Easy, Elegant Entertaining

If you are one of those people who has been saving your fine china and crystal for a special occasion—well, this is it.

Photos by Leslie Byars Register

For more recipes and fun entertaining ideas, visit dearpartydiary.com.

Foolproof Beef Tenderloin

1 (6- to 7-pound) beef tenderloin, trimmed
Olive oil
Kosher salt and coarsely ground pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons Montreal Seasoning, optional
12 (6-inch) sprigs rosemary
Heavy-duty aluminum foil
Horseradish and Sour Cream Sauce

Place beef tenderloin on a large piece of plastic wrap on a baking sheet. Coat completely with olive oil, salt and pepper, and Montreal seasoning, if desired; rub into meat on all sides. Cover with sprigs of rosemary; wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill 2 hours or overnight.

Allow beef to come to room temperature before cooking.

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Light one side of gas grill, heating to 400 to 450 degrees (high) heat; leave other side unlit. Sear tenderloin over heated side of grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side; transfer to unlit side, and cook, covered with grill lid, 10 to 12 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the tenderloin. (If using a charcoal grill, do the same with the hot coal side and the opposite side without coals.)

Remove from grill, and wrap tenderloin in 6 large pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil (one at a time). Roll up foil-wrapped tenderloin in a heavy beach towel. Let rest for 3 hours at room temperature. Serve with Horseradish and Sour Cream Sauce.

Horseradish and Sour Cream Sauce

Makes approx. 1 cup
4 tablespoons horseradish
4 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. This can be done up to three days in advance. (This recipe can easily be doubled for a large crowd.)

Holiday Haricot Verts

1½ pounds fresh haricot verts (thin French green beans)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, sliced into strips
1 orange pepper, sliced into strips
Zest from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ to 1 teaspoon salt

In a medium-size Dutch oven, blanch trimmed green beans in a pot of boiling water for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender. Immediately place cooked beans in a bowl of ice water. Allow to cool; then place on a paper towel to dry.

Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and shallots, and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add peppers and remaining ingredients. Sauté until thoroughly heated. Serve immediately.

Parmesan Puff Pastry Breadsticks

1 (17.3-ounce) box puff pastry
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
Flour for dusting
1½ cups shredded Parmesan
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Parchment paper

Allow the puff pastry to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, or follow counter thawing directions on package. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat egg and water in a small bowl.

Place puff pastry one sheet at a time, onto lightly floured surface, rolling it to be slightly bigger, about 10 by 12 inches. Brush pastry with egg mixture, covering the entire surface. Top with half of the Parmesan and salt, then sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Gently press the cheese into the pastry with your fingers.

Cut into ¾-inch to 1-inch strips. (I use a pastry wheel, but a pizza cutter will work too.) Twist each strip several times, and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven, turn each breadstick, and bake another minute or two.

Frozen Brandy Alexander

1 cup vanilla ice cream
1½ ounces brandy
¾ ounce white crème de cacao
White chocolate curls for garnish, optional

Place ice cream, brandy, and crème de cacao in a blender, and process until smooth. Top with white chocolate curls, and serve immediately.

Mock Cheese Soufflé

4 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
2 to 3 tablespoons softened butter, plus extra for greasing dish
4 eggs
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon hot sauce
2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
Dash paprika

Spread softened butter on both sides of the bread; cut into 1-inch cubes.

In a medium bowl, combine eggs and next 5 ingredients, whisking to combine.

In a buttered 1½-quart baking dish, layer bread then cheese, repeating twice. Pour in milk mixture, and top with paprika. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Bake in a water bath at 300° for 1½ hours.

Learn from Leslie: To make a water bath, use a baking dish slightly larger than the one used for baking Mock Cheese Soufflé. Fill water in larger dish to about 1 to 1½ inches. Put smaller dish in larger dish, and bake as directed.

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