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Party Planning & Entertaining

Savor the Season!

Recipes in this Feature:
~ Pistachio-Crusted Beef Rib Roast With Holiday Wine Sauce
~ Roasted Green Bean Casserole
~ Poached Pears With Chocolate Sauce and Red Wine Reduction
~ Beef Skewers With Garlicky White Bean Dip

(Family Features) - The house is decorated, the wreath is on the door, the table sparkles and the menu dazzles ...

These expert tips will ensure a memorable holiday meal.

  * Fourth generation Italian olive oil producer, Giovanni Colavita, says that the superior flavor, aroma and nutrients in extra virgin olive oil make it the optimal choice for dipping and for seasoning rubs. It's also ideal for low to medium heat cooking.

  * For perfect beef roasts, always use a thermometer to check the internal temperature and don't skimp on standing time! During standing, the temperature rises and the juices redistribute, resulting in easier carving and juicy beef.

  * To get the most enjoyment, serve white wines at 50° to 55°F - colder temperatures minimize the flavors and aromas. Red wines are best at 65° to 68°F. Plan four to five glasses of wine from a standard 750 mL bottle, and if there is any left over, refrigerate the bottle (corked) three to five days.

For more tips, techniques and recipes, visit, and

Pistachio-Crusted Beef Rib Roast With Holiday Wine Sauce

Total preparation and cooking time: 2-3/4 to 3-1/2 hours

1 beef rib roast (2 to 4 ribs), small end, chine (back) bone removed (6 to 8 pounds)


1/2 cup unsalted shelled pistachios, finely chopped

1/4 cup coarsely crushed coriander seeds

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme

2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 teaspoon coarse grind black pepper

Holiday Wine Sauce:

2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup finely chopped shallots

1 cup ready-to-serve beef broth, divided

1 cup Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Combine seasoning ingredients; press evenly onto all surfaces of beef roast.

  2. Place roast, fat side up, in shallow roasting pan. Insert ovenproof meat thermometer so tip is centered in thickest part of beef, not resting in fat or touching bone. Do not add water or cover. Roast in 350°F oven 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 hours for medium rare; 2-3/4 to 3 hours for medium doneness.

  3. Remove roast when meat thermometer registers 135°F for medium rare; 150°F for medium. Transfer roast to carving board; tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes. (Temperature will continue to rise about 10°F to reach 145°F for medium rare; 160°F for medium.)

  4. Meanwhile prepare Holiday Wine Sauce. Heat olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add mushrooms and shallots; cook and stir 6 to 9 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and browned. Remove from skillet; keep warm. Add 3/4 cup broth and wine to skillet; cook and stir over medium heat 12 to 16 minutes or until reduced to 1 cup. Combine remaining 1/4 cup broth and cornstarch in small bowl. Whisk cornstarch mixture and pepper into wine mixture; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; add thyme and mushroom mixture. Season with salt, as desired.

  5. Carve roast into slices; season with salt, as desired. Serve with Holiday Wine Sauce.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Wine Pairing: Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon, with its toasty oak undertones, is just the complement to the rich, bold flavor of beef.


Roasted Green Bean Casserole

Total preparation and cooking time: 1 to 1-1/4 hours

2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided

1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced

1-1/2 cups boiling water

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, not packed in oil

1 container (about 5 ounces) garlic and herb cheese spread

2 tablespoons milk

1/2 cup coarse, fresh Italian bread crumbs

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Toss beans with 1 tablespoon olive oil in 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Roast in 350°F oven 30 to 35 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring once.

  2. Meanwhile heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat until hot. Add onion; cook 18 to 21 minutes or until very tender and golden, stirring often. Pour boiling water over sun-dried tomatoes in small bowl; let stand 15 minutes or until tomatoes are softened. Drain well. Finely chop tomatoes; set aside.

  3. Combine cheese spread and milk in small bowl; set aside. Toss bread crumbs with remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil; set aside.

  4. Remove beans from oven. Increase oven temperature to 400°F. Add cheese mixture and tomatoes to beans; stir until beans are evenly coated. Top with onions; sprinkle with bread crumbs.

  5. Bake in 400°F oven 15 to 20 minutes or until beans are tender and bread crumbs begin to brown.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Poached Pears With Chocolate Sauce and Red Wine

Total preparation and cooking time: 1-1/4 to

1-1/2 hours

Chilling time: 1 to 2 hours

6 Bosc or Anjou pears, peeled, stems intact

1 bottle (750 milliliters) Sutter Home Zinfandel

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 cinnamon sticks

1/4 cup semisweet chocolate pieces

Lemon peel strips or chopped walnuts (optional)

  1. Cut small slice from bottom of each pear. Combine wine, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon sticks in large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; add pears. (Pears do not need to be upright.) Simmer, covered, 35 to 45 minutes or until fork-tender, turning pears occasionally so they evenly absorb wine color.

  2. Remove pears to platter with slotted spoon, standing them upright. Refrigerate, covered, 1 to 2 hours or until cold. Reserve wine mixture in saucepan.

  3. Meanwhile remove and discard cinnamon sticks from wine mixture; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to about 3/4 cup and mixture coats back of spoon.

  4. Combine chocolate and 3 tablespoons hot wine sauce in small bowl, stirring until chocolate is melted.

  5. Evenly divide remaining wine sauce among 6 serving plates. Place 1 pear upright on each plate; drizzle with 2 teaspoons chocolate-wine sauce. Garnish with lemon peel or walnuts, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

Wine Pairing: Sutter Home Moscato is a sweet wine, making it a perfect pairing for desserts.


Beef Skewers With Garlicky White Bean Dip

Total preparation and cooking time: 25 to 30 minutes

1 pound boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1 inch thick

1 teaspoon garlic-pepper seasoning

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

Garlicky White Bean Dip:

1 can (15-1/2 ounces) great Northern or cannellini beans, rinsed, drained

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon sherry or balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

  1. To prepare Garlicky White Bean Dip, place beans, water, vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic and salt in food processor or blender container. Cover; process until smooth. Spoon 1/2 of bean dip into clear serving bowl; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon paprika and drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Top with remaining bean dip, 1/4 teaspoon paprika and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Cover; set aside.

  2. Soak sixteen 6-inch bamboo skewers in water 10 minutes; drain. Meanwhile cut beef steak crosswise into 1/4-inch thick strips. Thread beef, weaving back and forth, onto each skewer. Combine garlic-pepper seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon paprika; sprinkle evenly over beef.

  3. Place skewers on rack in broiler pan so surface of beef is 2 to 3 inches from heat. Broil about 4 to 5 minutes for medium rare to medium doneness, turning once. Serve with Garlicky White Bean Dip.

Makes 16 appetizer servings.

Wine Pairing: Sutter Home Merlot, sleek and smooth, stands up to hearty appetizers, without overwhelming.

SOURCE: Colavita / Sutter Home / The Beef Checkoffbiscuits. Gradually stir 1/4 cup all-purpose flour into ingredients in step 2. Bake 25 to 30 minutes.


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