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Christmas Eve/Christmas, New Year's Eve/Day 2020/21


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It's December 1, and we're probably all jonesing to get this mess of a year behind us. The holiday season will be, like Thanksgiving, small-scale and quiet, but we can still enjoy our favorites for holiday meals, snacking, drinking and gift baskets. @Shelby mentioned we needed a Christmas Eve/Day thread, and I took the liberty of tacking on New Years as well.

 

I'm never as hidebound over traditional meals on Christmas as I am Thanksgiving. I've done pulled pork and pork ribs, a big seafood boil, and cocktail buffets we started grazing on at brunch and nibbled all day, and beef tenderloin. All are wonderful. This year, I think I'm going to try a roasted pork shank in apple cider with honey, a treatment I had at Murphy's Wine Bar in Atlanta several years ago that remains possibly the best use of pork I can think of. I have frozen heritage pork shanks in the freezer; I think I'm going to make up the stock with cider and warm spices and roast them uncovered in it, low and slow, basting them frequently. Then I'll reduce the stock with some honey for a glaze. I think roasted butternut squash would go well with that, and green beans and maybe sauteed brussels sprouts and a broccoli salad. Oh, and there will be cranberry salad; that comes out, regardless of what's on the menu.

 

Day after Christmas, I think the kids will be here, so it'll be yeasted waffles for everybody else and latkes for me and Child B, the two celiacs in the house.

 

New Year's Eve, I'll likely make a big pot of chili or beef stew and lay in a bottle of bubbly to see the year out, or rather, boot it out, with a "Goodbye and good riddance!" Breakfast casserole with a base of hash browns topped with ham, egg and lots of cheese for New Year's Day parade-watching (will there be parades) and football and basketball. Remaining bubbly from the night before for mimosas. More ham for sandwiches. Deviled eggs for munching whenever. Some form of grab-a-handful sweets -- maybe coconut macaroons and chocolate oatmeal no-bakes.

 

That should be enough calories to see me through the end of this year and into another one!

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Pork shank is like the hock? The flavoring sounds great. How does the skin/crackling get addressed?  

I have no clue yet as this county is such a mess. I may indulge and order crab claws and spiny lobster online. @robirdstx started a hankering for dirty rice and maybe duck livers in a hot sweet sauce. If the gang was headed here those would not be contenders. And a big bowl of black kale salad.  

People are shy about receiving food gifts now and also bemoaning quarantine weight gain so I may skip my baking. 

Social aspect will be virtual like Thanksgiving. Hilarious how some folks feel the need to tidy up the background possible mess. Who cares?! 

If the portly mouse in the garage has not been caught he or she might get a treat or two (outside).

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If ever, this is the year to plan something fun and special, because - well, life is all about making lemonade (or lemoncello!) out of the lemons you are given!

 

I like the idea of a big spread to graze on throughout the day.  Typically for our NY dinners we have a big table laid out and we / the kids just graze all evening - perhaps putting out an even larger one earlier in the day and rotating new things in later on might be fun.

 

Home cured gravlax will be a must.  As well as smoked oysters.  Probably cheeses and crackers.  Or perhaps I will change things up and go a different direction - but probably not.  Traditions....after all!

 

Looking forward to hearing others ideas and poaching them accordingly! :)

 

 

 

 

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23 hours ago, heidih said:

Pork shank is like the hock? The flavoring sounds great. How does the skin/crackling get addressed?  

I have no clue yet as this county is such a mess. I may indulge and order crab claws and spiny lobster online. @robirdstx started a hankering for dirty rice and maybe duck livers in a hot sweet sauce. If the gang was headed here those would not be contenders. And a big bowl of black kale salad.  

People are shy about receiving food gifts now and also bemoaning quarantine weight gain so I may skip my baking. 

Social aspect will be virtual like Thanksgiving. Hilarious how some folks feel the need to tidy up the background possible mess. Who cares?! 

If the portly mouse in the garage has not been caught he or she might get a treat or two (outside).

 

Shank is the very bottom part of the ham, and the upper part of the hock. About six inches long; upper end is maybe 3 inches in diameter, tapering quickly. So a little more of the upper end of what's traditionally seen as a hock. To the best of my recollection, the skin was scored and left in place, making a great crackling you enjoyed with the meat. 

 

That would lend itself nicely to traditional sides -- scalloped potatoes, green beans, maybe roasted sprouts, and of course, the ever-present mac and cheese for the kids.

 

But I kinda like the all-day graze spread, too. 

 

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1 hour ago, kayb said:

 

Shank is the very bottom part of the ham, and the upper part of the hock. About six inches long; upper end is maybe 3 inches in diameter, tapering quickly. So a little more of the upper end of what's traditionally seen as a hock. To the best of my recollection, the skin was scored and left in place, making a great crackling you enjoyed with the meat. 

 

 

Assisting kayb here, since we happen to have a couple of smoked pork shanks purchased last fall at a favorite meat market. This shank weighs 1.79 pounds so is plenty for two of us, with leftovers. Hmm, since we have two of 'em, I may try Kay's treatment with one instead of our usual pork shanks with spuds and sauerkraut. Her idea seems a fine one.

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Christmas Eve, we don't do anything special food-wise. Usually just snacks and movies. Christmas breakfast was always a big thing with us but with it just being me and the younger daughter now, it's not as big a deal as it was. Older daughter does her own thing with her husband and the kids at their house, they come by later in the day. Unofficially adopted daughter (best friend of older daughter who lived with us for a few years during high school  and after due to some bad circumstances at her home) is married and moved away. Sister-in-law usually works Christmas day now, they pay her ridiculously well to do so and it's really just not the same without my late wife (her sister) here so I don't blame her at all. Christmas dinner, I haven't planned yet. New Year's Eve either. I told myself I'm making tamales at some point during the holidays but I don't know that it will be either of those days. I'm going to be off work between Christmas and New Year's this year so I'll have plenty of time. I like grazing food for New Year's Day. That's a full day of football, don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. So yeah, at this point I pretty much have no idea what I'm doing. :D

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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After I made ham and potatoes for my son and turkey and stuffing for myself on Thanksgiving, we decided to have whatever we wanted for Christmas.  So far, the votes are for beef filets and Dungeness crab.  Maybe a vegetable, Brussels sprouts with bacon.  New Year’s Day will be snacks, probably make his favorite bacon wrapped water chestnuts.  Make try to sneak some bacon wrapped dates in there too.  Mimosas with Costco prosecco.  I’m saving my bottle of Veuve for the inauguration.

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28 minutes ago, Jacksoup said:

 New Year’s Day will be snacks, probably make his favorite bacon wrapped water chestnuts.  Make try to sneak some bacon wrapped dates in there too.  Mimosas with Costco prosecco.  I’m saving my bottle of Veuve for the inauguration.

You hit my remember button - we put the water chesnuts (canned unfortunately) in the dates and then bacon wrapped. A nice texture combo. 70's - was a thing

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we've gotten as far as roast beef for Christmas dinner and that's it.  with ed doing all the cooking.  i'm still bedridden although with some hope of returning health for the first time in a while.  no family or visitors however. 

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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5 minutes ago, Darienne said:

we've gotten as far as roast beef for Christmas dinner and that's it.  with ed doing all the cooking.  i'm still bedridden although with some hope of returning health for the first time in a while.  no family or visitors however. 

 

I'm glad there's beginning to be a glimmer of light on the horizon, health-wise.

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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11 hours ago, Jacksoup said:

 Make try to sneak some bacon wrapped dates in there too. 

 

10 hours ago, heidih said:

You hit my remember button - we put the water chesnuts (canned unfortunately) in the dates and then bacon wrapped. A nice texture combo. 70's - was a thing

 

Ooh, that reminds me too of an old fave - Spanish devils - baked dates stuffed w chorizo and fontina.  If you've never had them you should.  Easy and nice alternative to bacon wrapped stuff (w I find overwhelms).  Dinner, likely a surf and turf spin of crab or lob tails and venison loin and classic sides, brussels, garlic mash, etc. etc. 

 

Whata depressing year.  Still feels surreal.

 


image.png.458b7df7a807012adfade3458ab8c308.png

 

"And have you been naughty or nice?  What? speak up, sweetie.  It's ok we're not whispering this year."

 

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That wasn't chicken

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19 hours ago, heidih said:

I thought she was talking fresh pork not cured. Thanks for the illustration though. Depending on where you source and region - names fluctuate it seems.My mind went immediately to Schweinshaxe = my dream cut. https://forums.egullet.org/topic/150453-pork-hock-aka-knuckle-aka-goodness/

 

Mine are fresh. Should work well with the cured, too.

 

Putting bacon wrapped dates on the NY menu.

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This year is definitely going to be different for us.  Typically, my husband and I would go to my in laws for Christmas eve, and my parents and brother along with my sister and her kids would come to my house for Christmas day.  Obviously none of that is happening this year thanks to Covid and people's stubborn refusal to adhere to health guidelines (MA had the highest positive daily case total since this crap started yesterday, at 4,965 new cases).  

 

My sister and her kids moved in with my husband and me permanently back in March, so there will be five of us.  I have not even thought about a menu for Christmas eve yet.  My husband bought a small beef tenderloin from Heritage Foods for Christmas day, but I need to think of a second entree since my sister and I don't eat red meat.  It needs to go with a big red wine since my husband usually breaks out something really good on Christmas and I don't want to miss out 🙂 I will probably make twice baked potatoes for the starch, since that is a typical Christmas dish for us. I'll be watching this thread for ideas.

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4 minutes ago, liamsaunt said:

This year is definitely going to be different for us.  Typically, my husband and I would go to my in laws for Christmas eve, and my parents and brother along with my sister and her kids would come to my house for Christmas day.  Obviously none of that is happening this year thanks to Covid and people's stubborn refusal to adhere to health guidelines (MA had the highest positive daily case total since this crap started yesterday, at 4,965 new cases).  

 

My sister and her kids moved in with my husband and me permanently back in March, so there will be five of us.  I have not even thought about a menu for Christmas eve yet.  My husband bought a small beef tenderloin from Heritage Foods for Christmas day, but I need to think of a second entree since my sister and I don't eat red meat.  It needs to go with a big red wine since my husband usually breaks out something really good on Christmas and I don't want to miss out 🙂 I will probably make twice baked potatoes for the starch, since that is a typical Christmas dish for us. I'll be watching this thread for ideas.

Chicken cacciatore can stand up to a red

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I suspect we're not getting together this year, which is going to be hard. Normally Italian "7 fishes" that we've been doing at a restaurant on Christmas Eve lately. Might just make it 2 fishes this year. Maybe spaghetti with bay scallops or something like that and fried white fish of some sort with veggies. Get some pastries from the Italian bakery for after. No rushing for church services, since they'll be online, but maybe a drive around to look at the lights after.

Christmas morning is usually simple, but requires TJs chocolate croissants, so we'll have to brave them or find an alternative. That plus just scrambled eggs with cheese or something. Dinner is normally at my parents' and varies. No idea. Tentatively leaning towards ham since the leftovers are versatile. Some kind of chocolate yule log cake, again from a bakery. New Years Eve I'm kicking around if we can get together with the one family that often throws a big party; her daughter is at risk so she's been pretty careful. If not, we'll do apps all evening.

 

 

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Joanna G. Hurley

"Civilization means food and literature all round." -Aldous Huxley

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Stay safe everyone! 

 

I have purchased my Spanish smoked oysters so it has official begun. 

 

After soliciting requests at dinner the other night, my 7 year old has requested Kabanosa sausage and pizza fingers - my 5 and 3 year old have requested sushi.  My wife would like me to make my port infused chopped liver and hearts of palm salad.  Oh boy.  Talk about a smörgåsbord!

 

While we had my folks in our social bubble, in Ontario - numbers are increasing (we are averaging 1700 cases per day over the last week or so and around 4000 across Canada) far more than they should be so we have now, sadly; had to revert back to our original social distancing isolation protocols.  Meaning no more meals with family, which is really tough, especially with a 95 year old grandmother who wants nothing more than to see her grand (and great-grand) kids.

 

Though we do not celebrate Christmas, we signed up for a Night of Lights event on Christmas Eve where you drive through this 30 minute light show that apparently has millions of lights setup in different scenes all matched to a custom radio station.  Will be fun to get the kids out - and they just LOVE lights.  Trying to convince me to put up Chanukah lights; I might just cave...

 

Love the ideas being shared here - certainly a source of inspiration.

 

 

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This is slightly off topic, as it's not about a holiday menu, but it is Christmas and food related.

 

I'm planning on a smallish tree decorated primarily with dehydrated pretty slices of lemons, limes, kumquats, blood oranges, and tomatoes (and popcorn garlands). My question is what else can I do with the butt ends of the citrus fruits beyond stashing them in vodka for a spell? Tomato ends will go into a salsa, and assuming that I buy (small) bags of citrus any non-decorative slices with be salt preserved, but what about the pithy end pieces?

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41 minutes ago, bokreta said:

This is slightly off topic, as it's not about a holiday menu, but it is Christmas and food related.

 

I'm planning on a smallish tree decorated primarily with dehydrated pretty slices of lemons, limes, kumquats, blood oranges, and tomatoes (and popcorn garlands). My question is what else can I do with the butt ends of the citrus fruits beyond stashing them in vodka for a spell? Tomato ends will go into a salsa, and assuming that I buy (small) bags of citrus any non-decorative slices with be salt preserved, but what about the pithy end pieces?

 

Maybe soak them in syrup, then incorporate into a sweet bread with other dried fruits, along the lines of a stollen?

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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For a scaled down Xmas eve I'm pondering a terrine of 7 fishes. Touching all the bases but not going nuts.

 

Christmas will be just 4 of us, so the usual roast beast  would be excessive.  Maybe lamb chops instead.

 

Evolving...

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1 hour ago, bokreta said:

This is slightly off topic, as it's not about a holiday menu, but it is Christmas and food related.

 

I'm planning on a smallish tree decorated primarily with dehydrated pretty slices of lemons, limes, kumquats, blood oranges, and tomatoes (and popcorn garlands). My question is what else can I do with the butt ends of the citrus fruits beyond stashing them in vodka for a spell? Tomato ends will go into a salsa, and assuming that I buy (small) bags of citrus any non-decorative slices with be salt preserved, but what about the pithy end pieces?

Always the contrarian and I live in citrus groves - - slice them the other way - no butts ;) Other ideas presented make sense as well. I also stash in freezer and toss in braises (the butts) @Smithy I think also grew up i citrus groves so she knows from what.

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35 minutes ago, gfweb said:

For a scaled down Xmas eve I'm pondering a terrine of 7 fishes. Touching all the bases but not going nuts.

 

Christmas will be just 4 of us, so the usual roast beast  would be excessive.  Maybe lamb chops instead.

 

Evolving...

A terrine in a pastry case? What mix of fishes? Where is that guy @Baron d'Apcher

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