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Cooking For The Winter Holidays


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#1 Heather

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 06:29 AM

Let's start with Thanksgiving. :blink: Are you trying any new recipes? Or are you mostly relying on old favorites?

We're heading to my mother's in Charlotte, NC, for turkey, stuffing (giblet, apple, sage), mashed potatoes & turnips, creamed onions, green beans, and cranberry/sour cherry compote. Dessert is pecan, pumpkin, and apple pie. My mother's turkey roaster belonged to her great-grandmother and makes the best turkey gravy I have ever tasted - dark and rich.

I offered to bring a heritage turkey, but we had some miscommunication and she also bought a turkey, so mine will sit in the fridge until we get home on Sunday if I don't cook it tomorrow.

#2 MelGold

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 11:21 AM

I was put in charge of the bran muffins for this year's dinner. I think my mom has given up on my annual mis-adventures with brioche dinner rolls. :blink:

#3 FunnyJohn

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 11:44 AM

I offered to bring a heritage turkey, but we had some miscommunication and she also bought a turkey, so mine will sit in the fridge until we get home on Sunday if I don't cook it tomorrow.

Off topic: Aren't you going to get busted by the turkey police for keeping your bird more than 3 days w/o either cooking it or freezing it? :blink:
On topic: I'm trying a different kind of brine (recipe in this month's Saveur Magazine) -- apple based, as is the gravy. I just went out and procured the required Calvados and got sticker shock -- $35 -- for a lower grade Calvados :P

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#4 zoramargolis

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 11:53 AM

I offered to bring a heritage turkey, but we had some miscommunication and she also bought a turkey

Oh, no! Butterball again?

#5 Heather

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 01:35 PM

Oh, no! Butterball again?

Yes, I'm afraid so. :blink:

John, I'm doing that same recipe. I already had the calvados though, so didn't have to buy it again. My bird will probably have to be frozen, which is too bad.

#6 Banco

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 02:08 PM

I'm doing a favorite, but it isn't old. We never have a very large crowd at our house, so I do a recipe from epicurious, which always tastes and looks wonderful: a roasted turkey breast roulade stuffed with crimini, porcini, and pancetta, and (my variation) wrapped in prosciutto. This will be the THIRD ANNUAL APPEARANCE of this venerable and ancient Thanksgiving tradition. I really don't care for turkey all that much, but when it's done with a rich sauce like this it can show off a fine Bordeaux to good effect. So I see Thanksgiving as an excuse to consume vast quantities of wine whose quality is beyond my everyday price point. And that is truly worthy of thanks.

#7 agm

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 02:35 PM

I'm a traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner with my family, although I'll happily eat very differently if we travel for the holiday, which we often do. Probably it's because I grew up with Puerto Rican holiday food at Christmas, Easter, etc., but for Thanksgiving, it was an all-American meal - Norman Rockwell would have approved. This year is my first Thanksgiving in the kitchen. On the menu will be: deep-fried turkey; cornbread and chorizo stuffing (w/apples and caramelized onions); three-bird gravy (turkey neck & giblets, chicken stock, duck fat); bourbon-glazed sweet potatoes; mashed potatoes (probably w/garlic); green beans (no, not that damn casserole thing); cranberry sauce (haven't settled on a recipe yet); etc. I might start off with an acorn squash/chestnut soup. Dessert will be mom's pumpkin pie (she insisted on bringing something), a pecan tart, and probably something involving apples.

The good news is, there will only be 6 to 8 people; the bad news is that I've never actually made any of these things before. Or is the bad news the scattered rain showers expected for Thursday (turkey frying being an outdoor activity)?

agm - it's my name, not my job.


#8 ferment everything

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 02:48 PM

Or is the bad news the scattered rain showers expected for Thursday (turkey frying being an outdoor activity)?

Would you like to borrow my tarp? :blink:
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#9 jparrott

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 02:50 PM

Anyone have any interesting cranberry thoughts? Looking for as not-sticky and restrained as possible.

Jake Parrott
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#10 FunnyJohn

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 03:10 PM

JP: SOmething really easy in the Cranberry Dept. is to put a bag of fresh cranberries, a large navel orange, quartered skin on and a cup of sugar into a cuisinart and make a relish. Should be tart, not too sticky and pretty darned good.

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#11 Heather

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 03:18 PM

Anyone have any interesting cranberry thoughts? Looking for as not-sticky and restrained as possible.

Sauce or dessert? I make a cranberry & sour cherry compote with cloves:

2 1/2 cups of cherry cider (I use unsweetened cherry juice from Whole Foods)
1 8-oz. package of dried tart cherries, unsweetened (Trader Joe's has these)
1 c. sugar
1 12oz. package of fresh cranberries
1/4 t. ground cloves

Bring cider to a simmer. Remove from heat and add cherries, let stand for 10 mins. Mix in sugar, cranberries and cloves. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-high heat until cranberries burst, about ten minutes. Refrigerate until cold.

It's also great on pork.

#12 agm

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 03:26 PM

Would you like to borrow my tarp? :blink:

Thanks, but I'll go with my tent. A big enough fireball could take it out, but if that happens, I'll have bigger things to worry about than the tent. Ah, that reminds me. I need to check on the fire extinguisher.

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#13 Sthitch

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 04:03 PM

I am looking forward to a nice calm Thanksgiving by reclining in a business class seat of an ANA flight to Narita. As long as the champagne is cold I could care less what they serve me. It will sure beat the knife nicks, burns, stress, and frustration that always comes along with cooking a Thanksgiving meal.

#14 bookluvingbabe

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 07:01 PM

We're not cooking this year but I suspect that I will pull out all of this year's cooking magazines this weekend and make some sort of modified thanksigiving the following weekend with a roasted chicken.

Christmas has been bone in beef shanks for the last few years. Not sure if I want to try something different this year.

#15 jparrott

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 08:29 AM

I make a cranberry & sour cherry compote with cloves

I think I'm looking for something less sweet/jammy. The relish is an idea (I didn't like it as a kid so my mom starting making the thick sweet raisiny stuff, which I adored. Of course now, I go the other way on this issue. But the rest of the fam is stuck on sweet now.)

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#16 Erin11

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 09:55 AM

Thanks for starting this thread - I need ideas for a New Year's Eve meal! As for Thanksgiving, my sister is hosting and asked me to bring an appetizer and a dessert. I'm going with a simple hummus and pita chips/veggies for the appetizer. For dessert I am making pumpkin ice cream with graham cracker crust and caramel mixed in (other family members were assigned pies).

#17 Sthitch

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 10:01 AM

Thanks for starting this thread - I need ideas for a New Year's Eve meal!

My wife and I have made it a tradition of doing fondue Bourguignonne on New Years Eve. It is a very social meal. Depending on the number of guests we sometimes start with a classic cheese fondue.

#18 thistle

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 09:58 PM

Let's see- T'giving is Thurs., my stove crapped out on me last Wed.-the front burner won't turn off, so the stove is pulled out & unplugged, I have a service appt. tomorrow, although we don't know if the part is in yet-I am totally screwed! I am expecting 14 adults & 7 kids, fortunately, we do the turkey (14 lbs.) & turkey breast in the smoker, but it's still going to be interesting, no way to heat anything up, other than a microwave & toaster oven. Next year, I'm going out for T'giving, preferably chinese food, no family invited...

#19 Heather

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 10:24 PM

I think I'm looking for something less sweet/jammy. The relish is an idea (I didn't like it as a kid so my mom starting making the thick sweet raisiny stuff, which I adored. Of course now, I go the other way on this issue. But the rest of the fam is stuck on sweet now.)

It's jammy, but not terribly sweet. Unsweetened cherries, unsweetened tart cherry juice, and cranberry, with only 1 C. sugar, is might tart.

My mother used to make the relish when I was a kid. Hated it then and hate it now.

#20 Meaghan

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 08:32 AM

Gobble, Gobble.

I'm looking for a fun/unique creme brulee recipe. Google-ing around is no fun. Anyone have thoughts? No Jamie Oliver Rhubarb crap and nothing pumpkin-flavored. I'm doing this for the children, by the way.

#21 jparrott

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 09:08 AM

Creme brulee? Man, you can do anything with creme brulee, once you've decided you're going to bake off the custards in time, etc etc.

Are you using deep or shallow cups? If deep, you can put a little "surprise" in the bottom, like stewed fruit or (not for the children) bananas Foster.

If not, chai is a crowd pleaser, ginger (steep some crystallized ginger in the milk), coffee (instant espresso powder), lavender (probably not for children), cardamom (I think you steep whole pods, but maybe it's seeds--I learned about this one from an amazing Tunisian cook).

Just remember that you're not going to get crazy-intense flavor (except maybe for coffee).

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#22 plunk

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 09:34 AM

My wife does a really nice pumpkin creme brulee.

#23 Pat

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 11:27 AM

For Thanksgiving, I bring the breads. Very rarely do we spend a Thanksgiving at home, so I haven't made a Thanksgiving meal in years. (I used to do a pretty complete one the weekend before and have some friends over, but that got to be too much in addition to baking for Thanksgiving Day.)

I've got a batch of (part whole wheat) no-knead bread still proofing/rising and am soaking the saffron in milk for saffron bread (which will have golden raisins and dried cranberries). In addition to those two, I'm making a pan of cornbread. I had also thought about making biscuits, but I'm not sure if I'll get to those. I would like to try Heather's recipe, though.

I had a certain lineup of breads I used to take pretty much every year. I changed that up last year and am changing again this year. I made the no-knead bread last year, but the other selections are different. I took a vanilla cornbread one year that proved to be pretty popular, but I'm using a different recipe this time.

#24 bookluvingbabe

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 03:22 PM

Thanks for starting this thread - I need ideas for a New Year's Eve meal!

I like to do a variety of cheeses, cured meats and duck pate for New Year's Eve along with a good champagne. Sometimes I'll add a little tray of shrimp or something fun and appertizery that I saw at Balducci's or Whole Foods. No cooking, minimal clean up and very indulgent. (This also works for Christmas eve, especially if we are making Christmas cookies that night.)

#25 jparrott

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 07:38 PM

I just wanted to add one thing. My stuffing tomorrow (well, dressing, as it will not be "stuffed") includes bread from Mother's on Poydras St. and andouille from Dorignac's in Metairie. We're all thankful for things. For me, one of them is that New Orleans lives.

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#26 qwertyy

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 05:36 AM

Anyone have any interesting cranberry thoughts? Looking for as not-sticky and restrained as possible.

Patrick O'Connell's cranberry-ginger chutney was posted on (I think) DCist a while back, and it is just excellent--not at all sticky, though I also wouldn't call it restrained.

In a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine 1 cup fresh cranberries, 1 peeled and finely chopped small onion, 2 peeled and chopped pears, 2 minced jalepeno peppers (seeds removed), cup cranberry juice, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, juice of lemon, cup sugar, 3 tablespoons grated ginger, and salt and black pepper to taste. Simmer for 45 minutes or until berries are tender. Let cool before serving.



#27 plunk

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 10:17 AM

I'm thinking of doing a crown roast of pork for Christmas. Probably serving about 10 adults. Can anybody give me a ball park figure as to how much this might cost? I've never cooked this before.

#28 Pat

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 11:12 AM

I'm thinking of doing a crown roast of pork for Christmas. Probably serving about 10 adults. Can anybody give me a ball park figure as to how much this might cost? I've never cooked this before.

I think you could be looking at $75-$100, depending on how many ribs you get (how much you allot per person) and where you buy the roast. I haven't priced one in a long time, and when I did, I gave up on the idea of making one :(. You might need a double roast for 10 people, unless they're not big eaters and/or you have a lot of other food.

My mother used to like to make this for special occasions, but it was so expensive, she couldn't pay for it out of the food allowance my father gave her. (This was 40+ years ago.) So, my grandfather who lived with us (her father-in-law) would slip her the cash to buy the crown roast. I always associate the crown roast of pork with my grandfather (who died when I was 3) for this reason. That was one of the old stories I remember, along with the time she was carrying a lot of grocery bags in and dropped and broke a bottle of whiskey my dad had wanted. Her FIL, a teetotaler, gave her the money to go buy another bottle.

#29 pax

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 12:20 AM

I've got two legs of lamb in the freezer. I've never cooked lamb. I need to clean out my freezer...what would you all say to leg of lamb for Christmas dinner?

And what would you serve with it?

Normally I do a roast bird...goose or turkey or duck.

This would be an adventure.

#30 Pat

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 08:02 AM

I've got two legs of lamb in the freezer. I've never cooked lamb. I need to clean out my freezer...what would you all say to leg of lamb for Christmas dinner?

And what would you serve with it?

I've made leg of lamb for Christmas dinner (though I got comments telling me it was an odd choice :(). Roast lamb makes a good winter meal. I serve it with roasted potatoes and carrots, along with a salad and some bread or rolls.

#31 pax

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 08:44 AM

I raised the lamb myself. It's free, and sitting in my freezer. It needs a job. I reckon if people think it's an odd choice, they can contribute their own entree.


:(

#32 MAdinolfi78

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 12:17 PM

I raised the lamb myself. It's free, and sitting in my freezer. It needs a job. I reckon if people think it's an odd choice, they can contribute their own entree.
:(


i was thinking of doing a crown roast as well! there was a discussion on chowhounds from this time last year and safeway had the full crown roast for only $30. has anyone seen it offered in any local grocery stores?

#33 Waitman

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 12:23 PM

I've got two legs of lamb in the freezer. I've never cooked lamb. I need to clean out my freezer...what would you all say to leg of lamb for Christmas dinner?

And what would you serve with it?

Normally I do a roast bird...goose or turkey or duck.

This would be an adventure.



Lamb is a great entree for Christmas. Give yourself the Bouchon cookbook, open your present a couple of days early, and serve the leg of lamb with flagelot beans (flagelots available at Balducci's, if nowhere else). Or just butterfly it, let it sit in a bottle of wine, a head of garlic (deconstructed) and a small bush of rosemary for a couple of days, and then throw it on the grill.

Serve with excellent merlot and some sort of vegetables.

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#34 Anna Blume

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 11:54 AM

Anyone have any interesting cranberry thoughts? Looking for as not-sticky and restrained as possible.

How about a tart? If you need a recipe, there's a pretty basic one in Martha Stewart's slim, early book on pies and tarts.

Other desserts for the season:

Tunisian olive oil cake w whole oranges
Nancy Harmon Jenkins is the source. Made w blood oranges, it's perfect for Hanukkah, especially if you buy extra oranges and make a syrup to pour into holes on top of the cake when it comes out of the orange. Dip thin slices of the oranges in the syrup, too, to decorate. Recipe here.

Pistachio Cake
Saw this in one of Claudia Roden's books. Would be pretty w pomegranates or quinces--not sure if they're called for in the recipe.

* * *
FYI: Regarding color scheme: Quinces are traditional in North African/Middle Eastern lamb stews. Might be nice to make a savory quince sauce or chutney to go w leg of lamb. Maybe even w cranberries.

#35 goldenticket

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 12:59 PM

I've got two legs of lamb in the freezer. I've never cooked lamb. I need to clean out my freezer...what would you all say to leg of lamb for Christmas dinner?

I say what time should I be there :( Sounds great to me!
Similar to what Waitman suggested, I have friends who frequently use a Silver Palate recipe for grilled, butterflied leg of lamb. Guess it depends on if you want to fire up the grill or not (and what the weather is like). Gratin dauphinois, roasted brussels sprouts....

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#36 Pat

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 01:16 PM

I raised the lamb myself. It's free, and sitting in my freezer. It needs a job. I reckon if people think it's an odd choice, they can contribute their own entree.
:(

I love lamb. I don't make it that often anymore.

this and
this are two of my favorite recipes for lamb.

#37 ferment everything

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 02:04 PM

i was thinking of doing a crown roast as well! there was a discussion on chowhounds from this time last year and safeway had the full crown roast for only $30. has anyone seen it offered in any local grocery stores?

This is what we did for the big thanksgiving gathering with my family. My first exposure to a crown roast...I don't know that I'd do it again. The visual appeal was much better than the actual flavor and it dried out pretty quickly (although that just could be because it was from HEB and not a good local pork producer).
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#38 Sthitch

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 03:08 PM

According to the Balducci's on 8th Ave in New York Smoked Ham would be perfect for Chanukah. I am looking forward to their nice baguettes for Passover.

#39 DanielK

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 03:38 PM

According to the Balducci's on 8th Ave in New York Smoked Ham would be perfect for Chanukah. I am looking forward to their nice baguettes for Passover.

An email I got this week included Bebo's Chanukah menu, which includes Spinach/Ricotta crepes for an appetizer, and then Fried Chicken for dinner. Certainly not as bad as pork or bread at Passover, but the dairy/meat combination is pretty obvious...

#40 zoramargolis

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 09:12 PM

An email I got this week included Bebo's Chanukah menu, which includes Spinach/Ricotta crepes for an appetizer, and then Fried Chicken for dinner. Certainly not as bad as pork or bread at Passover, but the dairy/meat combination is pretty obvious...

Yeah, well anyone who keeps kosher probably isn't going to eat at Bebo anyway. I think it is a very small percentage of American Jews who follow orthodox dietary restrictions. Or Italian Jews, for that matter.

#41 DameEdna

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 09:17 PM

Oy.

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#42 Heather

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 06:09 AM

Our Christmas Eve dinner is bouillabaisse.

We might head to Corduroy for Christmas dinner. Anyone know what's usually on the menu?

#43 Seanchai

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 10:57 AM

Christmas day dinner in my house growing up was always prime rib with roasted potatoes, about 75 vegetable dishes and Yorkshire pudding. Does anybody make Yorkshire pudding anymore and/or have a good recipe?

#44 monavano

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 11:06 AM

Our Christmas Eve dinner is bouillabaisse.

We might head to Corduroy for Christmas dinner. Anyone know what's usually on the menu?

Here is the Washingtonian's Christmas dining guide. Corduroy isn't listed but there's a handful of other nice options. (I do know that Corduroy is serving it's reglar menu on NYE)

#45 Sthitch

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 11:34 AM

Christmas day dinner in my house growing up was always prime rib with roasted potatoes, about 75 vegetable dishes and Yorkshire pudding. Does anybody make Yorkshire pudding anymore and/or have a good recipe?

I made it the other night when I roasted a really large bone-in rib steak. The recipe I used was from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. I cut the recipe in half since there were only two of use eating it (well three if you count the dog), and sine it was a small roast, I made all of it in a cast iron pan. It is simple to make and well worth the effort, plus you get to use most of the glorious fat that comes off of the roast.

#46 Erin11

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 09:00 AM

It looks like New Year's Eve dinner will be Beef Wellington. So far, I like this recipe from Gourmet found on Leite's Culinaria. This will be my first attempt at beef wellington - any tips from those who have made it before? I'll probably substitute another pate for the foie gras due to Chicago's ban - I'm not willing to travel outside the city just for one ingredient. So far side dishes are still tbd - my sister in law is requesting I make Paula Deen's shrimp-stuffed twice-baked potatoes again. We had them with our standing rib roast last year and they are the most decadent potatoes I have ever consumed.

#47 ol_ironstomach

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 11:31 AM

Does anybody make Yorkshire pudding anymore and/or have a good recipe?

I suspect a great many people do...it's a favorite accompaniment whenever gravy is near. What surprises me is the amount of variation in recipes. Which suggests that it's actually reasonably foolproof.

All basic Yorkshire puddings incorporate egg, flour, milk and a bit of salt, and call for near-smoking-hot drippings in the preheated pan before the batter is added. Flour:milk ratios vary from 1:2 to 1:1. Egg ratio seems to vary from 2 eggs per cup of milk to 1:1 (volumetrically), with several sources saying that more is better. A few recipes call for less milk, and dilution with water. Tradition calls for the pudding to be made as a whole in the dripping pan, but a lot of people seem to prefer individual puddings...I think I might pack the popover tins for the visit to Gubeen's relatives this year.

So, do you skim off the fat, deglaze for a pan gravy, and then reuse the pan for the puddings? Or do you skip the pan gravy and try to incorporate all of the drippings into the pudding?

(Dang...I feel like making some popovers now.)

Dave Hsu
--------"Cuisine represents a knife edge that separates attractive stimulation from death."--- Art Ayers


#48 Sthitch

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 12:00 PM

So, do you skim off the fat, deglaze for a pan gravy, and then reuse the pan for the puddings? Or do you skip the pan gravy and try to incorporate all of the drippings into the pudding?

(Dang...I feel like making some popovers now.)

I make mine whenever I make prime rib, and gravy seems superfluous to a piece of prime meat. I also think that the pudding tastes better when it also has the fond on the bottom.

#49 monavano

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 12:05 PM

My pizzelle maker just showed up on my doorstep this morning so I'll be making those, along with various biscotti this weekend. I got a bunch of cookie tins and really cute holiday themed chinese take out boxes at Michael's yesterday for my holiday gift giving.

#50 legant

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Posted 15 December 2007 - 11:51 AM

New Year's eve and day meals are usually the only days I indulge in holiday cooking.

This year's eve dinner:

Crab macaroni and cheese
Spinach with nutmeg and shallots
(Trying to decide between) Caramelized banana tartlets w/ chocolate port sauce OR Crepes w/ Nutella
Split of sparking wine

I usually fall asleep about 10:30, with a glass of eggnog close at hand, with visions of the next day's traditional New Year's Day breakfast:

Scrambled eggs
Scrapple
Pillsbury Grand biscuits*
Mimosa

(*Yes, that stuff in the can… with the black stripe you press to open… with 500 grams of fat.)

Sometime during the day I'll cook:

Hoppin' John w/ Kielbasa
Collards
Cornbread






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