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David Ross

2018 Holiday Cooking and Baking

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I'm getting an early start on planning my Holiday cooking and baking.  (I know, I'm already getting some comments from family and friends that it's only late October and it's too early to talk about such things).

 

I thought I'd start by showing my collection of November past issues of Bon Appetit that my parents collected over the years.  I bring them out every season to go through the recipes that I've tagged with bits of paper and stickers.  Some of the covers are tattered and torn, taped back on, and over the years I've cut out some of the recipes.  While I've read these every year, some dating back to the  1970's, I always seem to find a new recipe to find.  What are you planning to make for the Holidays this year?  Are you introducing some new dishes, staying with the classics or updating them with some new tastes and textures?

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Bon Appetit Nov. 1990.jpegBon Appetit Nov. 1993.jpeg

 

 

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I'm thinking spiced wafers for gift boxes. Had contemplated crackers to go with some kind of spread (the Rain Coast Crisp recipe I have is excellent). Thinking of a different direction for either Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert this year -- a cinnamon apple pound cake with maple glaze. Also may try my hand at a sweet potato pie.

 

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If I vary the dinners I get complaints.  So...augratin potatoes, mashed smoked spiced sweet potato, beef tenderloin, greens, cornbread,braised red cabbage for Christmas.

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One thing I'm changing is the traditional pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving.  Over the years there was a feeling among some family and friends that store-bought pumpkin pies were "better."  I never complained, but I never felt that way.  I've been experimenting with making sugared cranberries the past month, mainly in a cookie recipe.  But this week I tried using them as a garnish for a pumpkin pie.  The photos don't do it justice.  You get a tangy burst of cranberry juice with the sweetness from the sugar.  And I think it cuts through some of the richness of the pumpkin pie.  But a little slice goes a long way.

Pumpkin Tart with Candied Cranberries #1.JPG

Pumpkin Tart with Candied Cranberries #2300.JPG

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As far as the dinners go, Thanksgiving is pretty much locked down from year to year. We go traditional -- turkey, cornbread dressing, sweet potatoes, cranberry salad, mac and cheese (for the kids!) and some kind of obligatory green thing. And rolls.

 

Christmas, I have more latitude. I'm leaning toward a cocktail buffet. I'm thinking a nice rump roast, sous vided to medium rare, chilled, and sliced. Horseradish cream. Baked ham or pork tenderloin, sliced. With Taleggio cheese and Jezebel sauce. Slider rolls. Shrimp with cocktail sauce. Crab salad. Rosti with sour cream and caviar. A nice mix of pickles and raw veggies. Curried fruit. Copious quantities of Prosecco, mimosas and whatever you call the equivalent with cranberry juice.

 

New Year's Day, of course, requires greens and black eyed peas. I do mine with smoked sausage and tomatoes, baked with bread crumbs on top.

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We are going to change our Christmas dinner for the first time ever.  Ever.  It's always turkey and the traditional bits and bobs.  This year it will be a spiral ham and that's as far as I have gotten.

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We are changing the date for Thanksgiving this year. All the traditional family favorites - turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas, rolls, pumpkin pie..., but we are celebrating Thanksgiving before Halloween because our son and grandson, who live in Japan, will be here for a week starting Saturday, and since the holiday is not celebrated in Japan, our son has made the request so that our grandson can experience it.


Edited by robirdstx (log)
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Thanksgiving:

- Brie panna cotta

- Turkey consomme with "Flädle" shapes

- SV turkey breast and turkey leg confit

- cornbread, Hasselback potatoes, green beans with bacon

- pear loaf cake with pear whipped cream

 

Christmas:

- lentil soup (my family has always done the brown lentils but since I am in charge of the soup this year I will try to lure them to the darker side of this legume 😁)

- pork and chicken escalope

- potato salad

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My friend, Joyce, is firing up the upstairs freezer at her house as she begins cookie baking for the holidays.  She makes some 15 or so types.  Before she died I got told "Soko, roll the dough thinner" by her mom,Connie while making crispadelle.

I don't have the whatever to bake cookies properly......

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On 10/25/2018 at 1:03 PM, robirdstx said:

We are changing the date for Thanksgiving this year. All the traditional family favorites - turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas, rolls, pumpkin pie..., but we are celebrating Thanksgiving before Halloween because our son and grandson, who live in Japan, will be here for a week starting Saturday, and since the holiday is not celebrated in Japan, our son has made the request so that our grandson can experience it.

 

 

The Holidays have begun!

 

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Happy Thanksoween or Hallogiving.  Nope that just won't work will it?  Happy Holidays, there that sounds better.

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There are some very good crostini recipes in this discussion, which I think are perfect for a Holiday buffet table or just snacks or appetizers.  Makes me think a Swedish style array of open-face sandwiches would be something different to introduce this year.

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My history in cooking contests is abysmal, but I end up coming out of them with great recipes that I've created.  This was my entry in the "Eggland's Best" contest supposedly showing the versatility in using eggs.  That's what I interpreted the contest to be.  Anyway, this savory little "gougere" is something I plan on doing for the holidays.  In this case they were filled with smoked salmon mouse, but any filling will do, sweet or savory.

 

Cheese Gougeres #1.JPG

 

Ingredients-

Gougeres (Pastry)

½ cup water

2 tbsp butter

½ tsp salt

½ cup flour

2 whole eggs

½ cup shredded Swiss cheese

1 whole egg beaten with 1 tsp. water

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

 

Smoked Salmon Mousse-

4oz. softened cream cheese

4oz. Nova lox-style smoked salmon

2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp chopped fresh dill

1 tsp snipped fresh chives

¼ cup whipping cream

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Mayonnaise-

2 large eggs

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 ¼ cups olive oil

Salt and pepper

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

 

1 tsp snipped chives for garnish

1 tsp dill fronds for garnish

 

Preparation-

Gougere’s-

Heat the oven to 425 . Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

 

In a saucepan bring the ½ cup water, butter, salt and cayenne to a boil. Pour in the flour and stir the dough very fast with a wooden spoon until the dough pulls away from the saucepan, about two minutes.

 

Take the pan off the heat and add the eggs, one at a time, and beat the eggs into the dough with a wooden spoon until the eggs are fully incorporated. Stir in the Swiss cheese.

 

Using two spoons, form small balls of the dough about 1” in diameter and spoon onto the baking sheet. (You can also add the dough to plastic bag fitted with a piping tube and pipe the dough in 1” circles). Brush the gougere’s with the egg wash and sprinkle some of the parmesan on top.

Bake the gougere’s for 25 minutes until golden brown. Let the gougere’s cool before filling with the smoked salmon mousse.

 

Smoked Salmon Mousse-

Place the cream cheese, smoked salmon, lemon juice, dill and chives in a food processor and pulse until blended and smooth. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper and stir in the cayenne. In another bowl beat the whipping cream until stiff and then fold into the salmon mixture.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

 

Mayonnaise-

Place the eggs, salt, lemon juice and mustard in a blender. Pulse just a few seconds until the mixture is combined. With the blender at low speed, (place the top on but leave the hole open), slowly drizzle in the grapeseed oil. As the mayonnaise starts to thicken, increase the speed and continue to add more grapeseed oil until the mayonnaise is thick. Stir in black pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

 

Cut each gougere in half and scoop out some of the inside dough. Spoon some of the smoked salmon mousse on the bottom layer and cover with the top layer. (You can also pipe the salmon mousse onto the bottom of the gougere using a plastic bag fitted with a pastry tube).

 

Place the gougere’s on a serving platter. Spoon some of the mayonnaise around the platter. Garnish the plate with some snipped chives and dill fronds.

 

! Recipe Notes: The Gougeres are good on their own, but even better when stuffed.  Any filling will work, herbed cream cheese, crab or deviled egg salad, once you have the pastry made the fillings are endless.  I like to serve the Gougeres with sliced cucumbers and poached asparagus.

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1 hour ago, ElsieD said:

@David Ross  I am SO making this at Christmas.  Thank you.

 

Yes! In fact, I'll make extra smoked salmon mousse so that my egg-allergic cousin will also have something to enjoy.

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I am focusing on shortbread for holiday cookies this year.  I tested out ChefSteps shortbread recipe, I liked it, but no one else in the house liked it especially.  They thought it tasted flat. So, next, I am testing out Cornmeal Lemon shortbread (following, more or less, Dorie Greenspan's recipe).   The dough is currently in the fridge waiting patiently for when I feel like baking it, hopefully sooner than later.   I had also read that shortbread likes to age, so I thought maybe an early start would benefit the cookie swaps for the Holidays.

 


Edited by lemniscate extra s removed (log)
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In addition to the pumpkin pie with candied cranberries above, I worked on a pumpkin roll yesterday.  It's the basic recipe you can get on the Libby's website for a pumpkin roll.  I added pecans to the cake mix along with coconut and a tbsp. of Cointreau liquer.  Only problem is I should have chopped the nuts finer because the bigger pieces of chopped pecans made it difficult to roll up the layer of cake.  I served it with pumpkin ice cream from a local dairy that comes out ever holiday season and some of the nectarberry compote I made this summer when we did the Cane Berries of Summer Cook-Off.  The nectarberries are both tangy and sweet with the closest comparison to a tangy blackberry.  Worked really well with the richness of the pumpkin, cream cheese frosting and the ice cream. 

 

IMG_0523.JPG

 

https://forums.egullet.org/topic/156839-eg-cook-off-78-the-cane-berries-of-summer/

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So far I've mentioned the spiral ham for our Christmas dinner as something we've never had before.  And now Ed has asked for Scalloped Potatoes which I think I've made only once or twice, and haven't made for decades, and have no idea what recipe I used.  Now, Mr. Ed, having been the one who taught me to cook, is quite happy to interfere (my words) in everything I cook if he has ever had it before.  Or even worse, if his Mother ever made it.  (Which is partly why I specialize in dishes which he's never eaten and has no preconceived idea of how they should taste.)

 

So now begins the Scalloped Potato recipe search.  And they must be like his Mother's...which he hasn't had for almost 59 years.  It took 5 recipes to get the salted caramel sauce correct to his liking.  I wonder how many recipes it will take for the Scalloped Potatoes......??????  And he can't recall if they had onions in them or not.

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6 minutes ago, Darienne said:

So far I've mentioned the spiral ham for our Christmas dinner as something we've never had before.  And now Ed has asked for Scalloped Potatoes which I think I've made only once or twice, and haven't made for decades, and have no idea what recipe I used.  Now, Mr. Ed, having been the one who taught me to cook, is quite happy to interfere (my words) in everything I cook if he has ever had it before.  Or even worse, if his Mother ever made it.  (Which is partly why I specialize in dishes which he's never eaten and has no preconceived idea of how they should taste.)

 

So now begins the Scalloped Potato recipe search.  And they must be like his Mother's...which he hasn't had for almost 59 years.  It took 5 recipes to get the salted caramel sauce correct to his liking.  I wonder how many recipes it will take for the Scalloped Potatoes......??????  And he can't recall if they had onions in them or not.

 

I was always disappointed with my scalloped potatoes, which just didn't turn out like my best friend's mom's did (hers were the Gold Standard). So I eventually did this:

  • Slice and parboil the potatoes
  • Make a white sauce, with sauteed onions if you want (I generally use onion powder)
  • (I add cheese to mine, though this isn't canonical in scalloped potatoes)
  • Layer potatoes with (cheese) sauce in baking dish
  • Top with more grated cheese
  • Bake

No problem with the sauce breaking or curdling. The more cheese, the better. I usually use a combo of cheddar and parmesan.

 

They may not be Ed's mom's version, but I'll betcha he likes them.

 

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On 10/29/2018 at 9:53 AM, Smithy said:

 

Yes! In fact, I'll make extra smoked salmon mousse so that my egg-allergic cousin will also have something to enjoy.

But the gougeres have egg in them 😪

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19 minutes ago, Darienne said:

So far I've mentioned the spiral ham for our Christmas dinner as something we've never had before.  And now Ed has asked for Scalloped Potatoes which I think I've made only once or twice, and haven't made for decades, and have no idea what recipe I used.  Now, Mr. Ed, having been the one who taught me to cook, is quite happy to interfere (my words) in everything I cook if he has ever had it before.  Or even worse, if his Mother ever made it.  (Which is partly why I specialize in dishes which he's never eaten and has no preconceived idea of how they should taste.)

 

So now begins the Scalloped Potato recipe search.  And they must be like his Mother's...which he hasn't had for almost 59 years.  It took 5 recipes to get the salted caramel sauce correct to his liking.  I wonder how many recipes it will take for the Scalloped Potatoes......??????  And he can't recall if they had onions in them or not.

 

Why not have him make them?

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My kitchen is in the middle of a renovation at the moment but, all being well, I should get it back around the second week of December. 

 

If it runs to plan I’ll be making some smoked salmon (both hot and cold smoked) to take down to my parents for Christmas. 

 

While we’re down there we’ll be doing turkey (SV legs, roast crowns) and some slow roast rib of beef to cover everyone’s tastes. My son, brother and I will be making 3 or 4 canapés to eat as a stand up starter for the big meal, so far the short list is:

 

- Espresso cups of celeriac and chestnut soup with fried sage

- filo parcels with curried meat filling

- watermelon poke (my son found this one, looks nice and light and a good contrast to the roast meats to come)

- some sort of tartlet

 

Any ideas for a good way to serve the poke as ginger food? Maybe lettuce cups?

 

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Update on the Cornmeal Lemon Shortbread.  It is not the shortbread I am searching for exactly.  I just didn't like the cornmeal texture in it.  But all is not lost, the lemon flavor was right where I like it, so I think I will keep the recipe and not include the cornmeal.  I think bumping up the flour and maybe an addition of cornstarch or potato starch to make up for the cornmeal may work.   Cookies are complicated xD

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I'm thinking of a roast goose for Christmas.  My Father and I always wanted one, so one year Mother broke away from turkey and cooked a goose.  Of course Father and I thought it was delicious, Mother and my Sister not so much.  I have friends in the UK who always tempt me with their roast goose recipes.

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15 hours ago, Darienne said:

 

 

So now begins the Scalloped Potato recipe search.  And they must be like his Mother's...which he hasn't had for almost 59 years.  It took 5 recipes to get the salted caramel sauce correct to his liking.  I wonder how many recipes it will take for the Scalloped Potatoes......??????  And he can't recall if they had onions in them or not.

 

 

I basically use Bourdain's recipe with modifications

I'm of the opinion that the common additions to scalloped potatoes lessen the dish. Esp cheese.

 

Put a sprinkle of fine diced garlic on the bottom of a baking dish...not too much...maybe 1/3 tsp for a 8x 11 dish.

Salt the dish lightly and then each potato layer as it goes in. Maybe pepper...I don't.

layer mandoline sliced peeled yukon golds to just short of filling the dish

pour in cream to about 3/4 up the potatoes...maybe more

cover with foil and bake at 375 till potatoes are soft to a skewer pierce...maybe 45 minutes. taste the  liquid and correct salting

bake uncovered 10 or 15 min more to brown.

let sit 20 minutes to firm up before serving ...DON"T rush the rest period


Edited by gfweb (log)
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