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Ilaine

Christmas Meal - What Are You Doing?

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That lemon tart is showing up everywhere -- I think we'll be slinging out our version of it over the next few days, as well.

I was thinking about digging into Bouchon, as well, but for the quiche or the pumpkin soup. I don't have TK in front of me, but Circle Bistro hits the frisee and lardons with some swell mushrooms and a poached egg. Well worth considering.

A cheese souffle makes a pretty good Christmas Eve dinner, too.

For the salad, the beef and the potatoes, I use the recipes in the Hammersly Bistro cookbook, which has become a favorite of mine. The recipes are simple and straightforward and exactly what you expect them to be. And I've not yet made anything out of it that didn't turn out well.

I was just informed that the tart may be out, as one of my guests (jenrus herself) has requested a bread pudding of some sort.

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regardless of what my in-laws will be making while my wife and i are in chicago, i will be having at least 2 or more tamales.

some friends and i decided that we would try to make tamales last weekend. . .they took awhile, and due to space, we were unable to steam them standing up. . .oh well. based on our sampling, they still tasted good, even if they didn't look good.

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Normally I'd be involved with, if not in charge of, Christmas dinner. But I believe I've had my powers stripped due to my tendency to get dinner on the table at 9 or 10pm, and for making meals which are too elaborate for most of my audience. I have no idea what the members of this rebel group are making. I just hope it ain't turkey.

Sounds familiar Mike and I absolutely agree on the turkey.

We have 2 pints of oysters from the S. VA oyster guy from Dupont (please keep him in your thoughts, last we heard on Sunday he was in the hospital with heart trouble :P ) and I think I see Oyster Stew or Fried Oysters on Christmas Eve in the offing.

My MIL's (should be) patented English Muffin Bread that is a sinch(sp?) to make and disappears nearly as fast as it's made. Sliced thin, toasted and spread with yummy butter and fleur de sel or chopped liver to tide me over to Christmas dinner.

I am craving a rare standing rib roast prepared a'la Paul Prudhomme with a ton of seasonings (yep garlic powder too) and fresh onions under and on top of the fat cap and will probably implore Waitman to indulge me. JoeH I will check into Balducci's - do you think the one in Spring Valley has the same deal?

I would love to have someone pm me with a favorite Yorkshire Pudding recipe if possible?

And joy of joys I just discoverd that my darling 13 year old daughter likes rutabegas!!!! Yay! Slightly mashed rutabegas (my family always called them turnips though) with milk/cream, pinch of sugar, maybe a bit of nutmeg, salt & pepper. These will go nicely with the roast (and maybe some mashed potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts and creamed onions too), Maybe some crispy garlic bread crumbs tossed on the onions depending on how creamy they are or perhaps they would better complement the brussel sprouts?

Gingerbread (verrry spicy) I also see coming up in the next few days plated with rather sweet hard sauce & nearly unsweetned whip cream.

Waitman you hear me?

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Mrs. B, if you want spicy gingerbread, Claudia Fleming's Guinness cake is moist and packs a wallop. Delicious with whipped cream, or a boozy creme anglaise. Or both. And turnips, AKA rutabagas, make a terrific gratin.

I'd love the english muffin bread recipe, if you're in the mood to share.

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:P -->

QUOTE(Mrs. B @ Dec 20 2006, 06:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
...joy of joys I just discoverd that my darling 13 year old daughter likes rutabegas!!!! Yay! Slightly mashed rutabegas (my family always called them turnips though) with milk/cream, pinch of sugar, maybe a bit of nutmeg, salt & pepper. These will go nicely with the roast (and maybe some mashed potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts and creamed onions too), Maybe some crispy garlic bread crumbs tossed on the onions depending on how creamy they are or perhaps they would better complement the brussel sprouts?

My family used to mash turnips and rutabagas together. Grandparents even had a dirt-floor root cellar to store them! However, James Beard has a trick that I love: slice or chop up mushrooms roughly and cook them forever (or low, up to 30 mins.) in plenty of butter until they darken and shrivel up like old men. Mix these with mashed rutabagas with lots of black pepper and more butter. Great with brussel sprouts, hashed or otherwise.

I've made Yorkshire Pudding only once myself and it was so-so since done in haste with batter poured directly into the roasting pan while the roast rested and I might have left too much fat in the pan. If you search online, you'll see recipes are basically for one big popover with only 2-3 T of rich drippings spooned into a heated pan before the batter is poured in and put into a very hot oven. My British stepfather somehow managed to make the (incredible) pudding around the roast in the same pan, but then, again the beef was cooked until a pale shade of gray. Here's Delia.

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"The meat has a delicious, smoky, rich flavor. Plus, you can use the molten goose grease, and save it in the refrigerator, thus saving you a trip to the store for a can of expensive goose grease"

Is it bad that television has me contemplating a coup at my family xmas gathering? My uncle normally bakes a ham, but now I'm tempted to show up that afternoon with a goose.

Mmm, goose grease.

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"The meat has a delicious, smoky, rich flavor. Plus, you can use the molten goose grease, and save it in the refrigerator, thus saving you a trip to the store for a can of expensive goose grease"

Is it bad that television has me contemplating a coup at my family xmas gathering? My uncle normally bakes a ham, but now I'm tempted to show up that afternoon with a goose.

Mmm, goose grease.

In South Louisiana, where I am from, it is not only acceptable to show up with extra meat for the holiday table, it increases your popularity and social standing within the extended family. Also extra booze.

Just as it is socially acceptable, nay, expected, to show up with a special side dish.

Makes the occasion more festive, more food to go around, and more leftovers for everybody to take home (bring those disposable storage boxes, too, but leave them in the car unless needed.)

For example, one brother in law, who is from Venezuela, always makes his famous paella when he is in town, and it's just killer delicious. Served along with turkey, venison, duck, etc., it is one of the highlights of the season. Never any leftover paella.

Thus, my thought is, you aren't supplanting your uncle as meat-provider, you are augmenting him, and showing off your own prowess as meat-provider.

Apparently this is a cultural thing? I see people saying that relatives will get miffed if you bring something to their table?

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Since we're hosting 14 people for dinner Xmas day, including a visiting family of four form El Salvador, we're keeping it simple! A baked ham and smoked turkey are on their way, and we'll do a buffet style presentation.

The mentions of goose above remind me of the one and only xmas for which we attempted to cook a pair of geese...the fat just never seemed to stop coming off the birds, dinner was late, and the guests filled up on snacks and drinks and became very... "snackered"!

The highlight of the evening was the drunken performance of "12 Days of Xmas" (we had water glasses - each glass representing one of the 12 days) that took place right after dinner. Our dining companions included a couple of people recently immigated from the former Soviet Union that day, and it was quite an introduction to American holiday customs for them. :P

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We were going to have bouillabaise tomorrow after church, but my brother informed me that he doesn't like "fish stew." :P So we'll do Bouillabaise Christmas Day when it's just us and my mom. Tomorrow's meal for eight:

Soup: carrot with ginger

Starter: Seared scallop with chanterelles, and chardonnay sauce. Shameless ripoff of Tom Power. :D

Main: Standing rib roast, horseradish sauce, individual yorkshire puddings, haricots vert, potato gratin with thyme and gruyere.

I should probably figure out dessert. Maybe another Keller lemon tart.

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^Light ending is a good idea.

I just recently tweaked a recipe for individual pumpkin flans, making them with persimmons instead with a pomegranate syrup instead of straight caramel for the top. Really good combination. Key lime & pom would work, too. Or simple lemon ones.

Last year for Hannukah/Christmas, did a Tunisian blood orange cake with olive oil that was stunning. Poked surface and poured in additional blood orange syrup and put glazed orange rings on top. Pretty.

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Why oh why do I wait till the last minute??!! :P I'm thinking -- hard -- on cooking a duck. synaesthesia pointed me in the direction of several asian markets that sell duck at ~ $3.00/lbs. So I'll rent a car and scour the suburbs in an 11th-hour effort to prepare a solo holiday dinner. Will probably add zoramargolis's polenta cakes and brussel sprouts.

One question though about cooking the duck. I found a duck recipe that calls for BBQing the duck. I like the idea of slow cooking. How can I adapt the recipe for the oven? Cook at 250 for the same amount of time?

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Why oh why do I wait till the last minute??!! :P I'm thinking -- hard -- on cooking a duck. synaesthesia pointed me in the direction of several asian markets that sell duck at ~ $3.00/lbs. So I'll rent a car and scour the suburbs in an 11th-hour effort to prepare a solo holiday dinner. Will probably add zoramargolis's polenta cakes and brussel sprouts.

One question though about cooking the duck. I found a duck recipe that calls for BBQing the duck. I like the idea of slow cooking. How can I adapt the recipe for the oven? Cook at 250 for the same amount of time?

First of all, the Asian markets have ducks that are much cheaper than your local Safeway. The Great Wall Supermarket in Merrifield has what we refer to as "Long Island" ducks for about $10, and they aren't frozen, either.

Look at this recipe: Wet-roasted Duck It's almost like a whole duck confit and, Oh Boy!, is it delicious.

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We will have Christmas dinner at my brother's in Ellicott City. My SIL's parents are here from Omaha and she wanted to make crab cakes while they are here. I told her that I would be very glad to eat crab cakes for Xmas dinner: beats the hell out of turkey. So, we have worked up an "August in Christmas" dinner. CC, frozen shoepeg corn, and I will be making cole slaw and beets. Recipe found long ago on epicurious. Oh, and I will be bringing some Champaigne for starters :lol: . A shoutout to JPW and Heather for this idea. :P

For Christmas Eve, my neighbors are getting together for the usual BYOB. I bought an extremely cheap spiral-cut ham at the Safeway, along with a bunch of frozen finger foods like toquitos, jalapeno poppers, and shrimp. I bought an brie in pastry with apples and raisins at Rodman's--I tried this once, myself, a couple of years ago and wound up with an oven covered in cheese and jam. I'm leaving this to the pros from here out. I've made a steamed Christmas pudding with brandied hard sauce and, of course, the best egg nog in the world. :D

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Christmas Eve, we are going to a cousin's house for dinner. I have been asked to bring dessert so I am thinking of a red velvet cake and an apple pie.

Christmas morning, I am making brunch. The family always wants sausage breakfast casserole, monkey bread. A fruit salad and maybe some cheese grits.

Dinner is at my sister-in-law's.

Sorry to quote myself, but my sister-in-law called TODAY at about 4 pm and asked me to bring cake on Christmas Day. Actually, she said TWO cakes would be a good idea. So, I am providing two desserts for Christmas Eve, making Christmas brunch, and now need to come up with a couple of cakes for Christmas dinner. Any suggestions? I am more than willing to buy.

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Just as it is socially acceptable, nay, expected, to show up with a special side dish.

...

Apparently this is a cultural thing? I see people saying that relatives will get miffed if you bring something to their table?

Side dishes are expected (i'm bringing dessert). Showing up with a main is another matter. Don't want to set up a cooking showoff competition, so I'm sticking to mom's gingerbread cookies and maybe a pie. Goose will have it's turn soon....still gotta find a larding needle :P

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Goose will have it's turn soon....still gotta find a larding needle :D
Larding needle for goose. Very funny. :P

I must admit that I have never used a larding needle for anything, period. Maybe we need to start a separate thread for larding needles, the use of?

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I decided to go with the shepherd's pie (sorry, Dean, I couldn't locate a shepherd garnish in time). So, our menu will be:

Apps: Wensleydale, Stilton, and Double Gloucester w/crackers

Dinner: Shepherd's pie; Irish soda bread; and winter greens with pear, toasted walnuts, and pomegranate seeds

Dessert: Claudia Fleming's Guinness Ginger Cake (which is smelling fantastic as I type)

Rusty Nails will be in there somewhere.

Merry Christmas, guys!

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Sorry to quote myself, but my sister-in-law called TODAY at about 4 pm and asked me to bring cake on Christmas Day. Actually, she said TWO cakes would be a good idea. So, I am providing two desserts for Christmas Eve, making Christmas brunch, and now need to come up with a couple of cakes for Christmas dinner. Any suggestions? I am more than willing to buy.
An easy-to-make (and it holds well so you can make it whenever you have bit of spare time) suggestion for one cake:

OLD-FASHIONED GINGERBREAD CAKE

Serves 8, Makes one 9”x9” cake

This is old-fashioned gingerbread that is actually a cake. Although there is a bit of a laundry-list of ingredients, this recipe goes together very quickly and also makes a nice snack (or breakfast!) during the holidays. I usually just top it with some powdered sugar, but a not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting would also be delicious.

2¼ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon Dutch-processed cocoa powder

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

¾ cup unsulphured molasses

¾ cup sugar

½ cup buttermilk

½ cup milk

1 large egg

¾ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup candied ginger

powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 9”x9” pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and cocoa. Set aside.

Beat the butter, molasses, sugar, buttermilk, milk, and egg in the bowl of your mixer on low speed. Add the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until the batter is smooth and thick, ~1 minute. Be careful not to over mix or you’ll end up with tough gingerbread. Fold in the cranberries and candied ginger.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the center of the over for 35 to 45 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched and the edges have pulled away from the sides of the pan. Cool in the pan on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature with a dusting of powdered sugar.

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Oh, and I will be bringing some Champaigne for starters :lol: . A shoutout to JPW and Heather for this idea. :D
Happy to help. Champagne is always the best appetizer. :P

Balducci's parking lot was pretty nutty this morning. Fortunately most folks were headed for the catering tent and not the store so the lines weren't bad. It almost makes up for them not having the Gevrey Chambertin that I wanted. :P

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We're going traditional this year, almost reactionary: Roast tenderloin of beef stuffed with matignon and wrapped in caul fat (served with a heady veal demi-glace flavored with Port that I spent a week making about a month ago). Sides are Brussels Sprouts with roasted pecans, shallots, and balsamico (recipe courtesy of Drew at Sonoma) and roast garlic mashed potatoes. Philipponnat Royal Reserve starts off the festivities (I don't know of a more luscious and quaffable Champagne at that price level) then a 1989 Sociando Mallet to take us through the meal. Burp.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and best wishes for the New Year to everyone.

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Escoffier and I had a small party at our house.

The menu is as follows:

Aperitif

Kir Royal

Appetizer

Chicken liver and mushroom Pirozhki (Russian version of Pierogies)

Main dish

Claudia’s crab cakes

Prime rib roast with red wine sauce / Scott’s horseradish sauce

Pommes Duchess Gratin

Glazed red pearl onions

Salad with Champagne vinaigrette

Cheese course

Selection by Scott:

Italian Sheep

Roquefort Blue

Vermont Cheddar

Plus Mystery Entry

Dessert

Quince apple strudels with quince syrup

Beverage

Coffee - Lavazza brand

Tea

Buddha blue from Mariage Frères Teashop in Paris

Assam tea from Fortnum and Mason

Lavender, lemon and mint tea from Teaism

Wine and Liqueur

Grand Vin de Chateau Latour Premier Grand Cru

Classé Pauillac-Medoc 1953

[from the private stock of Stephen's Uncle Julie, un Chevalier de Tastevin]

Muscadet Sur Lie-Chateau Du Jaunay 2005: Alfio Moriconi Selection

[From Peter Riddleberger]

Gran Duque d’Alba oro (Spanish brandy)

Camus

Glenfiddich single malt whisky 30 years

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I hope everyone celebrating yesterday & Sunday had a delicious meal. Mine, well...best laid plans and all that. Brother and family showed up Christmas Eve with bad head colds (which they graciously passed along :P ) and no appetites. Bagged the soup course, saved the scallops for the bouillabaise, and repurposed the mushrooms as a sauce for the beef. We went out on friday with the predictable result of being useless Saturday, so Sunday was spent doing all the last minute shopping that should have been done the day before, so lemon tart either. Chocolate almond Buche de Noel from Balducci's stepped in and performed adequately.

You do what you can, and then have a happy holiday anyway. :D

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