Christmas cooking results?

foodonastumpDecember 26, 2013

Hope everyone had a nice Christmas, or at least day off! How'd your cooking turn out?

Christmas Eve dinner was good. I made moqueca (seafood stew) which wasn't the best I've ever made but turned out pretty good and was well received.

Christmas bruch was Eggs Benedict. I made the poached eggs in a poaching pan which I don't prefer but seemed the easiest option since I didn't get to poach them ahead of time.

Christmas Dinner started with Emeril's drunken shrimp for the first course. Easy and always enjoyed. For the main course I made a Master Chef recipe, Tamirind-Braised Short Ribs which were amazing. I cheated a bit by getting the demi glace from a local restaurant. I used flanken cut short ribs, which I had cut a bit thicker than what was in the case. They came out awesome; definite repeat. Rather than the rest of the sides in the link I tried to make bone marrow sformatino which tasted great but didn't set quite right. I'm not sure if I didn't cook them long enough or if I forgot to double the eggs when I doubled the recipe. That will need to be worked on as I really liked where it was going. They were topped with a wild mushroom mix. I was also going to serve roasted cippolini onions, but peeling them was a task I passed off and ended up being pretty labor intensive so I said "forget them." Any idea how to peel these more easily? Perhaps a quick blanch like you would with pearl onions?

So overall the cooking was good but not perfect by a good stretch. Fortunately guests were all just close family so I didn't stress much about the missteps.

Your turn!

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Christmas Eve Dinner, bacon wrapped whole roast beef tenderloin, and broiled cod. Wild Mushroom Risotto and the Viennese Broccoli that someone posted here. Freshly baked French Bread and dessert was the Heat Bar Crunch Dessert that Coconut-NJ tracked down for me, it was just as we remembered, so thank you again. Best part, no leftovers!! Every platter was licked clean. I especially enjoyed the Broccoli, so whoever posted that many thanks!!


    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 1:41PM
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Christmas Eve we considered going to Joe's Restaurant in Venice, which was having a prix fixe special that looked really good for $75 a person, but instead we went to a nearby Jamaican restaurant for a late lunch as a break from our landscaping, and I had Jerk Goat, which I really liked. Kevin had Jerk Chicken Breast. It turned out to be a really good restaurant but is not open on Saturday and Sunday, which is why we had not been there before. I made pancakes for breakfast, and since we were out of Vodka, I added a teaspoon of mystery liquor to the batter. I thought it was cognac, but Kevin thought it was Bourbon. It might have been brandy. Anyway, I thought it had somewhat of a peach flavor, and it was really good in the pancakes. A bit of alcohol in the batter makes them lighter and fluffier, and I think I will experiment with different flavors next time - possibly rum, of which we have several types, especially during egg nog season.

Christmas Day I slow roasted a duck at 300 degrees for four hours, turning it each hour. I was able to do yard work while the duck was cooking and got a lot of the orchids and bromeliads rearranged. We also made space for the orchid cactus plants that will need to be moved fairly soon but will still need shade. The glaze I made for the duck had 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup molasses, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 3 tbsp orange juice concentrate, 1-1/2 tbsp Triple Sec (I didn't want to waste Cointreau or Grand Marnier on a glaze), and 1-1/2 tbsp of my smoked habanero sauce. The recipe called for Sriracha sauce, and I have a feeling that my habanero sauce is perhaps twice as hot as Sriracha, and so I should have reduced to it one tbsp at most. I only put a very thin layer of glaze on it (tons left over), and so it did not have too much of an effect, but I deglazed the pan with red wine, and that made a very good sauce for the meat -hot and sweet, but not too spicy and not too sweet. The glaze was too hot to use as a sauce without being diluted. The wine was a present from a co-worker who knew I was cooking duck, and so it was a perfect wine for the meal. I also made wild rice with dried mushrooms (rice was a gift from Teresa, which I had saved for this occasion!) and some green beans from the freezer. I made the rice in the pressure cooker and added onions and a lot of garlic plus some of the duck stock that I had made from the neck and fat trimmings. Before I glazed the duck, I poured the duck fat from the pan and got over one cup of fat! There is more fat in the stock, but I have not separated that yet. Not sure what to do with the duck fat, but I think I will use it as a substitute for bacon fat, since Kevin will not eat that. The duck came out better than I expected, and the skin was very crispy. The spicy glaze really helped. We ate most of it, and I was a bit surprised at how little meat there was on it. There is a bit left, and perhaps I will make tacos or enchiladas with it. The duck came with a packet of orange sauce, and I made that separately, but we did not eat it. It was rather sweet and had clove and cinnamon in it, which I did not like.

For dessert we had egg nog. During the day I watched a few episodes from Ozzie & Harriet from 1953-56, and I especially enjoyed those.


    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 2:54PM
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Christmas Eve was a seafood casserole, spinach salad and French bread. It was so rich we didn't want dessert, which was just cookies and stolen.

Christmas morning was bagels, lox, cream cheese.

In the afternoon we headed to a friends house with her family for the 378 ravioli some of us made on Saturday. We had meat, cheese and shrimp. Red sauce and Alfredo, plus meatball, Italian sausage, arancini, an octopus salad, and some stuffed shells. Dessert was just set out and we enjoyed cookies galore and the chocolate cheesecake I brought.

And thankfully, we had so much several of us took home doggie bags so I do not have to cook today, which is great because now I have a chest cold.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 2:59PM
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It was all pretty good. Except the Turkey Roulade stuffed with figs and cranberries soaked in calvados (sorry, I went with what was on hand, dry Marsala), ala Ina Garten. Fantastic! I hate white meat, but it won me over. It is exceptional. Everyone loved it! And my sister did very well with the cinnamon rolls. Much better than the previous year. And mommy did great with her breakfast casserole (hash browns, eggs, sausage, etc.) topped with salsa. Pretty dang good. Those were the winners. The funny part was my sister came in complaining her deviled eggs were no good. I ate one and said, ?????? whacha talkin' 'bout? And then she ate one and said, Um, well, they didn't taste right earlier! So even the flop was good.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 2:59PM
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Originally, I expected six, for a Christmas Day small buffet, then found out Christmas Eve that twelve were coming, however, only nine turned up and two of them ate nothing. I'm still trying to wrap my head around all that.

Christmas Day was laid back for us and the family and friends that were here. I fixed what my Mom always had for all of us. The baked ham was absolutely delicious and everyone wanted to know what brand it was. Didn't do anything spectacular with it except put brown sugar, pineapple, cherries and a little pineapple/orange juice on it. I accidentally turned off the crockpot with the pork butt roast (purchased at the last minute Christmas Eve after Church) in it. It was less than an hour later I realized it and turned it back on, but figured it wouldn't be done in time for BBQ pulled pork so just forgot about it. The potato salad turned out perfect as did the other side dishes. We had cookies galore and the Bailey's Irish Cream Turtle Fudge was a hit with those who tried it. They took some home with them and one even took the recipe with her.

After everyone had left, I remember the pork roast. Yikes! Well, it's 'way overdone. Its in the fridge, but haven't decided what to do with the portions I will cut it into and freeze.

All in all, we had a great day, lots of wonderful conversation and family we hadn't seen for a year.


    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 7:06PM
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We had a couple of meals. Elery's son hosted their family Christmas last weekend, as the oldest son and his family came from California. He brined one of our heritage turkeys and it was possibly the best turkey I've ever had. The mashed potatoes were made with a pint of heavy cream, a pound of butter and some cream cheese so those were good too. His daughter brought pizza dip which I didn't taste and a broccoli and cheese casserole, which I also didn't taste. Dessert was chocolate cupcakes for the two birthday boys, ages 6 and 8.

Christmas Eve we had my extended family at the townhall. I made Stromboli and everyone ate it, Ashley made meatballs with BBQ sauce, I did a crockpot full of spiced apples because I have a cellar full of them. My nephew brought venison sausage and crackers, I baked a bunch of cookies and made fudge. It all got eaten, but I didn't try any of it, I was busy.

Christmas was Elery and I and we had porterhouse steak, Brussels sprouts and parmesan garlic popovers. It was OK, but nothing exceptional.

My girls and their families will be here for New Year's Day, Ashley worked Christmas and Amanda went to her in-laws, so we have one more chance to have an exceptional holiday meal, everything so far has been pretty "ho-hum".

I found it very difficult to get excited about Christmas at all this year, for some reason. Even the cooking didn't really seem to matter much.


    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 10:04PM
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We had a total of eight people for Christmas dinner. I made roasted pork tenderloins with a madeira mushroom gravy, a broccoli/cauliflower casserole, and fiery sweet potatoes (the recipe for which I first got last year on the cooking forum)
I prepared the side dishes ahead, and then only needed to pop them in the oven to heat. Which took about the same amount of time as searing and roasting the tenderloins. Overall the dinner was quite delicious, but relatively low effort and stress.

Dessert was a Buche de Noel cake that my wife made following her mother's recipe.

My family from out of town stayed overnight and breakfast this morning was eggs with goetta an old family recipe from the Cincinnati area.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 10:24PM
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The big hits this year were the homemade Irish Cream and Gingerbread Popcorn. You see where our priorities are ;)

Christmas Eve I made Paella with chicken, chorizo, shrimp, clams, and mussels. Bought a great pan at restaurant supply. What a great party dish! The pigs in the blanket shaped like a wreath were another hit (Pinterest you kill me).

Christmas I decided this year was a go no where see no one stay in jammies and play and watch movies with kids. We are leftover hor'doeuves and at some point I remembered to throw in the spiral ham I got at the wholesale club. Chocolate Cream Pie.

Happy holidays and best wishes for the new year :)))

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 12:29AM
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We had the extended family dinner on Christmas Eve at DH's mom's house, as per a request DH's Dad made shortly before he passed on in October. It's summer here and because I don't feel DH's mom's oven is up to a roast turkey dinner for 12, plus the sister in law who usually helps me with the bulk of the cooking was away on the other side of the country looking after _her_ mom who is recovering from surgery on an aortal aneurism, I decided we'd have a cold meal. I roasted a turkey and a ham the day before and took them down sliced, and another SIL made salads and dessert. MIL made her traditional trifle (I love it but not everyone does) and coleslaw. SIL's desserts can take a bit of getting used to as she doesn't like creamy things or sweet things, and her usual fallback, chocolate cake, was vetoed by MIL as "not suitable for Christmas". (I suspect what she really meant was "My brother and I don't care for chocolate cake".) So we had a tangy tiramisu made with quark cheese which wasn't bad but took some adjusting of tastebuds, and a good plain bundt cake. I thought the standout of my contribution was the forcemeat stuffing in the turkey, which had sausage meat, shredded ham, herbs and white raisins. It was yummy and very well received- all the menfolk including DD's fiance had seconds :-)
Christmas Day both DH and I had to work in the morning so DD volunteered to cook her first Christmas dinner, with turkey and a small ham. With minimal drama she roasted the turkey (which I had brined for her) with a herbs and garlic bread stuffing just under the skin, cooked a glazed ham, scalloped potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, garlic roasted mushrooms and green beans with toasted pine nuts. It all looked and tasted delicious. We were quite proud of DD's efforts. Dessert was gourmet icecream then we all fell asleep on the living room couches :-)

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 3:05AM
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WE had a couple of friends join us for Christmas Eve, and it was the most fun we have had in ages. We talked and laughed and told silly stories of childhood Christmas.. just a lot of fun. I planned a very easy meal since I really wanted to enjoy my guests.

Hors d'oeuvres

Sriracha Nuts
Hummus with veg & pita chips
Ham roll-ups, 1/2 with roasted pepper and 1/2 with pickle


Crab Cakes with Remoulade

Baby spinach, goat cheese, walnuts, dried cranberries with walnut vinaigrette


Herbed Rib Roast
Crashed potatoes
Brussels Sprouts
Baby Carrots with cardamom and citrus
Steakside mushrooms
Dinner rolls


Chocolate Buche de Noel


Gruyere, Blue, Brie with grapes, apples, pears and spiced pecans

Everything worked out well, except the darn Chocolate Genoise cracked again. I managed to hide the crack under extra frosting, but I am on mission to find a flexible, spongey genoise for future use.

Christmas Day we had poached eggs with hollandaise on crab cakes with crashed potatoes on the side. Yep - leftovers! Of course, washing them down with a Mimosa or two was really quite delish. LAter Christmas Day we had a small ham, with dinner rolls and a bunch of the left over appys... really just picked all afternoon, but it was quite good.

Love to hear all the successes and glad everyone had a safe holiday.


    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 6:34AM
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bragu_DSM 5

Nothing terribly exciting here. Had 17 over.

Had a lovely spiral cut ham (lots of tasty leftovers) with a homemade orange glaze ...
Lots of deviled eggs
green bean casserole
butternut squash
smashed potatoes (a real hit with the troops)
salads (Green and fruit)
and some loaves of wonderful bread from Panera

and then five of the holiday cookie recipes from that wonderful link ... and a red velvet cake from Missouri

and then we had card games and board games galore

even opened a present or two.

Bragu's free bed and all-day breakfast was well received, again.

I'm getting too old for this!

But it is oh so much fun.



    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 2:29PM
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We ended up with only 33--one DS's family didn't get up from NC & one of the SSs was in Fld, 2nt son & DIL had to work as did one SIL & 2 GDs ,1 DIl had the flu as did a 4 yo GD so only 3 GGDs were here but the rest of us enjoyed ourselves & wonder of wonders only 1 cell phone conversation & that was from the SIL that was working to wish us all Merry Christmas & sorry he was missing the get together. We had enough snow for a nice white Christmas but it was a bit bittersweet as most of the grandkids are grown enough not to be out sledding in the yard.
Had the usual buffet style as no way all 33 of us would fit around 1 table.
Doc & I prepared a high heat dry rubbed ( minced garlic, rosemary,coarse ground pepper, sea salt, smoked paprika, olive oil )10 # boneless prime rib and roasted fresh Polish sausage, shrimp cocktail & antipasta platter with 2 types of salami, thin sliced hot ham, home marinated fresh motz , kalamari & lrg garlic stuffed green olives, Chase's dills, Linda Lou's sweet chunks & tiny homecanned pickled beets & onions. I also put out a cheese tray with blocks of swiss, extra sharp cheddar,a honeyed goat cheese log and 3 kinds of grapes-& a salad of baby spinach, pear slices , pomagranate seeds & spiced candied walnuts with carafes of a simple white balsalmic vinegatte & a bottled creamy blue cheese.
Ann brought her always delicious cheese souffle-- DIL Deb brought deviled eggs, DD Deb brought a veggie & a pepperoni pizza--DD Judy did swedish meatballs & a veggie pasta salad. There was also veggie fried rice and a big bowl of wok stir fried chinese vegs-- Roasted garlic in melted Brie , chips & homemade onion dip, hot spiced peanuts, chocolate caramel tossed kettle corn & a cheesy chex mix. Kimelwick rolls & sliced provalone for beef sandwiches , garlic knots .
Dessert was Cranberry Layer Cake from Taste of Home site (source Sandy Burkett) I did as cupcakes, a zillion Christmas cookie & rum raisin ice cream.
The gals in the crowd each also brought 2 dz Christmas cookies for the cookie exchange we've been doing as a new tradition we started 3 yrs ago.-- so every family went home with cookies ( mixed) of 11 different kinds-- cause I contribute 3 differt kinds.-- and Jessie's fudge , my tiger bark, and cranberry nouget & Baileys truffles that someboby brought.

A few local wines, Irish Coffee, soda for the kids, grape & apple juice for the real little ones-- and lots of love & laughter for all.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cranbery Layer Cake

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 2:44PM
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Diane, would you please share your spiced walnuts recipe ? I'm looking for a tried and true for New Years!

Your wonderful family gatherings sound so nice. 33 family members - that's fantastic!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 3:12PM
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Only 33, lol.

I had to work until mid-afternoon on Christmas Eve so I thawed a nice little ham, figuring I'd fix some sort of foofoo sides to go with. Neighbors stopped by for cocoa and peppermint schnapps (homemade w/ everclear) and stayed. And stayed. It was fun, but dinner didn't get cooked. I wound up nuking a couple of potatoes and clipping some kale and Asian greens for a salad.

Christmas Day we went to the kids'. They made vegie trays, meatballs, little smokies and ham rollups with picked asparagus. I took the requested broccoli balls and LindaC's goose poop, along with jars of pickled beans and pickled carrots and a tray of Ann_T's brandy cherry balls. We grazed and drank wine and visited with their assorted friends and members of his family. It was nice...low key and easy.

The big hit was those cherry balls. Everyone went nuts over them. I'd never made them because I thought they sounded kind of weird, but ohmy were they good. I sent some to my sis who said she ate them for dinner, then breakfast the next morning and is making them to take to her neighborhood holiday parties.I have orders to bring some to work on New Year's Eve...we have to work late, so we're bringing nosh-ey things to munch on.

Annie, you're not the only one who didn't get excited about Christmas. I know a lot of people who felt the same I didn't bother with a tree and for the first time in forever didn't put up any lights or dig out decorations. The girls decorated at work and that was plenty. Spend most of my time there anyway, sigh...

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 4:29PM
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Wow, you folks have been making some cool stuff!

I like Christmas cooking, there is more freedom than Thanksgiving cooking.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 6:04PM
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30 of us did potluck at middle daughter's house so it was stress free for everyone. Venison roast, baked ham, sweet potatoes with cookie crumble topping, braised collards, broccoli salad, carrot raisin apple slaw, cranberry pineapple salad, pickled okra, sunflower seed orange bread, cookies, pie and cake, but the most raved about was my baby Brussels spouts cooked 4 hours in a small crock pot with a tablespoon of Dijon, some frizzled bacon and butter, with a bit of water in the bottom to keep them from sticking. 95% of people don't like sprouts but we happen to all be the other 5%. We did have to relegate it to the upstairs laundry room inside an insulated bag to keep it from smelling up the house before we all ate together 2 hours after everyone arrived. It was fun to eat someone else's preparations and no one felt put upon to feed everyone themselves like we would have if it was hosted.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 8:48AM
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Looks like everyone had a nice Christmas.

Lars, wonderful duck!

It has been nuts. Relatives from out of state. From 12/22 to 12/29, 8 days, three families staying in the house. Cooking for 9 to 12 people, from breakfast to lunch to dinner. 3 x 9 x 8 servings.

Of course, Murphy's Laws; Oven broke, replaced the oven.

Then the laundry machine broke. Got to replace it, sheets, towels, pillow cases, socks, underwear ------

Have a great New Year everyone!


    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 9:05AM
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Sounds like some wonderful meals were cooked this holiday season.

Christmas Eve dinner was what I called "faux fondue". I quickly sautéed chunks of beef tenderloin tips and served them on my divided fondue plates with an assortment of sauces rather than using the fondue pot. Side dishes were Caesar salad and the baked smashed potatoes that Alexa posted here.

Christmas Day, we had our usual drop-in brunch for about 20 guests featuring ham, sausage breakfast casserole, spinach and mushroom quiche and lots of other savory dishes and sweet treats. The star of the show was miniature Swiss cheese flavored creamless cream puffs with a crabmeat and Brie filling.

2013 was the year I conquered gougeres or whatever that cream puff dough is called so I also made them with ground ham and cheese in the dough for a party last night. Best new recipe was a cheddar-beer spread served on wheat crackers and apple slices that was well-received and will go on the Super Bowl menu next month. Pumpkin chiffon cake was a nice light dessert that I repeated from Thanksgiving and will be making again next year.

Now moving on to planning a Dinner and a Movie (20 Feet From Stardom- released Jan. 14th, I believe) party for the first week in February.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 10:58AM
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I wish to report that, based on recommendations on this forum, I used Kenji's prime rib technique for Christmas Eve dinner--that was just DH and I. DH pronounced it the best prime rib he has ever eaten. Honestly, I didn't think there was much difference between it and the roast I do every Christmas Eve, as far as the roast itself goes. What was different, and fabulous was the jus. So, thank you for the tip.
Edited to add:
Aha! I just did a search, and it was sushipup, seconded by dcarch, who recommended the Kenji method. Thank you again.

This post was edited by kitchendetective on Sat, Dec 28, 13 at 12:10

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 12:00PM
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You should enjoy 20 Feet from Stardom- we did in Tasmania last month.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 4:02PM
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Well, I'm feeling better, at least my oven wasn't broken, and the laundry is done.

Lars, the duck sounds wonderful, I really like duck. I'd love Diane's dinner for 33, or Nancedar's buffet for the entire family and I happen to be one of the 5% that love Brussels sprouts.

I'm trying to figure out what to make on New Year's Day, for the last family holiday meal of the season, so I'm back here, checking on everyone else.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 6:43PM
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