Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Most Wonderful Time of The Year

Last night, if my kitchen had been clean, I could've die happy. I had a great leisurely cooking day; I didn't eat Christmas dinner until almost 7. I'd cook, watch TV, cook some more, talk on the phone, play on the computer. It was a beautiful thing.

I think I spoke with almost everyone in my family twice. My friends and I traded holiday greetings via text messages. Santa brought me the NordicWare Shortcake Baskets pan. He'd dropped off a New Orleans desserts cookbook from one aunt and a Target gift certificate from another aunt earlier.

Once I fully woke up, I started the morning off with a special breakfast -- sweet potato waffle (just mixed in some left over pie filling into the waffle batter), sausage and hooked up coffee (Kudos to Godiva and Starbucks on their wonderful liqueurs.)

Now what I have to have at formal dinner holidays (Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas) is dressing. I made extra during Thanksgiving and froze it. I didn't want a lot of rich and heavy sides, so I focused on fresh veggies. I also wanted something a little different this year.


  • Roasted Butternut Squash with Balsamic Vinegar Reduction
  • Roasted Beets (Cook's Illustrated)
  • Braised Brussels Sprouts with Tarragon-Mustard Butter (Cook's Illustrated)
  • Green Beans with Sauteed Shallots and Vermouth (Cook's Illustrated)
  • Cornish Hen with Dressing
  • Red Velvet Cupcakes (Sylvia's Family Soul Food Cookbook)

In the interest of eating before midnight, I poured the dressing into a 10" skillet, butterflied the Cornish hen and heated the pan on the stove top. I finished it in the oven.
Plating is always a labor of love; I think I'm getting a little better at it.

The winners were the beets and Brussels sprouts! Actually everything was good. The green beans could have stood another minute or two of cooking. The cupcakes were wonderful except it's a struggle to get them out of their silicone cups. I gotta do some more research on those.

Tools of the trade:

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