Christmas food

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Christmas food

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1madtyke
Dic 7, 2008, 2:37pm

Hi Cookbookers, What are your plans for food this Christmas? Are there any particular books you will be using for reference? We will be having something fairly traditional this year, though I am still deciding exactly what, definitely not turkey, I am not really a turkey fan. I am thinking of a roast loin of pork at the moment. maybe a seafood starter of some sort and trifle to finish with?

2MarthaJeanne
Dic 7, 2008, 3:25pm

Goose. My second son will be home to do most of the work, so we'll be eating goose again this year.

3LA12Hernandez
Dic 7, 2008, 3:44pm

I went to allrecipes.com and we are starting with baked avacados with crab. For dinner it's a salad, couscous with broccoli, and duck with cherry sauce. Then an italian creme cake (which is store bought) and finishing with coffee and chocolates.

4celebrian
Dic 7, 2008, 5:20pm

Interesting food choices, madtyke. For us, our traditional family Christmas dinner is roast loin of pork with potatoes, vegetables, rolls, etc. I make a killer gingerbread trifle from Bobby Flay for dessert. I love the turkey/dressing/pumpkin pie thing for Thanksgiving, but I believe Christmas calls for something different and goose is just not my thing. Back when I had access to a good meat market, I used to make Julia Child's prime rib- highly recommended!

5madtyke
Dic 8, 2008, 12:32am

After doing a bit of research I have decided on the folowing menu for Christmas

Mango Prawn and Avocado Salad

Roast Loin of Pork with Apple and Macadamia Forcemeat Stuffing and Cumberland Sauce

Roast Potatoes, Steamed Asparagus and
Carrots with cream

Trifle

Home made Rum Truffles
Selected Cheeses

Coffee

6Neverwithoutabook
Modificato: Dic 8, 2008, 3:04am

It's my Aunt's turn to cook this year, but I expect we'll be having our traditional Christmas dinner.

Roast Turkey with stuffing
Mashed potatoes
Baked sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top
Carrots
Peas
Gravy
Cranberry sauce
Beet pickles
Buns
and a choice of Mincemeat or Pumpkin pie for dessert

Oops!! I almost forgot! Our families favorite dish at every 'big' meal....Apple Salad I don't think we have a turkey dinner without it!

7sarahemmm
Modificato: Dic 8, 2008, 7:38am

It fascinates me that Americans think mashed potatoes are a 'special' dish - in the UK it is roast potatoes which are 'special' and mashed are 'everyday'.

Turkey is the traditional choice for Christmas here, and often for Easter too (we don't have an equivalent of Thanksgiving).

It will be just my mum and me, but I will do it properly:

Smoked salmon with Melba toast

Roast turkey (just a crown)
Chestnut and sausagemeat stuffing
Parsley and lemon stuffing
Chipolatas and bacon rolls
Roast potatoes
Roast parsnips
Brussels sprouts
Bread sauce
Cranberry sauce
Gravy

Mince pies with hard sauce (we don't much like christmas pudding)

If it is a big family gathering there would be desserts too, but not this time.

Edited to add: Of course, its the leftovers that are the real treat... cold bread sauce! Turkey sandwiches with stuffing and cranberry sauce! Sneaking a spoonful of hard sauce! Yum

8TLCrawford
Dic 8, 2008, 8:23am

I am afraid that, in my experience, here in the US mashing potatoes is a rare treat. White paste from a box is the everyday norm. That or cardboard chips and yellow paste from a box.

When the holiday is at my house I have served

Roasted Winter Veggies
Mashed Sweet Potato w Maple Syrup

Wild Geese have gotten so plentiful near me that I am very tempted...

9DaynaRT
Dic 8, 2008, 8:25am

It fascinates me that Americans think mashed potatoes are a 'special' dish.

We don't. It's just that we're so used to having potatoes with dinner that we do it for holidays as well

10sarahemmm
Dic 8, 2008, 10:57am

Mind you, we wouldn't dream of adding anything except butter, milk and seasoning to our mash - unless its bashed neeps and tatties, of course.

11reading_fox
Dic 8, 2008, 11:12am

There's three of us this year, so I'm thinking I might get a haunch of venison in. With all the normal trimmings.

12Eurydice
Dic 8, 2008, 8:25pm

Sarahemm, I agree about leftovers - and you certainly are doing it properly!

But there's nothing special about mashed potatoes, per se. It's just, people love them so... and I suppose many don't make them from scratch, normally. My mother didn't, except at holidays. As fleela says, it's also too normal (and, if I might add, with everything else in a holiday meal, refreshingly bland) an accompaniment to leave out.

Roast potatoes have a rustic elegance, but they're equally easy, I think. :)

Speaking of which, TLCrawford: roast winter vegetables are an absolute favorite of mine! The sweet potatoes, always simple, are in another's province, though.

13Eurydice
Dic 8, 2008, 8:28pm

Reading_fox, I am abashed. I have never had venison (persnickety family), but it sounds a wonderfully wintry and appropriate choice.

14MrsLee
Dic 9, 2008, 2:22am

It's not the mashed potatoes that are special, it's the gravy which goes on them! I may make mashed potatoes often (never from a box), but gravy is a rare treat around this house.

My husband's family has a Mexican background, so we celebrate Christmas Eve with them and have puerco con salsa verde, carne con chili colorado and chicken with a molé sauce. Accompaniments are corn and flour tortillas, shredded lettuce, salsa fresca, guacamolé, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, olives, corn chips and refried beans.

For dessert it is whatever goodies we have all baked. My daughter is thinking about making a gingerbread tiramisu.

On Christmas day, we usually eat leftovers and goodies from stockings. It's become a sleepy lazy day for us to relax.

15sarahemmm
Dic 9, 2008, 7:24am

My sister in law and her sisters are half Danish, half Jamaican. They always get together on Christmas Eve (about 20 people), for a meal and exchange of presents.

The meal is mostly standard British Christmas fare, but has to include a dish of rice and peas (Jamaican) and rice pudding with a single almond in it (Danish). Neither strike me as very festive! But they would not feel it was Christmas without them.

16florahistora
Dic 9, 2008, 8:30am

We're having a bit of a different Xmas this year. We had the whole family with us for Thanksgiving - turkey and fixin's - no mashed potatoes. We'll only be four for Xmas eve and alone on Xmas (ahh....first time in 33 years of marriage!). I'm not sure what we will serve on Xmas Eve - perhaps lobster or some other local fish. I really have to think about this!

17madtyke
Dic 9, 2008, 6:17pm

Its fascinating how one question can raise a whole new discussion. I am quite intrigued by the comments regarding mashed potato. I will usualy make mashed potatoes at least 3 times per week and whilst I love just adding butter and milk, salt and maybe a touch of nutmeg. I sometimes flavour them with safron, or garlic, sometimes parmesan and I love mashed potatoes and fresh parsley with fish, try it with grilled salmon. Another option is to add lots of really good olive oil instead of butter, this gives a really fruity flavour to mash... Yum!

18sarahemmm
Dic 10, 2008, 3:20am

But will you make them for you celebration meal?

19Eurydice
Dic 10, 2008, 3:55am

Actually, my favorite way to make them is with olive oil - I totally agree, it's great. And often, then, with a fresh herb of some kind. But I grew up on milk-butter-and-salt laden potatoes, and would never dispute their appeal.

MrsLee: I am very envious. It sounds utterly delicious. :) Also, it's nice to see you.

20madtyke
Dic 10, 2008, 2:16pm

Hi sarahemmm
I wasn't going to cook mashed potatoes for Christmas, but I might do some Pommes Duchesse

21karenmarie
Dic 10, 2008, 2:31pm

Christmas Eve is at my in-laws. The menu is:

various appetizers

Prime Rib
Twice Baked Potatoes
Green Salad -I'm bringing the salad
Green Bean Casserole (blech - but it makes some family members happy)
Rolls & Butter

Pecan pie - I'm bringing the pie
Orange Cranberry Torte - I'm bringing the torte
Chocolate Pie

Christmas Day was supposed to be Prime Rib for my husband, daughter, and me, but MiL messed that up... and she always overcooks it... I am not up to making a Turkey Dinner for the three of us, so will have to figure something out.

On the mashed potatoes issue, I always make them from scratch. Butter, milk, salt, and a small amount of pepper. I use a potato masher too, not an electric beater, so they're mashed, not whipped. Of course, here in the south, lots of folks call them creamed potatoes.

22mikevail
Dic 10, 2008, 4:00pm

Christmas at my Mom's house usually includes:

Filet Mignon(Mom makes it medium rare; if I get ambitious I'll make a bearnaise sauce)

7 Layer Salad(My Aunt Barb)
Baked sweet potatoes
polish sausage and sauerkraut
Green salad with a basil vinaigrette(my contribution)
fried zucchini and tomaoes(my sister)
steamed veggies
someone always shows up with a polish ham.
We usually have about 6-10 people.

My sister is also making a bunch of Christmas cookies.
My wife, I think, is making a cake.
I get off easy on this Holiday but I'm responsible for picking a wine. If anyone has a suggestion for a couple of good $15-$20 bottles of wine I would appreciate the recommendation.

23MrsLee
Dic 10, 2008, 5:05pm

*waves to Eurydice* :)

24sarahemmm
Dic 11, 2008, 5:22am

>20 madtyke: Wow, Duchesse potatoes! I did make them once, about 25 years ago - lovely, but fiddly. (I hate messy washing up, so piping is usually out.)

Of course, proper mashed potatoes (Copyright my mother) are made with a potato masher, or possibly a ricer (anything else gives you glue), with butter, milk and seasoning added. The result is piled in an ovenproof dish, the top smoothed/roughened with the tines of a fork, then put in the oven until just browning at the edge.

25jhedlund
Dic 12, 2008, 2:26pm

I love reading about people's food traditions for the holidays!

In our house, we are creatures of habit, and have the same menu every year for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We look forward to it all year, and it saves us the stress of menu planning!

Christmas Eve dinner:
Spiral Honey-Baked Ham (store bought)
Homemade macaroni & cheese
Mixed green salad with red onion, walnuts, dried cherries, blue cheese and balsamic vinaigrette
Christmas cookies (keeping some for Santa, of course!)

Christmas Day:
Breakfast - Bagels, cream cheese, ham (see above), and fruit salad
Lunch - Split pea soup with ham (made ahead of time using ham bone)
Dinner - Beef Wellington, green beans with slivered almonds, garlic mashed potatoes (there are those potatoes again!). For dessert - sticky toffee pudding (store bought) with vanilla ice cream

26florahistora
Dic 15, 2008, 9:56am

karenmarie: orange cranberry tort - Yum!

Have you a recipe or source of recipe to share?

BTW garlic mashed potatoes are my personal favorite!

27reading_fox
Dic 15, 2008, 10:58am

#13 well I'm lucky in that a local butcher has ties to a local country park where they raise the deer.

Mash has never really appealed to me. I like roast and jacket potatoes about equally.

German Christmas eve dinner is always fish. I can't remember what they do for Xmas day itslef, not a lot IIRC.

28readit2
Dic 21, 2008, 4:27pm

We're having spiral sliced holiday ham, garden salad, steamed veggies, corn pudding, deviled eggs, and finishing with rum cake.

29ejj1955
Dic 21, 2008, 4:50pm

Lovely thread; I didn't realize there was a Cookbookers group and am off to join immediately!

I'm going to my niece's for Christmas; she's planning to have both turkey and ham, so I'm sure we'll have the usual accompaniments, including the mashed potatoes. I agree with MrsLee that it's the gravy that makes them a natural part of the holiday meal! I sometimes make them with the addition of an onion and chive cream cheese for flavor, but butter, garlic, and half-and-half are also good.

Don't know about Christmas Eve--I'm driving over with my great-niece, but my niece will actually be meeting her boyfriend's family for the first time, so the great-niece and I will probably be on our own. Pizza or Chinese, maybe? Or the diner?

One of my friends used to prepare a huge Swedish feast, including authentic Swedish meatballs, for her family, but in recent years she pretty much ignores Christmas and celebrates Chrismakah (made up holiday combining Christmas and Chanukah) in February so as to avoid the stress and hype.

30mcglothlen
Dic 28, 2008, 9:35am

Mashed potatoes:

I frankly don't have them more than a few times a year (I prefer other root vegetables mashed). But Sarahemmm's remarks regarding them prompted a pretty strong reaction for some reason.

It's one of the paradoxes of food culture that we often overlook or even dismiss simple and common foods. Often, simple and common reflect who we are most clearly. Also, quite often, there's a reason that common foods are common - they can be both delicious and nutritious. That certainly can be the case with Mashed Potatoes.

Make mine coarsely smashed yukon golds with olive oil, salt and pepper. I don't add butter to the potatoes themselves, but garnish with nubs good, fresh butter just at serving time.

A friend of mine (a food chemist) has a long, technical explanation involving the molecular structure of potato starch that justifies his claim that a ricer is preferable to a masher. But since I like large lumps in my potatoes, I'm not as enthusiastic about his solution as he is.

31Eurydice
Dic 31, 2008, 2:42am

Yes: on lumps, agreed. And you're right about noticing and appreciating simple foods. I am always ready to contend that humble foods, well-made, are deeply satisfying and not to be underestimated.

32sarahemmm
Gen 1, 2009, 11:29am

>30 mcglothlen: Mashed potatoes

Agree entirely about simple food! I don't often do mashed potatoes nowadays, or the even simpler boiled potatoes, which were standard fare in my childhood. Nothing nicer than a good quality potato, boiled, with a fish dish.

33sqdancer
Gen 1, 2009, 5:45pm

Mmm, boiled new potatoes with butter and a bit of salt and pepper. *drool*

34kerrlm
Gen 1, 2009, 6:09pm

How interesting the reaction to mashed potatoes! We rarely have them, but must at holidays. My grandkids love them. Our three generation group is twelve. We`re up to 8 pounds of potatoes. The grandsons, mostly college age, like to take turns mashing the spuds. Bread, potatoes and turkey make the list for the kids. Notice this is all white food. The rest of us adults eat the colorful food. Ha!

35MrsLee
Dic 19, 2018, 10:15am

Wow, ten years since we've shared our holiday meals together. I wonder how many of the original posters are still here? Are there members added in those ten years who would like to share their holiday meals with us?

I will be having two weekends of holiday meals to accommodate my children's work and travel schedules. On the weekend before Christmas, I will be making carne asada tacos on Saturday, Sunday will be homemade pizzas with sourdough crust.

Christmas Eve will be either a prime rib roast (if it's raining), or steaks cut from that roast and grilled if the weather permits. Salad with orange segments, toasted pecans and feta cheese, roasted mushrooms and potatoes will accompany it. For dessert, I am trying two recipes I haven't tried before from Christmas Carol Cookbook by Sarah Key. "New World Pecan Bourbon Shortbread" and "Chocolate Brandied-Cherry Christmas Cake." Probably accompanied by eggnog and my persimmon brandy.

Christmas Day we will have sausage gravy with baking-powder biscuits. I don't cook anything as a rule on Christmas, we snack all day on whatever is left.

New Year's Eve, my daughter requested Roast Goose. That's as far as my planning has gone for that weekend. Problem is, I have to work until 5 on New Year's Eve, so I need to keep things as simple as possible.

36MarthaJeanne
Modificato: Dic 19, 2018, 10:25am

Our supermarket is now carrying half geese and ducks sealed in plastic and slow-cooked. You just open the bag, pouring off the juices and fat. Then the halfbird goes into the oven for a reasonable period to brown while you set up side dishes. I assume that my husband and I will have one of these. A lot less work than dealing with a whole raw goose, like we used to do when we had three boys and a neighbor family of four around the table with us.

Note my comment at >2 MarthaJeanne:. By then we were normally three, with me doing most of the cooking. An extra person who would also share cooking tasks made a big difference. Now it's just two, and we take turns. He is very welcome to make as complicated a meal as he wants - if he does the cooking. If I cook there will be some carbohydrate and frozen red cabbage as side dishes.

37reading_fox
Dic 19, 2018, 10:44am

>35 MrsLee: - completely by coincidence I'm having venison again this year, I'd never have thought it was 10 years since I last had it for xmas. Moved house, different butcher, different farm, still local deer.

As I recall we pot roasted it with a port sauce. It was delicious,

38MarthaJeanne
Dic 19, 2018, 12:04pm

>37 reading_fox: I suspect that Jerry will insist on goose for Christmas, but there is some hare in the freezer that we should eat soon.

39PhaedraB
Dic 19, 2018, 12:52pm

I haven't done a proper Christmas in so many years, I don't remember when. Partly because I've lived all over the country the last 30 years, pretty far from any of my family, and partly because I worked a lot of years in retail and in malls so Christmas day meant thank the Gods I don't have to go to work, what can I scrounge up that requires minimal effort?

When I lived close to family we used to do Christmas Eve rotating among the sisters. My younger sister and I would have fun with the finding recipes an fussing, while my older sister would get a dinner catered from the local grocer (the Jewel, if you're from that part of the American Midwest). Since I've been gone, they go to younger sister's. Christmas morning/day is for the parents and offspring.

Before and at the start of grandchildren, we'd go to my mother's for Christmas morning. She'd make breakfast casseroles of one sort or another, like baked pancakes with sausages embedded or some sort of egg thing. She'd get the recipes out of the newspaper.

I'm mostly alone now on Christmas. My friends and I celebrate together for winter solstice a few days in advance, so Christmas feels anti-climatic. But I like to do something a little special for myself, so I might get a too-expensive steak or roast a duck or a half-duck if I can find one. My grandmother made a transcendent roast duck with apple dressing, but I never attempted one until just a few years ago. I am slowly getting the hang of it, mostly because an online friend who is an amazing cook has shared her recipe.

Re: mashed potatoes. When I was growing up, mashed potatoes were everyday fare, and pretty much the only way Mom served potatoes outside of the occasional baked potato. But there was always gravy. For American Thanksgiving I never saw the point of them, since the gravy could go on the stuffing/dressing and a serving of mashed potatoes only meant less room for said stuffing/dressing. As an adult I rarely made them because they were a lot more work than a simple baked potato. Also, since we had a small household, the protein rarely yielded an acceptable amount of drippings. When it was a holiday, we had my mother make the gravy. I swear I was over 40 before I could produce a gravy anywhere near my mom's. And the mashed potatoes, I love them but make them so seldom, at 67 I still don't think I've gotten the hang of them. I really need to get a ricer.

The absolute best mashed potatoes I ever had were at a restaurant in Germany, somewhere in the general direction of Dortmund. Friends who lived in Germany brought us there after a conference; I have no memory of the name of the town much less the restaurant, but I will not forget those potatoes. The sausages were pretty wonderful, too. My mother's family was Austrian, so I do have a soft spot for German food.

40MrsLee
Dic 20, 2018, 9:20am

>37 reading_fox: That sounds delicious! I love venison, my husband not so much. We don't buy it here, it comes from relatives who hunt, so I suppose it is local. :) I think that's why Mark doesn't care for it, he knows I love it and we never have very much, so he would rather eat chicken and let me have the venison. He's nice like that.

I found a recipe for roast goose with crispy skin by Jacques Pepin online. It is perfect, because most of the cooking is done the day before, then the oven time to crisp the skin is short, so can be done when I get home from work.

Still haven't thought about the sides though. Probably keep them simple like a salad and roasted vegetables. Dessert may be lemon curd tarts. I was given a windfall of lemons yesterday.

41MarthaJeanne
Dic 20, 2018, 9:22am

>40 MrsLee: You can make the tarts Christmasier by using gingerbread cooky dough for the crusts.

42hfglen
Dic 20, 2018, 10:01am

>35 MrsLee: Hmmmz. Probably a nice steak with Cafe-de-Paris butter, chips and peas, followed by ice cream.

Aged Mother insisted on the full British traditional catastrophe, with a gazillion friends and family to "drinks before lunch". They always left late, and so every year there was drama in the kitchen. Now I do need to explain that I grew up in Johannesburg, in the southern hemisphere, so Christmas is about the hottest day in the year. We had heavy velvet drapes in the dining room, which had to be drawn to darken the room so we could see the burning brandy on the Christmas pudding. And the opening windows were tiny and west-facing, so the room was hot and stuffy. Guess why I now avoid Christmas pud wherever possible.

For some years we could get frozen American turkeys -- not that we ever did in our household -- but with the vanishing Rand they seem to have disappeared. Before the frozen birds we had locally produced ones. Summer is not a time when turkeys are at their best, as you all well know. And now you know why IMHO turkeys need mole poblano to make them edible.

Steak and gammon remain more than acceptable, and lack the unfortunate connotations.

43amandabithrow
Dic 21, 2018, 10:10am

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44MarthaJeanne
Dic 21, 2018, 12:20pm

We dared the supermarkets today. Still, it will be worse tomorrow and Monday.

I did pick up kumquats and mini avocados as well as the half goose I mentioned at >36 MarthaJeanne:. I would have chosen the duck, but my husband wanted the goose. Goose is good, too. And without him we would have had neither, as they had moved it, and with the bad cold I have, I would not have found it.

45MrsLee
Dic 24, 2018, 10:04am

>35 MrsLee: The New World Pecan Bourbon Shortbread is good, but I think I prefer plain ol' shortbread.

46bernie69
Dic 24, 2018, 9:03pm

We are having an unusual recipe for our potatoes: One year when my brother came home for Christmas he brought a wonderful recipe called Catholic/Protestant Potatoes *. You peel Sweet potatoes and Russet Potatoes and quarter, then boil each in there own pan. Drain and mix together gingerly and pour over a sauce made of cream, butter, honey & nutmeg that has been heated tog. These will be served with a:

Nice Turkey Breast
Fresh Cranberries
Fresh Salad ( TBA)

Brownies w/Fresh Mint Gelato
Rosettes
Coffee

47ejj1955
Dic 29, 2018, 1:37pm

When I grew up, our Christmas dinner was pretty much the same as Thanksgiving dinner, except for Christmas cookies in addition to or instead of pumpkin pie. Then, as a younger adult, I would often have Christmas dinner with my nearest sister and we'd trade off the cooking of something special--steak or lobster or chicken cordon bleu or whatever. Recently, I've been alone and it hasn't been memorable, really. Maybe next year!