‘seasoned’, and of course I said yes. When I went to pick it up – all 16lbs. of it – it perfumed the car with garlic, lemon and rosemary. It was a gorgeous roast covered with actual pig skin – and stay with me here – cooked to a delicious, crispy crackling cover and kept the roast moist. Your guests will go wild – I promise. For a roast this size you can actually put it in the oven overnight. Put the roast in at 11:00 PM the evening before you’ll serve at 400 degrees for the first 35 minutes, then reduced to 250 degrees and go to bed. We took the porchetta out of the oven at 8:30 the next morning and the house smelled divine and everybody woke with stomachs growling! The porchetta is fine to sit for several hours before serving, but make sure you reserve the cooking liquid (minus the fat). The porchetta makes wonderful leftovers because you can shred the meat and make fabulous sandwiches or incorporate into a ragu to serve atop pappardelle several days later. Country Butcher, 145 S. Walnut St., Kennett Square, PA 610.444.5980.
Also on the menu, a filet of beef with a heart stopper Gorgonzola Cream sauce. Ina Garten’s Filet of Beef recipe is foolproof and takes 25 minutes start to finish – minus the resting time. One tip here – the oven can get very smoky as the filet cooks at such a high heat. I generally make sure the fan is on high – but also roast the filet on a rack with a sheet pan lined with foil – and pour about an inch of salt to cover the pan. The salt will absorb the fat and cut down on the smoke.
For sides – an Italian Fennel Salad can be made in the morning and sit out all day and will just get better and better the longer it sits. It couldn’t be simpler and is a perfect side. Another side that always gets rave reviews are Ina’s Potato and Fennel Gratin. You can prep everything the day before and assemble just before baking. Honey Maple Roasted Carrots are as gorgeous to look at as they are delicious to eat. I love using whole carrots – but you could easily chunk and roast if it’s easier. Roasted Brussells Sprouts and Squash with Dried Cranberries is your green in this menu – and can be the last thing that goes in the oven while the filet is resting.
Bread is easy –one dense, grainy loaf warmed in the oven and some soft rolls that can serve double duty for dinner and sandwiches later can do the trick.
It’s a Wrap!
For dessert – who doesn’t love a Tarte Tatin! It’s another make ahead with WOW factor, and it’s a nice contrast to the endless holiday cookies that seem to be everywhere you look right now. And -it’s easier than making a pie and just as delicious. Follow the directions and it really is foolproof, then serve with a side of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of crème fraiche. If this all seems like it’s too much – nobody would fault you for ordering pies from Nomadic Pies in Kennett Square, or Magpie in Philly.