Gourmet cook Tarla Fallgatter of Newport Beach created the menus for a weekend filled with easy holiday meals. Plan to prepare as many dishes ahead as possible, especially for the most lavish meal, Christmas dinner on Sunday. All recipes serve 8. Bon appetit!
BEEF AND VEGETABLES FOR STIR-FRY AND CHINESE BURRITOS
1 1/2 pounds flank steak, cut against the grain into thin slices
Fresh Chinese noodles (lo mein is available in most grocery stores)
Sauce (for burritos)
12 flour tortillas (for burritos)
3 teaspoons mushroom soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons dry sherry
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 drop hot chili oil (optional)
4 1/2 green onions, diagonally cut (set aside)
3/4 cup broccoli flowerettes, steamed and sliced
1/2 cup jicama, peeled and cut into julienne strips
1 1/2 carrots, striped with a zester
1/2 cup snow peas, blanched and cut into 3 slices each
1/2 cup bean sprouts
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 thin slices fresh ginger, finely minced
3 tablespoons peanut oil
Sauce (for burritos)
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon imported sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
1/4 teaspoon hot chili oil (or to taste)
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons cold water (optional thickener)
Mix meat with marinade. Prepare all vegetables and seasonings for the vegetable mixture. Mix together the sauce ingredients for Saturday's burritos and refrigerate.
Heat a fry pan or wok on high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil and stir-fry the meat until it loses its raw color. Remove meat to platter and keep warm. Return pan to high heat and add remaining tablespoon of peanut oil until hot. Add garlic and ginger and fry 2 minutes, then add all vegetables except green onions and stir-fry until they are heated but still crisp. Stir in the green onions and pour the sauce in with cornstarch/water mixture. Serve with fresh Chinese noodles. Refrigerate remaining stir-fry for burritos.
Heat flour tortillas until warm. Spread each with small amount of sauce mixture. Top with remaining stir-fry from night before and wrap like a burrito. Serve spread with a little more sauce mixture and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.
LEMON CURD CAKE
4 eggs, separated
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 cup cream
Lemon curd (recipe below--or can be purchased at most grocery stores)
Sifted powdered sugar
Raspberry puree (recipe below)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat yolks and sugar until thick and light-colored. In another bowl, beat egg whites with pinch of salt until they hold stiff peaks, and beat in lemon juice and peel. Add one-fourth of the egg whites to the yolk mixture and fold them in gently but thoroughly. Pour yolk mixture onto the remaining whites and sift the flour over the mixture. Fold mixture together gently until there are no traces of white. Line a jelly roll pan with a piece of parchment paper and spread the batter evenly in the pan. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool, remove from pan turning top side down onto a towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Remove parchment paper.
Whip the cream and fold two-thirds of the lemon curd into it. Spread remaining third of the lemon curd on cake, top with the cream/lemon curd mixture and roll up, using the towel to help. Dust the top with sifted powdered sugar.
Slice cake, place on plate, spooning some raspberry puree around slice. Garnish with mint leaves.
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
Zest of two lemons
6 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash lemon food coloring (optional)
Process eggs, sugar and zest in food processor fitted with a metal blade for 1 minute. Add the butter and process 1 minute more. Add lemon juice and salt and process 10 seconds. Put mixture in a heavy 2-quart pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon just until mixture starts to boil and coats the spoon. Strain and chill well.
1 basket fresh raspberries or 1 small package of frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed
Sugar to taste (about one tablespoon)
Framboise, Chambord or Kirsch liqueur (optional)
Puree raspberries and sugar to taste in a food processor. Add liqueur, if desired, and puree until smooth. Strain through sieve.
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons chopped onion
1/2 cup milk
Dash of freshly ground white pepper
8 slices of bacon
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
Salt to taste