"What better thing to share during the holidays than food?" Phillips asked.
The Marietta resident and vice president of Mortgage Lending at Community Bank of the South enjoys entertaining. She typically uses this menu built around Italian stuffed flank steak during the holidays.
"I love just the overall festivities of having your house decorated and getting together with special friends, just sharing together," she said. When using this menu, Phillips starts the evening with an Italian prosecco and Judy Ballard's smoked salmon pate found in the Junior League of Cobb Marietta's cookbook "Georgia on My Menu."
Although she follows the basic recipe, she makes the pate in a fish mold, decorates it with the diced eggs and serves it with wasabi rice crackers that can be purchased at Whole Foods. She also places a small bowl of red and black caviar at either end of the pate.
"The crackers have a bite to them. The wasabi taste adds a little zip to (the pate)," she said. "It's a very elegant dish. It's not that complicated to make."
For the entree, Phillips relies on Italian stuffed flank steak, a recipe by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins who authored the "Silver Palate" cookbooks.
The steak, assembled jelly-roll style for cooking, is stuffed with spinach, roasted red peppers and prosciutto. "It's so pretty when you slice it with the swirls of green and red," Phillips said.
The entree is perfect for larger groups because it can be prepared ahead of time to the cooking stage and is nice alternative to the more expensive beef tenderloin. (It) is easy to fix because you're not dealing with grilling," she said.
The most challenging part of preparing the steak is lacing it up with kitchen twine after it is stuffed. "You have to lasso it," she explained, laughing.
Phillips recommends serving the steak with a starch such as roasted garlic mashed potatoes along with green beans bundles. End the meal with lemon cello to cleanse the palate.
"I enjoy the camaraderie and being with good friends," Phillips said. The friends will too.
Smoked Salmon Pate
(By Judy Thomas Ballard, Georgia on My Menu)
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 ounces butter, room
2 tablespoons sour cream
4 ounces smoked salmon
2 teaspoons minced onion
2 teaspoons horseradish
1 to 2 tablespoons caviar
2 eggs, boiled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
Wasabi rice crackers from Whole Foods
Blend first 6 ingredients together with mixer. Shape into a mound on a serving plate. When ready to serve, sprinkle with caviar. Mix parsley and egg together and place in a circle around mold. Serve with crackers. Makes 6-8 servings
Italian Stuffed Flank Steak
and Sheila Lukins)
8 ounces fresh spinach, trimmed and well rinsed
cup dried breadcrumbs
cup freshly grated
cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
3 red bell peppers, roasted
1 flank steak (about 1 pounds), butterflied
Salt and freshly ground
pepper, to taste
4 ounces thinly sliced
1 fresh hot cherry pepper, cored, seeded, and minced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place spinach in a saucepan with just the water that clings to the leaves. Cover and cook over medium heat until wilted (5 minutes). Drain in a colander, and press out excess moisture with back of a spoon. Combine the spinach, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, olive oil and garlic in a food processor and puree until thick and smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Peel, core and carefully seed the roasted peppers. Cut them in half. Open the steak on a work surface, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange prosciutto in one layer on the steak. Top with a layer of the roasted peppers. Then spread the spinach mixture over them, and sprinkle them with minced cherry pepper. Starting with the long side, roll the steak up jellyroll style. Tie it with string at 2-inch intervals and brush with a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place the steak in shallow baking pan. Bake 40 minutes for medium rare. Cool slightly or to room temperature, before slicing and serving. 4-6 portions.
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes (Southern Living Magazine)
4 heads garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
Place garlic on square aluminum foil; drizzle with oil, and wrap in foil. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes; remove and set aside. Cook potato in boiling water to cover 15 to 20 minutes or until tender; drain and transfer to mixing bowl. Add butter and next 3 ingredients; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy (do not overbeat).
Green Bean Bundles
10 slices bacon
1 pound fresh green beans (French-style preferred)
1 cube beef bouillon
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bacon in a large deep skillet. Cook over medium heat until partially cooked. Drain, cut each piece in half, and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Place green beans on a rack or steamer basket over boiling water. Cover with lid so that steam does not escape. Steam for a few minutes until beans are done. Set beans aside. Reserve about 2 cups of the water and dissolve a bouillon cube in it. Take a bundle of green beans (four or five) and wrap them with a piece of bacon. Secure with a toothpick if necessary. Place bundles in a shallow baking dish. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the reserved stock with Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, butter, brown sugar, and garlic powder. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Pour the sauce over the bundles and bake in a preheated 350 degrees oven for 20 minutes or until bacon is done.