Cooking Christmas

December 22, 2013

It ain't Christmas if there ain't fudge. More to come in future post.

It ain’t Christmas if there ain’t fudge. More to come in future post.

Forgive me as I attempt to cobble together several different starts and stops and pieces of posts, as I have been somewhat discombobulated of late.

‘Tis the season, ‘n all that, y’know.

I’ve finished grocery shopping for Christmas, by my count, about three times. And I only need to go back once more. I’ve made some of the Christmas candy, with more to come, likely Christmas Eve. And I have to go to Little Rock tomorrow, pick up NS, and hustle back, and fall into a day-and-a-half kitchen marathon that will wind up with Christmas.

 

One impressive piece of cow, right here.

One impressive piece of cow, right here.

I decided a week or so ago, in a conversation with a friend, that rather than prime rib, I’d do a beef tenderloin. And residing in my extra freezer as we speak is a seven-pound specimen of same; first time I ever spent more than $100 on a piece of meat. I’ll sous vide him the day before, then sear him off in time for dinner. Mashed potatoes and gravy. Roasted broccoli with lemon and pecans, since Child B requested that we have SOMETHING green.  Homemade rolls. Cranberry salad (It’s Christmas, after all!). Sweet potato casserole. Baked pears with balsamic and blue cheese, more pears with cinnamon and brown sugar. White chocolate cherry cheesecake, and chocolate pots de creme. I suspect I will yield to the pleas of the children and make mac and cheese.

Oh. And country ham. I have Broadbent country ham again this year, but I ordered packages of sliced ham this time instead of the whole thing. I’ll pull a package or two of dinner steaks out of the freezer, soak them in apple juice overnight to get rid of some of the salt, and fry them quickly. Ought to be kick-ass with the pears, I’m thinking.

I’ll make some appetizers — planning on pork rillettes and chicken liver pate, which will do double duty in little crocks in Christmas gift baskets. Tiny potatoes, halved and boiled, topped with creme fraiche and a dab of caviar.  Fudge and pralines, and maybe even turtles. Cheese and salami.

There’s Christmas Eve dinner to think about — that’ll be something casual, just a handful of us here. Maybe lasagna, as NS likes that. Or maybe chili. And day-after-Christmas brunch, before I take him back to Little Rock. That’ll likely be challah French toast, since he loves it so, and Child A might well enjoy it, too.

Staging for the Christmas dinner, which will encompass eight adults and three small people, will involve lots of cooking tomorrow and Tuesday. Cranberry salad can be made ahead; sweet potatoes boiled, mashed, topped with streusel and stuck in the extra fridge preparatory to baking. Cheesecake and pots de creme will be made ahead. I thought about making a pumpkin pie, but I made one Thanksgiving and no one ate any of it, so to heck with that idea.

Day of, the rolls, the broccoli, the mashed potatoes, and baking everything. The trick will be staging the oven so that the early baking stuff can sit and cool gradually while the later, hot stuff goes in. I wish I had two ovens.

I still have presents to wrap, and Christmas goodie basket goodies to complete and compile. Thank God I finished Christmas shopping way earlier than usual.

‘Tis the season. Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas. Festivus for the rest of us, and other holidays as suits your inclination. You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em enjoy the week!

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