Heather

Cooking For The Winter Holidays

127 posts in this topic

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.

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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:

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

Oh, no! Butterball again?

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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.

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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.

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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)?

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

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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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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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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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).

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.)

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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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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), ½ cup cranberry juice, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, juice of ½ lemon, ¾ 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

:(

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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?

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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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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.

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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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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.

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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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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.

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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...

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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.

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Our Christmas Eve dinner is bouillabaisse.

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

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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?

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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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Christmas Eve dinner for my family and the boys' girlfriends:

Salad of spinach, pear, gorgonzola, pine nuts

Cappelletti in brodo (about which I wrote pages last year)

Popovers

Black bottom tarts

About that last one... Every year Mom made something called black-bottom pie. I found the recipe in her 1957 edition of The Gourmet Cookbook vol.II, the pages stained, ripped, taped back together, and many, many notes scribbled all through the margins. To put my own spin on it, I'll make miniature fluted tart shells with pate brisee instead of a pie.

I'll post the recipe later if anyone wants it, but in short: egg-cornstarch custard stabilized with gelatin; half gets mixed with chocolate and poured into the bottoms of the tarts; the other half gets meringue folded into it and is flavored with rum; whipped cream goes on top, and chocolate shavings.

A few test tarts are chilling in the refrigerator right now. It really is a lovely dessert.

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Christmas Eve:

Bouillabaisse, rouille & croutons

green salad

pear/amaretto ice cream and and oatmeal almond cookies

Christmas Day:

hangar steaks from Mr. Landrum

bearnaise

pommes persillade

a green veg

lemon tart from Bouchon

New Years Eve dinner is still up in the air, but will probably feature champagne. :(

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Christmas eve (my sister's house, and cooking):

Oyster stew

Ham biscuits (from a bro-in-law-smoked country ham)

Jambalaya

Christmas day (same place):

Rib roast, the trimmings

My house, my (college) friends:

Sunday 30th--Pheasant, smoked duck, sausage, and shrimp gumbo

Monday 31st--Roast/smoked baby goat, black-eyed peas, potato gratin, grilled mushrooms, dry-land cress (if I get some from my supplier)

Tuesday 1st--Oyster stew and grilled boudin.

Assorted geeky wines. Natch.

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Forgot the 29th.

gougeres

anchoïade, and various veg to dip in it

duck rillettes with armagnac

terrine of some sort

little cups of wild mushroom soup

serrano & grilled mini chorizos

maybe truffled mac & cheese

cheese plate

apple calvados ice cream and gingerbread cookies

And lots of wine. And maybe a little gin. And champagne.

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Christmas breakfast:

Benton's ham, biscuits, and gravy

Christmas dinner:

Roast heritage turkey with cornbread dressing

Parsnip and carrot mash

Pommes dauphinoise

Haricots verts with sauteed shallots

Mince pies

Christmas pudding

(eta: mincemeat acquired, almond/cream cheese pastry will be started shortly)

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Christmas Eve cocktail party:

Crostini

Pita chips

Crudite

Olive and sun-dried tomato tapenade

Mini Italian meatballs

A range of smuggled-in Italian sausages, hams, and cheeses

Greek salad

Grapes

Apples

Peppermint bark

Brownies and cookies (to be made by friends)

Pilsner Urquell

Hard liquor

Margaritas

A mess of random wines finally released from customs and likely corked as all get out (which is why I'll be encouraging guests to start with a margarita)

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We'll be at my in-laws'.

My MIL is making the Christmas Eve meal:

Roast turkey

Rice Pilaf

Squash or Sweet Potatoes

I'm making dinner Christmas Day (she's making Christmas dessert: Swiss Broyage with a chocolate filling/accompaniment):

Green Salad with clementine sections and vinaigrette

Filet Mignon with Balsamic Syrup and Goat Cheese from Giada de Laurentis

Green Beans with toasted almonds and crispy shallots

Whipped Potatoes with Olive Oil and Parmesan (Bon Appetit, Sept. 1992) [posted in the mashed potatoes thread]

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Christmas Eve:

Bouillabaisse, rouille & croutons

green salad

pear/amaretto ice cream and and oatmeal almond cookies

Completely different menu tonight...yesterday while under the influence of "holiday cheer" I let Bev Eggleston talk me into buying a seven-pound mutant chicken/turkey hybrid, and this morning I picked up a truffle at Balducci's. So tonight we're having the FrankenChicken with a little truffle under the skin, and either truffle risotto, or truffle-y roasted potatoes.

And my mother-in-law wants bread pudding, so a bosc pear bread pudding with almonds and amaretto sauce.

Tomorrow will still feature hanger steaks from Michael Landrum, but with a wild mushroom demiglace insetad of bearnaise. Leek & potato soup to start. And there might be more truffles.

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Tonight we had:

Thai seafood stew--King crab, shrimp, scallops, mussels and squid with leek, snow peas and shiitake mushrooms in coconut milk-lemon grass-galangal broth

Earl Grey tea and Leatherwood honey flavored panna cotta

2005 Strauss Gelber Muskateller -- dry as a bone, high acid, floral and litchee notes--a perfect pairing with the sweetness of the seafood and the rich, spicy coconut broth.

Tomorrow:

Country ham

Stone-ground grits

Braised kale

Sweet potato pie

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Godfathers: blended scotch and amaretto, garnished with a cherry

Grilled asparagus and shiitake

Pan-seared Iwate steak with garlic/mushroom pan sauce

Browned butter mashed potatoes

We made dinner after deciding that we didn't really want to get the "traditional" KFC for Christmas dinner. We did buy a Christmas cake, though. It's not Christmas in Japan without Christmas cake!

post-971-1198601200_thumb.jpg

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Yesterday I made a beautiful Lobels Natural Beef prime rib with Yorkshire pudding, potato dauphines (sp?), creamed spinach, roasted wild mushrooms, and sautéed green beans.

Tonight was supposed to be celebrated with a dinner at Citronelle, but instead I will be at home drinking Nyquil to combat the symptoms of a hideous bout of the common cold.

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Lamb shanks--at least in theory. May end up being Boxing Day dinner if I don't get started soon!

Parsnip and potato puree

Roasted brussel sprouts

Marvelous market cookies neuhous (sp!) chocolates.

An oregon pinot noir with dinner (can't remember which one...) and the Trader Joe's moscato with dessert.

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As with Thanksgiving, I was again preparing a small feast for my son,

his mother and me. I cooked a few nice brined and pomegranate glazed

ducks to send to my relatives in Upstate NY (a tradition), but by then I was

sick of birds.

So I decided to prepare an Italian inspired Christmas feast this year with

a lovely pastry wrapped pork loin as the centerpiece.

Here's the menu for this year.

* curry/cumin/chile powder/sugar spiced almonds

* zucchini/carrot/red onion/ginger/lemon zest/serrrano pickles

* roasted squash/onion/hazelnut/nutmeg/cream soup

* penne/fennel/sweet red pepper/shallot/garlic/oregano/pepper flakes/tarragon

/wine/stock/tart goat cheese/cream/fresh tomato/aged parmesan

* rosemary rubbed, prosciutto wrapped pork loin/olive+anchovy tapenade/puff pastry

* spinach/garlic/shitake + button mushrooms sauteed in duck fat

* traditional Christmas sugar cookies with icing

The soup was a big hit. My 15 month old son seemed to enjoy a sampling of

every dish excepting the spinach (although my personal favorite). He even

liked the somewhat spicy pickles, favoring the red onions! His mother bitched

about having to diet for a month, but seemed to eat her fair share :-)

A good time was had by all. I just like seeing my son eat my food :-) A very

merry Christmas indeed.

Scott

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We did take-two on turkey for our Christmas Eve feast since my dear friend Mrs. S was visiting us for Christmas and had tragically only eaten yucky smoked turkey, not once, but twice, at Thanksgiving. We grilled another Maple Lawn Farms free-range bird (purchased at MOM's) and it yet again came incredibly savory and moist (yes, I did brine it).

Accompaniments were:

Mashed Potatoes

Dressing (which thankfully came out much better than it did at Thanksgiving!)

Gravy!

Brioche Rolls

Brown Sugar/Mustard Carrots

Garlic/Bacon Peas

Broccoli w/Hollandaise Sauce (compliments of Mr. & Mrs. G)

For dessert we had the very decadent bourbon pecan steamed pudding discussed in this thread here (thanks again for the recipe, Barbara!). ETA: I almost forgot the best part... I'd been bummed all afternoon that we'd not had the time to make it down to The Dairy Godmother for their once-a-year "Gift of the Magi" flavor (saffron, candied cranberries & pistachios), but the very thoughtful Mr. & Mrs. G arrived bearing a quart of it! :(

Bacon and sticky buns (pecan/cinnamon for me, chocolate/walnut for Mrs. S who is very pro-chocolate and anti-cinnamon, and both kinds for rwtye) were for breakfast the next morning. Accompanied by candy from Santa. :(

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I used the Lee Brothers' southern cookbook as a guide yesterday--I'm no fundamentalist, however, I made liberal interpretations of their recipes.

I soaked the Cibola Farms country ham for two days, in several changes of water, then poached it in water with cider vinegar, bay leaves and--the recipe called for yellow mustard seeds, which I didn't have--black mustard seeds. I eschewed their brown sugar-clove glaze, instead I boiled down Toigo apple cider to a syrup with cloves, and then painted the ham with the cider syrup and baked it for an hour in a slow oven, adding more cider glaze periodically.

Veggie-teen ate salmon cakes with remoulade sauce.

I added some chopped chives to the creamy stone-ground grits, which were slow cooked for almost two hours, and were fluffy and had amazing depth of flavor. I was urged by my family never to serve any other kind of grits to them.

We drank a riesling that had a fair amount of sweetness, but it cut the saltiness of the ham.

The Lee Bros.' buttermilk-sweet potato pie recipe used steamed potatoes, but I had roasted mine the night before. And I didn't have any buttermilk, so I used what I had, which was labneh--very thick strained yogurt-- which I mixed half-and-half with whole milk. And I enhanced the spices they called for with ginger and cardamom. I did heed the recipe's advice to beat the eggwhites separately and fold them in. And this pie was divine, my dears. Light as a feather, not too sweet, and aromatic as a spice bazaar. Served with whipped Lewes Dairy heavy cream.

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I used the Lee Brothers' southern cookbook as a guide yesterday--

The best hush puppie recipe I have ever found is in that book. Also the fry mix that they have alone made this a worthwhile buy.

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Christmas this year included aLOT of eating, but the only cooking I did was Christmas breakfast.

Christmas Eve was at a cousin's house. They cooked an Italian feast for 12:

For starters, there were huge antipasto platters: various meats including salamis, prosciuttos; cheeses such as burrata, provolone, parmesan; olives, roasted red peppers; bruschettas; etc.

Then for dinner, a salad with crisp prosciutto, red onion and gorgonzola.

Garlic bread

Penne alla vodka

Meatballs in red sauce

Osso bucco

And cannoli for dessert

Christmas morning, I made the breakfast I make every year because no one will let me deviate.

Sausage egg casserole

Monkey bread

Fruit salad

Christmas dinner was at a sister-in-law's house.

For starters, various nibbles including crab dip and goat cheese, pesto, pine nut dip.

Then, Beef tenderloin

Lobster risotto

Ham

Green Salad

Corn pudding

Sweet potato casserole

And for dessert, various pies including: pumpkin, pecan, lemon meringue. And cheesecake.

I'm full.

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For Boxing Day (26 Dec) with my fiances father and stepmother:

Calvados sidecars

Nigella's best bar nuts

Roasted brined turkey breast

Cajun cornbread dressing

Brussels sprouts with pancetta and chestnuts

Roasted butternut squash and garlic scented with fresh bay and thyme

Christmas apple chutney

2005 Renwood zinfandel

Decaf french roast

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Forgot the 29th.

gougeres

anchoïade, and various veg to dip in it

duck rillettes with armagnac

terrine of some sort

little cups of wild mushroom soup

serrano & grilled mini chorizos

maybe truffled mac & cheese

cheese plate

apple calvados ice cream and gingerbread cookies

And lots of wine. And maybe a little gin. And champagne.

Rich nibbles, slightly revised:

leek & roquefort quiche

duck rillettes & pate de campagne

wild mushroom soup with truffles

trotter medallions with a dab of sauce gribiche (recipe from Bouchon made into canapes)

baguette rounds with thinly sliced hanger steak, bearnaise sauce

veg with tarragon creme fraiche dip

cheese plate

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Just finished fabricating the goat. My source cut it in half crossways. I then boned out most of the spine, removed and marinated the rib racks, and tied each end. So I have a tied double hindshank (with some saddle and breast meat) and a tied double foreshank (with neck). Those will go on some cherrywood smoke when the coals are done. The racks will go on in a few hours.

And I only cut myself twice!

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Sick here, so we will be curling up on the couch with a movie and bowls of homemade chicken noodle soup with plenty of tarragon. If I feel up to it there might be biscuits.

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We had our own little New Year's Eve party, since no one invited us to theirs :(

We started with American Hackleback caviar with fixin's-- creme fraiche, chopped hardboiled egg and scallions

Champagne Duval-Leroy

Breast of veal roulade stuffed with prosciutto, spinach, and shiitake and oyster mushroom duxelles

Tarragon cream sauce

Veggie-teen had a spinach and duxelles flan

Steamed broccoli

Meyer lemon tart with blackberry coulis and creme chantilly

Espresso

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Bump for 2008!

Due to some last minute shuffling, I just found out I will be hosting a cozy Christmas dinner for two. This kind of nixes my plan for a turkey, stuffing, and the works--which is disappointing because that is my absolute favorite meal. Does anyone have a recipe for maybe a stuffed turkey breast that might work instead? Or do you think I should just go with some really nice steaks? This is getting to be pretty last-minute, and I just can't decide... Help?

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Bump for 2008!

Due to some last minute shuffling, I just found out I will be hosting a cozy Christmas dinner for two. This kind of nixes my plan for a turkey, stuffing, and the works--which is disappointing because that is my absolute favorite meal. Does anyone have a recipe for maybe a stuffed turkey breast that might work instead? Or do you think I should just go with some really nice steaks? This is getting to be pretty last-minute, and I just can't decide... Help?

My husband made a roasted turkey breast recipe from Martha Stewart Cookbook several years ago for Thanksgiving when I was too busy to cook. It called for an herb mixture with oil, salt, and pepper under the skin*. A couple of Tbsp. of the dressing is put under the skin and the rest is reserved and brushed over the outside of the turkey breast. Roast at 350 for 1 to 1/2 hours for 4-5 lb. breast. I believe we had it with rice pilaf and something else :P .

When I tried to search for the recipe online, I found a bazillion Martha Stewart roasted turkey recipes, including some for roasted breast. One that called for stuffing was stuffed with vegetables. I don't see any reason you can't make a batch of bread stuffing separately in the oven and serve the sliced turkey breast over it. If you don't want to make stuffing, serving it over rice pilaf would be equally nice, as would be mashed potatoes. Green beans and a salad and you have a nice meal.

*1/4 cup olive oil, parsley, thyme, marjoram, and lemon zest, plus s + p

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So I decided to stuff the turkey idea (har, har) and went with prime rib. What the hell? It's Christmas! Served with horseradish sauce, mashed potatoes and green beans with almonds and lemon. Perfect. Just exactly what I wanted.

Now I have to figure out what the hell one person does with 2-3 pounds of leftover beef in the next two days... :P

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Now I have to figure out what the hell one person does with 2-3 pounds of leftover beef in the next two days... :P

Grind up some of the beef in your food processor and make shepherd's pie. It helps if you have leftover mashed potatoes, too. Freeze the rest or use it in a stir-fry.

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Grind up some of the beef in your food processor and make shepherd's pie. It helps if you have leftover mashed potatoes, too. Freeze the rest or use it in a stir-fry.

Thanks Zora! I have just a bit of potatoes left, so the shepherd's pie is an excellent idea. (I was stuck on meals and meals and meals of steak salad.)

But how do you recommend I freeze the rest? Should I grind it, or freeze it in its current large, thick slices? I have to imagine that the texture will lack something on defrosting, so do you have any suggestions on what to do with it?

I have to say that I never hesitate to buy something as spendy as prime rib--until I consider leftovers because I really don't know what I can do with the stuff after pulling it out of the deep freeze that will honor the original. I appreciate all your expertise!

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But how do you recommend I freeze the rest? Should I grind it, or freeze it in its current large, thick slices? I have to imagine that the texture will lack something on defrosting, so do you have any suggestions on what to do with it?

You are right, the texture will suffer if the meat is frozen, so consider making things where the texture isn't a huge issue. If you are in a mood to cook, grind up all of the meat and make chili or bolognese sauce with it and then freeze the chili or pasta sauce.

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Suckling Ham in Aspic

with leek, carrot and truffle.

Carrots "Vichy" "WASA"

Seared Grapefruit & Honey Poached Foie Gras.

With raisins, warm spices and candied zest.

post-2-1231454857_thumb.jpg

post-2-1231454868_thumb.jpg

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Gumbo for New Year's. Assigned to cook the Sunday before Xmas, but haven't decided on a menu yet.

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Christmas dinner will be leg of lamb on the grill with traditional British veggies (roast potatoes, brussel sprouts, carrots, parsnips).

Mom's Most Excellent Christmas Pudding, with the ceremonial igniting of the pud.

For the non-traditional, I'm stopping at Wilbur's BBQ in Goldsboro, NC, on the way down to pick up some pulled pork. Sister-in-law's mother is going to ship us some homemade kimchi. Brother is going to make pulled pork kimchi dumplings.

I'm not sure which I am more excited about.

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The main course for Christmas dinner will be rib roast. Spinach mornay, rice pilaf, and an endive salad to round things out. Christmas Eve is going to be vegetarian, centered on the Mushroom Bourguignon recipe from the new Smitten Kitchen cookbook. I haven't made it before, but her recipes usually turn out pretty well. The rest of that meal will be a simple salad, no-knead bread, and stuffed grape leaves. Still undecided on desserts for the two meals.

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Pulled pork kimchi rolls sound great!

Christmas Eve dinner this year will be raclette, with tiny boiled potatoes, sausages, and a green salad. Christmas dinner this year will be parsnip soup, then sauerbraten, red cabbage, and spaetzle.

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For the non-traditional, I'm stopping at Wilbur's BBQ in Goldsboro, NC, on the way down to pick up some pulled pork.

I've never had barbecue from Wilber's, but I would expect the pork to be chopped, not pulled, in that part of North Carolina.

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I'll be making latkes on Sunday. And about 10 more times in the next month if the kids get their wish.

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Latkes tomorrow. Stroganoff for a warm, filling, family dinner to go with them and the lightening of the candles. (I can't bring myself to think of latkes as the main course.)

I can't decide on Christmas dinner. The last few years I've cooked it and then no one has eaten it. Perhaps I'll do lamb shank since I know BL-Kindergartener will eat lamb. Some sort of breakfast sausage and bacon casserole for Christmas morning.

Santa is getting homebaked cookies this year. We're going to Disney right before and we're bringing back Mickey shaped cookies for Santa. Mr. BLB looked crushed so if there is time I may relent and freeze some dough before we go...

Unclear if we will be here or at the in-laws for New Year's. If we are here, I'll likely do a picnic of pates, pickles, cold shrimp and stinky cheeses. We'll watch Love Actually as our last Christmas movie of the season and be asleep by 10!

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Now that food for school parties (tatertot casseroles, bean dip, poundcake, & cookies) are out of the way, trying to figure out what to fix for the next week. I'd planned on smoking a turkey tomorrow, to recover from my T'giving debacle, but If high winds are forecast, I may wait until Sunday. I'm making a stupid-cute appetizer for an open house on Sunday (I have got to learn how to insert links), filet mignon & shrimp risotto for Xmas eve, & probably a ham on Xmas day. I'm mulling over filler dishes-cauliflower/feta fritters & clementine gravlax, & of course, I plan on collards & blackeyed peas for NYE, just have to figure what to fix with them. How's everyone else feeling about holiday cooking?

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^ I'm feeling like a spiral ham for Xmas. Anyone feel positive about putting out the extra $$ for a Honey Baked Ham? Maybe Mr. MV and I will buy a quarter ham. Or, maybe we'll just go for a Kirkland spiral, which I think is as good as any for the price.

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I'd like to make a coconut buche de noel for my brother-in-law, but after going through cookbooks and the internet I'm not finding a good recipe for an appropriate filling. I'd like something less rich than a buttercream, and coconut extract is verboten. Any of you bakers have any ideas? Thanks.

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You can mix shredded coconut with sour cream and sweeten it as much as you want or don't want. Stir in coconut milk to thin.

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Just now out of the oven: Guiness Stout ginger cake from _The Last Course_ by Claudia Fleming. It smells insanely good.

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Zora, I make that cake at Christmas too. It's a great recipe.

Our sauerbraten went in the marinade yesterday. Tomorrow night we will be having roast beef, yorkshire pudding, and other assorted treats at my brother's house, so no cooking on Christmas eve for me. I'm still sorting out Christmas breakfast. Might be homemade coffeecake

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I'd like to make a coconut buche de noel for my brother-in-law, but after going through cookbooks and the internet I'm not finding a good recipe for an appropriate filling. I'd like something less rich than a buttercream, and coconut extract is verboten. Any of you bakers have any ideas? Thanks.

Do NOT use the recipe from last year's Saveur magazine. It was a disaster for me--buttercream separated (and I'm a stickler on pastry measurements), the recipe on meringue mushrooms was way too fussy and then failed to explain how to attach caps to stems, and the outer frosting was not stiff enough either. That was about the point that I said "[explictive] this [explictive], where's my Maida Heatter?" and rescued the whole mess. Her recipe for mushroom meringues is a dream --I had 13 year-olds doing some of the piping and assembling this year, and I used the delicious and stiff frosting from the Queen Mother's cake on the outside. The one problem I encountered that was not recipe related was discovering that my wall ovens are too small for a properly sized jelly roll pan. The end result looked great, but suffered from a drippy buttercream inside.

After the fact, I found comments online suggesting that other readers encountered similar problems.

Have you considered a jam filling that would complement the coconut? Perhaps guava or mango preserves?

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Thanks for the warning, Polly. In the meantime I found a recipe for a coconut pastry cream that looks like it will come out fairly stiff; if it doesn't I can always fold in some beaten egg whites. WRT guava or mango, I was thinking actually that a layer of a soft passion fruit gelee would be a nice touch, but all of these will have to wait for another time, since I don't know how it would go over with my MIL.

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We had Christmas dinner yesterday because some of the family had to leave this morning. Mom always makes a traditional turkey dinner, but this being New Mexico, we have both gravy and a dish of red chile.

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lunch today was cold grilled lamb sandwiches in pita with labneh, roasted eggplant slices drizzled with charmoula (a middle-eastern spiced lemon vinaigrette), tomato-cucumber-roasted pepper-garlic-za'atar chopped salad, drizzle of tahini, and lettuce.

dinner was mostly made by J. who wanted to contribute to the holiday meals. We had homemade baked beans with bacon and salt pork, pan-grilled bratwurst, salad with feta cheese (my contribution, since J. is a reluctant salad eater) and flourless chocolate cake.

We spent a couple of hours before dinner fooling around with mixology. K. has gotten interested in making cocktails, and since we have a variety of spirits, liqueurs, aperitifs and bitters, as well as some bartenders' recipe books, we collaborated on a few different drinks (sazerac, negroni, white negroni, and a couple of others) and worked on several iterations of an original specialty cocktail she plans to bring to the Asian fusion restaurant where she works. She thinks their specialty cocktails are pathetic (chocolate martini, anyone?), and her bosses told her that if she comes up with something good, they'll put it on the menu. I won't spill all the details of the recipe, but I think we've come up with a winner, which includes lemongrass simple syrup and is garnished with a slice of fresh ginger.

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