Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Dinner - 2008

We drove down to my brother's house in Texas again for Christmas - a trip that almost didn't happen due to my employment situation. I was laid off the Friday before Christmas, if you hadn't heard, and it kind of freaked us out for a minute. Especially when we found that the car needed a not-so-cheap repair that same day. Thanks to some help from the parents and falling gas prices, we went ahead. We were very happy we did. Being around family was just the thing we needed. And being able to contribute my skills in the kitchen was validating.

In putting together the menu, I swapped out a few standards again, for variety's sake. I also took another pass at a few recipes I'd tried recently, for practice. The menu was:

Lemon Rosemary Roasted Turkey with Gravy
Green Onion Buttermilk Biscuits (not served)
Cheddar Buttermilk Drop Biscuits
Lime Cilantro Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Poblano Gratin Potatoes
Classic Green Bean Casserole (The Cook's Illustrated Version)
Best Potluck Macaroni and Cheese
Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage and Fennel
Vegetable Casserole with Tofu Topping
Sour Cream Apple Pie
Cranberry Eggnog Tart

I came down with a pretty bad headache on Christmas Eve, so I wasn't able to get all of my prep work done then, as I hoped. This was a big factor in dinner getting on the table about 2 hours late (7 instead of 5, as planned). I did, at least, get all of the desserts taken care of.

On the day of, my mom was a HUGE help in the kitchen. I was able to give direction on things to cut and prep and have complete confidence that she would know what I was talking about. My aunt asked my brother and me where we learned and we both answered that while we don't remember any specific "How To" sessions with her, she really taught us a great foundation. My brother also tended the turkey on the grill after I prepped it while I worked in the kitchen. There is no way I would have been able to run back and forth between the two.

There was one mishap, the Green Onion Buttermilk Biscuits, which I caught early and was redundant anyway. I didn't read carefully when mixing and used baking soda instead of salt. I tasted one and not only was the flavor off, but the soda aftertaste lingered for 30 minutes. Ugh. I threw them out. What I didn't realize until very late that day was my brother and sister-in-law had already snuck one and discovered how foul they were, but apparently weren't going to say anything out of niceness. What really sucks is that this was the first time ever that I've messed these up.

Entries for the individual dishes, including recipes and comments, will follow over the next few days. If a recipe has already been posted, I'll be updating the original post if there were any neew discoveries or findings.