Cat Cora Ends 2007 With a Delicious Bang

Are you worried about preparing a New Year's feast? Don't be. Chef Cat Cora has a decadent New Year's Eve menu for you. Get everything from the main course, a beef tenderloin, to a delicious dessert. Check out the recipe below.

Beef Tenderloin

Serves 8 (with a 3 ½-pound tenderloin) and 10 to 12 (with a 5-pound tenderloin)

1 whole beef tenderloin, (3 ½to 5 pounds)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried orange rind

½ tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon sea salt

Basque-Style Green Sauce

6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
3 dried bay leaves
1 fresh poblano pepper, coarsely chopped with the seeds left in
1 fresh Serrano chile, coarsely chopped with the seeds left in
½ tablespoon sea salt
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup finely chopped fresh oregano
¼cup finely chopped fresh basil
¼cup sherry vinegar
¼cup olive oil

Rub the tenderloin with salt and pepper first so that is stays on the beef. Then rub the beef with the Basque blend until well coated. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Preheat the grill and preheat the oven to 450°F.

While the beef is absorbing the rub, make the green sauce by combining the garlic, bay leaves, peppers, and sea salt in a mortar and mash with a pestle until a smooth paste is formed. (If you don't have a mortar and pestle, put all the ingredients into a blender along with just a teaspoon or so of the vinegar.) Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the parsley, oregano, and basil. Whisk in the vinegar and olive oil until well combined. Set aside.

Place the meat on the hot grill and sear on all sides until caramelized, about 20 to 25 minutes. Place the beef on a rack in a roasting pan and slide it into the hot for 20 minutes for medium-rare meat.

To serve, slice the beef into ¼-inch slices, and spoon the green sauce over the beef and serve.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Rosemary and Orange

Sweet potatoes (1 per person)
Olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

Start with one large sweet potato per person ? and, if you like, roast one or two extra and make hash from them later in the week. Wash each sweet potato well and dry it with a clean dish towel. Slice each potato in half lengthwise, and don't bother peeling them.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour a bit of olive oil onto a glass baking dish or standard baking sheet with sides. Pour just a little olive oil into a bowl. With your fingers, rub olive oil over each sweet potato half, both the cut side and the skin. Pour less oil than you think you'll need, and then add more to the bowl if you run low. When each potato half is coated, place it in the dish or pan, cut side up.

Chop the fresh rosemary and sprinkle the herbs over the potatoes. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Slide the pan into the oven and roast the potatoes for 40 to 50 minutes.

While the potatoes roast, roll an orange or two to get the juices flowing, and then juice the oranges and set the juice aside. (If you like, you can zest the oranges before squeezing them, and toss a tiny bit of zest into the juice.)

When the potatoes come out of the oven, score each potato using a sharp knife to make a slight checkerboard pattern. (Protect your fingers with a clean dish towel.) Spoon a little juice over each scored potato top. Don't drown them but give them a bright hit of citrus to balance the rosemary, pepper, and salt.

Allow the potatoes to cool for 10 to 20 minutes and then serve.

Chocolate Budino

Makes 24 small cakes or one 9-inch round cake
"Budino" means pudding in Italian, but these are more like little molten cakes, moist and almost gooey in the middle if served warm from the oven. I use Callebaut or El Rey chocolate for this dessert but any premium chocolate will work.

1 pound high-quality bittersweet chocolate
¾ pound butter (3 sticks), well softened
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
5 whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Grease or spray two 12-cup muffin tins with vegetable or canola oil. (You can also use just one tin and bake the batter in two batches.) Wipe out excess oil with a paper towel. Set the tin aside.

Grate chocolate or chop it into small shards with a chef's knife or a serrated knife. (It's easiest if you begin at a corner, particularly if the chocolate is very thick. Take it slowly and keep your fingers safe.) Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of hot water over very low heat. Allow the chocolate to melt slowly, stirring occasionally.

In a separate bowl, gently whisk the whole eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and flour. Mix until all of the ingredients are well incorporated. Set aside.

When the chocolate is smooth, remove the bowl from hot water and add the softened butter. Mix until the mixture is again smooth and the butter is completely incorporated. Add the sugar and egg mixture mixing well.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling each cup three-quarters full. Bake for 11 to 12 minutes. The edges will have just begun to pull away from the pan, and the top of each budino should still look moist and shiny at the center. Remove tins from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes. While the tins are still warm, place a baking sheet over the top of each muffin tin and invert it. Carefully lift the muffin tin to release cakes. Transfer the cakes to a serving platter or individual dessert plates. They're at their best if served warm, but are also delicious at room temperature.

Serve with assorted fresh berries and chantilly.