Fillet of Beef & Christmas Dinner

Roast Filet of BeefMmmm.  Christmas dinner….

I was a bit alarmed when I looked at the calendar this morning and realized that there are only ten days until Christmas.  Not because I have shopping to do or my schedule is stressful, but because I make myself wait every year to do the typical holiday stuff.  Things like listening to Christmas music, making cookies, and drinking large amounts of peppermint hot chocolate.  I don’t even like to wrap my presents until just a few days before Christmas because I want the excitement and anticipation to build.  When I saw the date today I thought to myself, This is really going fast!  Have I really taken advantage of the season?  Have I made this time of year special enough for my family that they will remember the magic and wonder of this time?  Do they understand the importance of the holiday season?  The giving, the love, the selflessness, and most importantly, the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ?  I hope so.  I want them to think of the holidays as a time for family and traditions.

My parents didn’t approach the holidays with a big focus on tradition.  Inadvertently though, they absolutely stuck to them.  With such a large family, we rarely did much in the way of outings or excursions, and I think that the special things we did do were less because of tradition and more because it was just easier to keep doing things the same way.  But many of them stuck, making me even more aware of how much I want the same for my kids.  Not necessarily the exact same traditions, but events or activities that they can get excited about and count on every year.  This has become harder than I thought, married to a man that rarely gets any national holiday off and who has a schedule that changes every week.  One year, we celebrated Christmas the afternoon of the 24th.  The next year it was on Christmas Day, but not until that night.  It varies, depending on his schedule and part of me kind of likes the uncertainty.  We are all safe, happy, and most importantly, he is here.  His years on a nuclear submarine taught me that.  Be grateful he is here.  And I am.  No matter when we celebrate it, our little family of four (almost five!) will be together.  That is easily the best part of the holiday season.

Being who I am, I would be dishonest if I didn’t say that any tradition or activity this time of year has me thinking about food.  And no, this is not the pregnancy talking.  Believe it or not, I am usually so sick during my pregnancies that food is kind of an enemy for me till after the birth.  The cravings, endless baking and cooking of foods, and desperate drives across town for the food I need most- all that comes the rest of the time when I am normal.  This has caused my husband no small measure of grief, I am sure.

In regards to Christmas, we have had to kind of figure out our meal celebrations.  The only thing we have settled on as a tradition really, is meat.  *sigh*  Just the word makes me happy.  Beef in particular.  What accompanies the beef varies, but this year, this is what will be on our table:

Roast Fillet of Beef
Potato Gratin
Green Salad W/Quick Vinaigrette
Butter Rolls
The Best Carrot Cake In The World

The beef is what I am sharing with you today, but please don’t be intimidated.  I know so many people who never-as in never-make any large piece of meat.  No roast chicken or turkey, no roast beef, no hams, and no pork roasts!  I often hear my friends say that they just don’t know what to do with them.  How long do you cook it?  How do you know when it is done?  Well, behold!  The following is the easiest recipe you will ever find for one of the best cuts of meat that exists.  It feeds a crowd, takes less than an hour, and only has a few ingredients.  It is virtually fool proof!  Several years ago I consolidated all my recipes for this kind of dish and this is what came out on top.  It is now the only method I ever use.  It never fails.  It is expensive to make, yes, but I am not saying you should make this just any day of the week.  This is a special occasion dish.  A holiday dish that your family will definitely remember.  And just the thing if you are looking for a new Christmas tradition.
Roast Filet of BeefOne Year Ago: Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins

Fillet Of Beef
Recipe from Ina Garten
Serve it with bleu cheese and it just may render you speechless.

1 whole beef fillet (about 5 pounds) trimmed and tied
softened butter
salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.  Yes, it may smoke a bit if there is anything spilled on the bottom, but just let it go for awhile.  Place your beef on a foil lined sheet pan, smear all over with butter and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper.  That is it!  Roast in the oven for exactly 25 minutes, remove, tent with foil and let rest for another 15 to 20 minutes.  This will put your fillet at medium rare.  If you go longer than that to get your meat more done, don’t go past 30 minutes.  If you are a well done or at least ‘cooked through’ kind of beef person, make something else.  This cut is too special and too expensive to ruin it with over cooking!  Remove the strings (duh) and slice into 1/2 inch slices and serve.  Seriously, this is ‘roll your socks up and down’ amazing.