So I am a bit late. Sorry. But I wanted to grade my Christmas dinner and take a critical look at it to think about what I can improve next time. So here we go.
Prime rib roast: A-
I went heavy on the salt two days before cooking this year. Then I did a slow roast at 170 degrees for about six hours before adding a sear for ten minutes at 500 degrees. I loved the salty crust on the outside. It was perfectly tender. But in retrospect, I think I will go back to medium rare instead of medium next year.
Horseradish sauce: A+
I developed a taste for horseradish over the last year so I wanted to make a horseradish sauce to go with the roast this year. I got lots of complaining from the family. I started with fresh horseradish root and used this process to turn it into something usable: http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/07/ho...
I do not own a food processor, but I do have a Vitamix blender. It did pretty well despite a tendency for the horseradish to form a clump below the spinning blade. Then I used this simple recipe to make the sauce: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/fo...
The result was sheer perfection. Now my family stopped complaining and is demanding more. I have another horseradish root ready to go!
Mashed potatoes: C-
My mother asked me to make them softer and more souplike. I did. I won't do it again. Sorry, mom. Light and fluffy is good. Creamy is fine. Soupy... ick.
Using the reverse sear method for cooking the roast means that I don't get much in the way of pan juices or fond to use in making gravy. So I end up making my own fond by browning some stew meat. This year I created too much fond. So when I deglazed and made red wine gravy, the flavor was way too strong. I ended up diluting it until it just about overflowed the pan and it was still too strongly flavored! Also, I am not so sure about Merlot as the right kind of wine for making gravy. I really don't know my wines though, so . . . .
But the consistency was perfect.
This one surprised me because my mother is not a good cook and I let her make this part this year. She did an awesome job using spinach, carrots, onions, evoo and apple cider vinegar.
Anybody else have retrospective thoughts?