When Rebecca Rather was growing up, her mother had a tradition she followed each Christmas.
“My mother often made (Green Olive Beef Tenderloin) on Christmas Eve and I always loved it, but she never gave me the recipe,” the Fredericksburg chef and author writes in “The Pastry Queen Christmas” (Ten Speed Press, $32.50).
“Over the years, I’ve dreamed about eating it again and wished she’d left me instructions,” Rather writes. “I figured I would have to re-create it from memory. The olives were all my mind could conjure up, plus a little salt, pepper and olive oil, so that’s where I started. The olive-topped tenderloin emerged from the oven. I cut into it and took a cautious bite. It was perfect. In a single Proustian moment, I saw my mother’s glittering holiday parties unfurling in front of me and remembered how much she loved to entertain.”
The cookbook, written with Alison Oresman in 2007, is still in print and is perfect for year-round entertaining, as this recipe attests.
The appeal stems largely from the beef being slathered in olive oil and roasted with the juice from the olive jar poured over it as basting liquid.
Photograph by Laurie Smith © 2008