26 December 2017

Christmas Dinner 2017

I confess I planned my Christmas Dinner on December 23. Oh, I’d ordered a roast well before then – because roasted beef tenderloin was the obvious choice -- but how I was going to prepare the roast and what dishes would accompany it was very much left to the last possible day. Two weeks before, I got out all my holiday cookbooks with the intention of crafting a tasty menu. But I just wasn’t feeling it. Couldn’t be arsed, even. Christmas could go humbug itself.

Which didn’t make a lot of sense, considering I’d been decking the halls and humming carols all the live long day since December 1. I think I was very much looking forward to the fun of Christmas Dinner, but the work of it -- the planning and the shopping -- was something I actively wanted to avoid. Couldn’t we just, I thought, get take out?

I could imagine my mother’s face if I ever suggested such a thing.

Anyway, I pulled myself together at the eleventh hour and planned a menu. And then we shopped for it Christmas Eve morning ... which turned out to be much less traumatic than I had anticipated. The weather had been bad the night before so many people seemed slow to venture out and we managed to whiz around the stores, scooping up everything we needed became too crowded and I shivved someone with a sprig of rosemary.

Christmas Dinner 2017
Carrots w/ Butter & Parsley
Roasted Broccoli w/ Parmesan & Italian Herbs
Tinned Peas of Marital Happiness
Rolls & Butter
Olive Medley
Bûche de Noël w/ Fresh Whipped Cream

The beef was fabulous, but you really need to mind the temperature when cooking (and start with a scrupulously clean oven or be prepared to open all the kitchen windows). I took the 7.5 pound roast out of the oven when my thermometer read 135°F with the assumption it would rise to 140°F after resting and be a nice medium rare.

Alas, upon carving, it was revealed to be so rare as to be raw and inedible. Disheartened, I threw the thick slices back in the hot oven for 5 minutes and, to my relief, that brought them up to medium rare/medium. It was a truly delicious roast, regardless, and I do recommend the high-heat method. (I did rub the beef with Simply Ghee® Black Garlic Ghee, bought this past autumn at the Connecticut Garlic & Harvest Festival, rather than plain butter for extra pizazz).

The horseradish sauce was a great accompaniment. It went together in no time flat and has kept well in the fridge. I did double the amount of horseradish called for as my family likes a zippy sauce.

There’s no recipe for the carrots, really. I peeled and thickly sliced all the CSA carrots I had left (about a pound) from the Thanksgiving box and boiled them until tender, then tossed them with butter, salt, pepper, parsley, and a little sugar and let them sit on a warm burner until we needed them. Do not judge me for the use of sugar. It is something my Grandmother Gardner always added to her carrots and it does, imho, bring out their carrotiness.

There’s also no real recipe for the broccoli. I took a bag of fresh chopped florets, tossed them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings and then roasted them in the 500°F oven for the 10 minutes the beef rested. When the broccoli came out of the oven, I tossed it with shredded Parmesan, and plopped it all into a warmed serving bowl.

Don’t judge me for the tinned peas. According to The Husband, peas are a necessity when served mashed potatoes and he just happens to like tinned peas best of all peas. I did splash out and buy the 50% Less Sodium Le Sueur® Very Young Small Sweet Peas, because we’re nothing but top shelf at Christmas.

Leeks might not be something you’d think about putting in mashed potatoes, but they’re just really big scallions, after all. I had two CSA leeks leftover and lots of garlic on hand so the Betty Crocker recipe was pretty much a godsend. The mashed potatoes were a lovely pale gold, creamy, and yum. Garlicky and leek-y, of course, but not aggressively so. A repeater, definitely.

And that was Christmas Dinner. And it was good. And now we shall subsist on (delicious) leftovers until Friday when there may be duck. Hooray.

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