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andiesenji

2019 Holiday Cooking and Baking

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2 minutes ago, Shelby said:

I've not had that problem......but then again, mine are the most basic things ever lol.  Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage and puff pastry.  

Hey actually I use Jimmy Dean.  I think it still has the best flavor, especially the sage variety and I like the grind.  I've got a copy-kat recipe but it never comes close to the original. 

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One of my favorite Holiday appetizers is based on our discussion of Gels, Jell-O and Aspic https://forums.egullet.org/topic/143597-cook-off-61-gels-jell-o-and-aspic/

and the Oyster with Bloody Mary Aspic. Friends and family don't understand why I take the time to make these when they can now go to the market and buy a "fresh" oyster in a shot glass that has some spicy tomato juice in there.  And how long ago was that oyster put in said glass I ask them?  I've tweaked the recipe a bit, but you start with making a tomato spice base then turn that into an aspic.  The aspic then garnishes a fresh oyster.  It's full of flavors like celery, black pepper, and of course Vodka and just a few little spoons on top of a fresh oyster and maybe a squeeze of lemon.  I live in the Pacific Northwest and we have fresh oysters available year-round.  Although I'm on the east part of Washington, we get fresh oysters from Puget Sound flown over daily.  I like the tiny oysters like the Kumamoto.

Fresh Oysters with Bloody Mary Aspic.jpg

Tomato Base Ingredients-

  • 1 cup V8 juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1 tbsp.brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 3 whole cloves

Aspic Ingredients-

  • 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin powder
  • 1/2 cup V8 juice
  • 1/2 cup bottled clam juice
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped jalapeno

For the Oysters-

  • 18 fresh live oysters in shells
  • celery leaves for garnish
  • rock salt for serving

Instructions

Make the Tomato Base-

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

    Blood Mary Aspic Ingredients

Finish the Aspic and Open the Oysters-

  1. While the first mixture is cooking, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Strain the hot tomato base into the bowl with the aspic ingredients. Pour the aspic into small ramekins or spread on a cookie sheet. Chill the aspic for at least 4 hours.

    Straining the Bloody Mary Aspic
  2. Use a kitchen towel for opening the oysters. Hold the oyster in the towel in one hand, and use an oyster knife in the other hand to open the oyster. Scrape the oyster away from the shell. Add a spoon of the Bloody Mary Aspic on top of the oyster and garnish with a celery leaf. Spoon the rock salt into a serving dish and place the oysters on top and serve.

    Chilling the Aspic

 

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Another main dish Mother did for Christmas was turkey.  I was remembering the  Thanksgiving turkey from just a few years before, but looked forward to it again on Christmas.  She changed the sides for Christmas. We still had dresssing, mashed potatoes and rolls, but she made delicious little pearl onions in cream sauce and instead of corn, and brussels sprouts, green beans sauteed in butter with almonds.  I still make turkey for Christmas, (as do all my friends in the UK), and save the prime rib or ham for New Years dinner.  This year I used a recipe from America's Test Kitchen, "Turkey en Cocotte."  It's basically a turkey breast slow-cooked in a Dutch oven.  I changed the recipe to include more vegetables and stock to make from gravy.  And instead of crowding the plate with sides, just served the turkey in thick slices with the gravy and mashed potatoes. 

 

This dish was made a few days after a disappointing Thanksgiving turkey at friends.  One fellow smoked a whole turkey, but it went off.  It was dry and overly smoked.  Worse, he chopped it into bits so it was basically shards of dry turkey meat! This recipe is so moist, tender and delicious I'll make it again during football bowl game season to try and impress friends.  I'm not sure I'll roast a whole turkey again after finding and tinkering with this recipe.

Dutch-Oven Braised Turkey Breast with Rich Herb Gravy.JPG

 

For the turkey-

  • 1 6-7lb. bone-in turkey breast
  • trimmings from the turkey breast
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 ribs of celery, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs each of fresh thyme, sage and rosemary
  • 1 tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 cup turkey stock

For the Herb Gravy-

  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups turkey stock add additional stock to thin the gravy
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Brown the turkey and braise in the Dutch Oven-

  1. Place the oven rack on the lowest setting. Remove the other racks to allow space for the Dutch oven. Trim excess skin from the turkey breast. Using kitchen shears, cut off the lower rib bones. Cut and break off the bone on the large end of the turkey. You can leave the turkey untrimmed, but trimming allows it to sit upright in the Dutch oven. Season the turkey breast with salt and pepper.

  2. Heat the oil in the Dutch Oven over medium heat on the stovetop and brown the turkey breast on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove the turkey breast to a plate while you cook the vegetables.

  3. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, sage, rosemary, and peppercorns to the Dutch Oven and saute until soft, about 3 minutes. Pour in the 1 cup of turkey stock  and turn off the heat. Place the turkey breast on top of the vegetables in the Dutch oven and cover the pot with aluminum foil. Place the lid on top of the foil and press the foil around the edge of the lid to create an air-tight seal. Place the pot in the oven and slow-braise for 2 hours or until the turkey breast registers 160 on a meat thermometer.

  4. Remove the Dutch oven and place it on the stovetop. Take the turkey breast out of the Dutch oven and place it on a cutting board. Tent the turkey with foil to keep it warm while you make the herb gravy.

  5. Heat the stovetop to medium and start cooking down the pan juices with the vegetables. After about 10 minutes, most of the liquid should be evaporated. At this point, stir in the flour to make a roux. When the flour is browned, start slowly adding the turkey stock, 1/2 cup at a time. As you add the stock, the mixture will become thick. Continue to slowly add stock and stir, scraping up any bits at the bottom of the Dutch oven. Once the gray is silky and smooth, strain it to remove the vegetables.

  6. This step may take two people. The Dutch oven is heavy, so start by placing a strainer over a small saucepot. Have someone lift the Dutch oven and pour the gravy through the strainer to remove the vegetables. Keep the gravy warm over low heat.

  7. Remove the skin from the turkey breast. Carve each turkey breast off the bone, then cut the turkey breast into thick slices and serve with the gravy. The leftover turkey is delicious in open-face hot sandwiches with gravy.

 

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Some of you may know of this Holiday salad.  I've been making different versions of it for years.  Going back to when I was growing up, we never had a green salad for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  Thanksgiving and Christmas always started with a shrimp and fresh Dungeness Crab cocktail.  The salad was Mother's special frozen concoction of cream cheese, cranberries and I think some type of gelatin.

 

I prefer a green salad for the fresh, clean flavors and it seems a less heavier alternative to the salads of the past.  It's really versatile and you can use apples instead of pears, use hazelnuts or walnuts in place of the pecans.  I like bleu cheese, but I think goat cheese would also work well.  Maybe a soft triple cream might be good.  And I like this style of salad if we're serving beef or a roast duck.

 

Ingredients-

4 cups mixed baby salad greens

2/3 cup dried cranberries

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 cup raw hazelnuts, unsalted

1 large red bosc pear, cut in half, cored and thinly sliced

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup crumbled bleu cheese

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

black pepper to taste

 

Instructions-

Toast the Hazelnuts-

-Heat the oven to 375.  Spread the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet.  Roast the hazelnuts until they start to turn golden, about 7-8 minutes.  Remove the hazelnuts from the oven and spread on a kitchen towel.  Cover with another towel and rub the hazelnuts between the towels to remove the skins.  Roughly chop the hazelnuts.

 

Glaze the Dried Cranberries-

-In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the balsamic vinegar and the dried cranberries. Cook until the vinegar is reduced by half and the texture of runny syrup, about 10 minutes. If the balsamic gets too thick, add a little water and stir. The glazed cranberries will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to two weeks. 

 

Slice the Pears and Assemble the Salad-

-Cut the pear in half and scoop out the core.  I leave the pear unpeeled but it’s your choice. Use a paring knife to cut out the middle stem.  Cut the pear halves in half, leaving you with4 pear quarters.  Cut the pears into thick slices, (I use a mandoline to slice the pears). Place the pear slices in a bowl and gently toss with lemon juice to keep from browning while you finish the salad.

-Place the mixed baby salad greens in a large serving bowl.  Add the glazed cranberries, toasted hazelnuts, sliced pear and bleu cheese. Drizzle in the olive oil and gently toss to combine the ingredients. Season with black pepper.

Pear, Blue Cheese and Cranberry Holiday Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts.JPG

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Wow! That’s a lot of olive oil.


Edited by Anna N Edited to remove the long quote which was totally unnecessary and takes up too much space (log)

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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2 minutes ago, Anna N said:

Wow. That is a lot of olive oil!

I agree!  I usually only drizzle over a few spoons but I have family and friends who pour it on. They like the olive oil to mix with with the other ingredients as a sort of olive oil dip for their bread!

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31 minutes ago, David Ross said:

I agree!  I usually only drizzle over a few spoons but I have family and friends who pour it on. They like the olive oil to mix with with the other ingredients as a sort of olive oil dip for their bread!

As my friend Helen, who lives in Kendall, UK, would say about my family and friends, "some of them eat like they haven't seen food for days"

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19 hours ago, David Ross said:

I haven't made sausage rolls in a few years, but think I will this season.  But one question.  In the past I've always felt the interior of the puff pastry that is around the sausage is really wet and gooey.  The outside is crisp and golden, but is there a way to put a barrier between the sausage and pastry so it basically doesn't turn the inside pastry raw?

 

 

I got a tip from a British cooking show I saw on YouTube last night.  The Chef added just a little fresh breadcrumbs to the sausage. He said it wasn't enough to be considered a filler like a meatloaf or meatballs, but the bread crumbs helped the fat and oil in the sausage rather than seeping out and making the inside of the pastry mushy.  I'll give it a go and see if that technique works. 

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This is a cookie I created this year for a Holiday contest.  Well, as far as the contest goes it was a dud, but everyone that's tasted these love them.  It's a take on the classic Mexican Tea Cookie.  Mother made the basic recipe for the Holidays-little balls rolled in powdered sugar.  I wanted to add more Mexican style ingredients, so I boosted the cinnamon in the cookie and frosted them with a dulce de leche buttercream.  Wow this is one good cookie but use caution, they are very rich and sweet.  I'm going to make them again, but this time I'll do them like a sandwich cookies with the dulce de leche in the middle between two cookies.

Snowy Mexican Tea Cookies.JPG

 

For the Cookies-

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cups finely chopped pecans

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup softened butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Powdered sugar for dusting

2 tbsp. finely ground pecans for garnish substitute walnuts

1 tbsp. gold cookie glitter crystals for garnish

 

For the Dulce de Leche Buttercream-

8 oz. Mexican Dulce de Leche

1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tbsp. heavy cream

 

Make the Cookies-

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Add the flour, chopped pecans, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon to a large bowl and stir to combine.  Then in the bowl of a mixer, add the butter, granulated sugar, and powdered sugar and beat until the butter is combined and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla and combine with the butter.  With the mixer on slow, gradually add the flour mixture and blend into the butter to make a soft cookie dough. 

Dust the counter with flour and roll out the cookie dough to 1/4 ” thick.  Use a round 2 ½” cookie cutter and cut the cookies.  Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, just until the edges start to brown.  Remove the cookies from the oven and place on a cookie rack to cool. While the cookies cool, make the buttercream.

 

Make the Buttercream and frost the cookies-

Add the butter to a mixer.  Slowly add the powdered sugar while mixing at low speed. When the butter and sugar are combined, add the vanilla and cream and mix until combined.  Add the dulce de leche and continue to mix to create a creamy buttercream frosting.  Add more heavy cream if the frosting is too thick.

Dust the tops of the cookies with powdered sugar.  Pipe a rosette of the buttercream on top of each cookie.  Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with some of the ground pecans and goldglitter crystals.

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4 hours ago, David Ross said:

I got a tip from a British cooking show I saw on YouTube last night.  The Chef added just a little fresh breadcrumbs to the sausage. He said it wasn't enough to be considered a filler like a meatloaf or meatballs, but the bread crumbs helped the fat and oil in the sausage rather than seeping out and making the inside of the pastry mushy.  I'll give it a go and see if that technique works. 

Yep!  This is exactly what @JohnT calls for in his recipe.  Three slices of bread to one pound of sausage. 

 

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5 hours ago, David Ross said:

I got a tip from a British cooking show I saw on YouTube last night.  The Chef added just a little fresh breadcrumbs to the sausage. He said it wasn't enough to be considered a filler like a meatloaf or meatballs,...

I think breadcrumbs are sometimes labeled as a filler by mistake. My mom always added milk-soaked bread to her meatloaf. Unbeknownst to her, she was actually making a panade which helped make her meatloaf tender. 

I've posted about this before but when I grew up and moved away, from home, I decided to make her meatloaf but without the "filler" of the bread. It turned out to be the heaviest doorstop of a meatloaf I'd ever eaten. Just terrible.

I learned my lesson that not all filler is filler.:B

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3 hours ago, Toliver said:

I think breadcrumbs are sometimes labeled as a filler by mistake. My mom always added milk-soaked bread to her meatloaf. Unbeknownst to her, she was actually making a panade which helped make her meatloaf tender. 

I've posted about this before but when I grew up and moved away, from home, I decided to make her meatloaf but without the "filler" of the bread. It turned out to be the heaviest doorstop of a meatloaf I'd ever eaten. Just terrible.

I learned my lesson that not all filler is filler.:B

So right.  I add a panade to my meatballs.  Makes them incredibly tender and juicy.  It's sort of a revelation when I tell folks about the difference between milk-soaked bread and those awful dry breadcrumbs in a can. 

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4 hours ago, David Ross said:

So right.  I add a panade to my meatballs.  Makes them incredibly tender and juicy.  It's sort of a revelation when I tell folks about the difference between milk-soaked bread and those awful dry breadcrumbs in a can. 

And milk is better than water for this. There’s some chemistry going on i think. 

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I created this sticky roll recipe years ago and have never changed the recipe.  I remember when my nephew was about 5 he became really intrigued by this recipe which I always thought was funny.  Every time I saw him he asked if we could make my caramel rolls.  He grew to be a 6' 6" college basketball player and I also thought that was funny.  This big guy still asking for caramel rolls.  His son, my Grand Nephew, is not 15 months and I can't wait to make these rolls with him.  (If I don't let his parents know he'll be knocked over by how sweet they are).  Easy to make the only hard part is waiting for the two different stages of dough rising.  I took some to the local gym the other morning to give to my early workout buddies.  They loved them, but it was kind of odd handing these out before they worked out!  Beware please.  They are really decadent and sweet so you may have to eat one in about 4 different times during the day!

Dave's Caramel-Pecan Sticky Rolls.JPG

 

Ingredients

For the dough and filling-

3/4 cup warm water, 105-110 degrees

1 envelope dry yeast

4 tbsp. softened butter

1 large egg

1 tbsp. dry milk powder

2 1/2 cups bread flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

6 tbsp. melted butter

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

 

For the caramel and nuts-

10 tbsp. butter

1 cup dark brown sugar

2 tbsp. light corn syrup

1 cup chopped pecans

 

Instructions

Make the dough-

Pour the warm water into the bowl of a heavy mixer with the dough hook attached. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir to combine. Allow the yeast to start to activate and bubble, about 5 minutes.

Add the softened butter, egg, dry milk, 2 cups of the bread flour, salt and pepper. Attach the dough hook and begin to combine the ingredients. The dough will be soft and sticky. Add additional flour just until the dough forms a very soft ball. Knead in the mixer until soft and elastic, about 8 minutes. Spray a large plastic tub with cooking spray and turn the dough into the tub. Loosely place the lid on the tub and place the dough in a warm place to rise and double in size. The dough should double in size in about 3 hours.

Flour a work surface and turn the dough out of the bowl. Roll the dough into a rectangle about 10" x 14" and 1/3" thick. Brush the dough with the melted butter and sprinkle with the dark brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Beginning at the long edge, slowly roll-up the dough into a log. Pinch the ends of the dough log to seal the edges. Cut the dough log into 8 equal size rolls.

 

Make the caramel and bake the rolls-

Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter and melt. Once the butter is melted, stir in the brown sugar and corn syrup. Let the caramel come to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes. Pour the caramel into the baking dish and sprinkle the chopped pecans over the top. Place the sliced rolls on top of the pecans and caramel. Cover and let the rolls rise again until doubled, about one hour.

Heat the oven to 325. Bake the rolls just until they start to turn golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the baking pan from the oven. Use a spatula to place the rolls on top of the cookie rack placed over a baking sheet. Spoon any caramel and nuts left in the baking panover the top of the rolls. Serve the rolls warm while the caramel is still hot and sticky.

 

Recipe Notes

These Caramel-Pecan Sticky Rolls are easy to re-heat the next day.  Put them in the microwave and give about 30 seconds to re-melt the caramel.   Or wrap in foil and re-heat in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes. 

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@David Ross -- saving that one for sure. Do you see any reason why one couldn't freeze those after the putting the rolls on top of the caramel step, before the final rise? It occurs to me they'd be nice to gift frozen, so folks could put them out to thaw and rise the evening before to bake for breakfast....

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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14 hours ago, kayb said:

@David Ross -- saving that one for sure. Do you see any reason why one couldn't freeze those after the putting the rolls on top of the caramel step, before the final rise? It occurs to me they'd be nice to gift frozen, so folks could put them out to thaw and rise the evening before to bake for breakfast....

I haven't tried it myself but I think it might work.  It would just take time to let them naturally defrost on the counter to bring the yeast back to life.  I have baked them and then frozen some to eat later.  Thawed and then heated back up in the oven.  The roll itself isn't quite as good, but the caramel is just as delicious and I think that's what people love the most.

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Made those silly pretzel pecan turtle things that everyone just inhales:

DSCN0475.JPG.4a19dc2771b17ddc84a2b078bfef791b.JPG

 

Also made some cookies that were recommended by @jedovaty awhile back - Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread - before baking:

DSCN0476.JPG.166c2267d040f68f4b193b41381f539d.JPG

The dough is made into rolls and allowed to firm up in the fridge (I let it hang out for 3 days).  It is then brushed with an egg wash and rolled in demerara sugar, sliced, and finally sprinkled with sea salt.  Baked:

DSCN0478.JPG.37e82bd0f83bf83a3bde5fb4ef95c641.JPG

These were wonderful.  Very buttery and chunks are always superior to chips.  Now I need Mr. Kim to decide if I should make another batch of these or a couple of batches of the Jacques Torres ones.  Thank you so much for bringing these to my attention, @jedovaty!

 

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Long ago before the internet, I occasionally made a German Christmas dessert called Stollen but stopped when I could not get cardamom any more. I was thinking about making it again and wondered if I could find all the stuff I needed to make it now that I am back in Kansas City. I looked all over for the almond paste.  Cassie used to get marzipan somewhere but I could not find it anywhere. Finally I went to a cake and candy bakers supply store way out on the old Santa Fe trail road.  The parking lot was full when I got there and it was busy inside. When I finally got to the cash register, the lady told me she didn't have any but Hen House grocery did.  That is a place I shop often and it's close. So yesterday I got everything I needed and today it has been snowing since before dawn and will still be snowing by dark so it's a good day for baking.  The recipe was for one big or two smaller loaves.  I made one big one and that was a mistake. By the time the inside was done, the edges were crunchy but it was still good. Charlie had seconds and it was better than I remembered.  Another thing I was thinking about was a cookie jar that got broken a long time ago and so I looked for it on ebay and found it.... so i had to make some cookies to fill it.  The jar is full and those are the cookies that won't fit.  We will have to eat those right away, I guess.  For dinner Charlie called Grub Hub and ordered from an Hawaiian restaurant. We had some pork and chicken plus some Spam grilled with teriyaki and wrapped with rice in some seaweed. 

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On 11/9/2019 at 2:31 PM, Margaret Pilgrim said:

I try to keep a tradition from my husband's family alive.    I seem to be the last woman (alive) in his family who makes this bread, which I learned from his Austrian mother: poteca, walnut roll.

   487000312_ScreenShot2019-11-09at12_31_06PM.png.bdaaf147f68f4639fef07e20f9566621.png

I grew up in a Croatian neighborhood in Kansas City (Strawberry Hill) and they have the same holiday bread but call it povitica. 

 

PS I once lived in a rental house that had black walnut trees and I decided to make some povitica since the nuts were "free".  It took months for those black walnut husks to dry out enough.  They have to be removed before you can crack open the shells and that is a messy messy chore. I put them in a gunny sack and whacked then up side the tree and ran over them with my car.  Just trying to do it by hand will turn your skin walnut brown until it decides to wear off.   I finally got enough nuts meat to make the bread and ugh. I found out I didn't like black walnuts.  They have quite a different taste than English walnuts.  Another time, my uncle gave me a big bag of pecans and I made some povitica with those and that was wonderful. 

 


Edited by Norm Matthews (log)
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43 minutes ago, lindag said:

@Norm Matthews

Are those dueling Kitchen Aids?

 The black one has been stored in the basement since I got the other one a little while ago. I got it out today to make cookies while the bread was rising in the other bowl. :)  It has a smaller bowl and is pretty noisy compared to the red one.

 


Edited by Norm Matthews (log)

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Dude, @Norm Matthews, almond paste is easy to make, that goes for marzipan, too.  But I know all too well what happens when you have your mind set to go get something that should technically be right there in aisle 5b.

 

@Kim Shook, wow, awesome!  I recall you weren't the biggest fan of them, so it was nice to see that you liked them!  If you make them again, consider brushing the egg wash on top of a few cookies, and sprinkle with the coarse sugar/salt when the cookies are almost done baking (so the sugar wouldn't melt).  I tried this when I couldn't get the sugar on the perimeter to be as pronounced/crunchy.  The result was an interesting cookie :)

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@jedovaty  Well it was either find the almond paste or find "finely ground blanched almond meal" and if I found that, I'd still have to make the paste.  The recipe also provided an alternative filling of butter, cinnamon and sugar and I almost used that. I am glad that I found the paste though because it tasted a lot better than the marzipan that Charlie's ex used on her cakes.

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A traditional Holiday food in the Pacific Northwest is Dungeness Crab.  We sort of go by the December 1 date as the marker for when the season opens, but in recent years it's been a moving target.  These crab legs are from off the coast of Washington.  The season in Oregon is still closed due to tides and regulations.  The restrictions are pretty tight, but I appreciate that because it helps the Dungeness fishery be sustainable and protects consumers at the same time.  The best recipe for how we like Dungeness crab really isn't a recipe.  Just fresh crabs steamed, chilled, then served with clarified butter.  We don't crack them ahead of time other than to hit the shells with a mallet to break them and make it easier to pick out the crab.  If you haven't ever tasted a Dungeness, it's meaty and very sweet and rich.

WA Dungeness Crab Legs on Ice.JPG

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I suppose Christmas dinner can fit into this topic as well. What's everyone planning?

 

It appears I will have two. One on Christmas Day, which will be small, and the other on the Sunday after, with all the fam and all the stops pulled out.

 

Christmas day, I am thinking will be an all-day buffet kind of thing so we can just graze as we wish, as we get up, as family comes by. I'll do a ham, and might smoke a turkey breast. Deviled eggs. Cranberry salad. Potato salad. Maybe a broccoli and cauliflower salad. Dips and chips and crackers and spreads; it's been a long time since I've had a good pate d'campagne. Assorted sweet things to nibble on, likely leftovers from treat-making. I might be moved to make a coconut cake.

 

The Sunday after, as everyone will have had all the Christmasy foods they can hold, I'm going to have barbecue. I have a smoked pork shoulder roast in the freezer that I'll pull out and warm and pull, make some slaw and baked beans and potato salad, put out some buns and some corn tortillas to make sandwiches or tacos, put out a couple of bags of chips and make some cheese dip, and call that done. The GF brownies with ice cream and chocolate sauce were a hit at Thanksgiving, so I may repeat that, and maybe make a lemon icebox pie. There should be cranberry salad left, so that will go out, too. I'm contemplating roasting sweet potato wedges in the CSO just for a little something different.

 

Kids are staying over that night, so I'll send them off with waffles and fruit and such the next morning. They're leaving me the grands, so we'll have several favorites while they're here, including burgers at home, and taking them out for sushi. I've never seen a six-year-old and an eight-year-old who can eat that much sushi! We also plan to build a gingerbread house and potentially make spaghetti monsters.

 

What are y'all doing?

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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