I wrote in an earlier blog about cookies and Christmas memories. As we get ever closer to the big Christmas holiday, I’m wondering what your plans are for the big celebration. Maybe you celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanza instead. Whatever holiday your family and friends celebrate, I’d love to know what your food plans are. Cooking a big feast? A pot luck with friends? Maybe reservations at your favorite restaurant?
For The Dude and my first Christmas as husband and wife we are hosting dinner with my in-laws – mother, sister and her husband. So, it’s a small gathering. I’m really excited about hosting our first holiday at the house, but it sure is a bit daunting trying to figure out the menu. I love my in-laws, but I think they have a perception that The Dude and I eat “fancy.” Plus there are food issues and dislikes for some, so how do I make everyone happy?
In addition, I really want to “shop local” for the main dish. In our town, there is a great butcher shop called Lange’s. It’s a real throwback to old-time butcher shops. Sawdust on the floor, the smell of smoking meats as you walk in the door, and a big friendly butcher who is always ready to make suggestions for the perfect meal. One caveat though, it’s expensive! He only sells quality meats, so it’s a level above your local grocery store. Originally, I wanted to do a standing rib roast for Christmas dinner. After the sticker shock of $11.95 per pound (I need an 8-1/2 pound roast!), I quickly decided to change the menu! Fortunately, he cures his own hams, so I picked out a great big one that he’ll spiral slice for us and will be ready for pick up on Christmas Eve – at a price that will allow me to include other items on the dinner menu!
So, in addition to the ham, which I’m going to glaze with cola, cherry jam and Grand Marnier, I’m also fixing:
- Smashed Potatoes with butter, cream, cheddar cheese. Put them in a casserole and top with panko breadcrumbs and butter.
- Oven roasted brussel sprouts dusted with toasted hazelnuts and parmesan cheese. I love the earthiness of the roasted sprouts with the sweetness of the nuts and cheese. Yum!
- My mother-in-law is bringing her wonderful sweet potatoes, my sister-in-law is bringing her delicious 7 layer salad, and The Dude is making his great cranberry and orange relish.
- Dessert will be Christmas cookies supplied by my sister-in-law, and I’m going to make my brother-in-law’s favorite, Sugar Cream Pie. He was supposed to get this at Thanksgiving, but I had the flu and just could not bring myself to bake!
So, I’d really be interested in knowing your favorite holiday dishes. There is nothing like sharing ideas to get the juices flowing! Whatever you are doing for the holidays, whether it’s cooking for a crowd, making reservations, or traveling to visit loved ones, I wish you happy holidays and a terrific new year!