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Christmas Dinner

Did the actualization of your Christmas Dinner match the anticipation?
If yes-Why?
If no-Why?

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  1. Going to say no due to family dymanics and bitter overdone asparagus that dear old mom killed until almost brown mush - bummer. I don't think I was entirely focused on the mushroom risotto either so it was just okay. I think everyone else enjoyed the chicken marsala. We completely forgot to put out the green salad. Ugh!

    1. You forgot to say whether or not your dinner turned out as anticipated or not!

      Mine, yes and no.

      Yes, because we had a lovely light dinner and it was super delicious.
      No, because last night I came down with a sore throat. We were invited to our friends' home for today but their mom was going to be there and she is undergoing chemo so I could not have taken the chance that I'd spread germs. I probably wouldn't have gone anyway, just to keep from sharing germs, but I really didn't want to get her sick!!

      1. well we had our christmas dinner on christmas eve because we went to my grandmother's house for our christmas dinner. but yes it lived up to expectations! I made a roasted leg of lamb with herbs de provence and red pepper flakes, roasted garlic smashed new red potatoes, and sauteed spinach with garlic! and for those beer dorks (like me) out there, we washed it all down with some sculpin, so it was amazing!

        1. Oh, gee...ours was kind of a debacle. Son and I were supposed to drive 4 hours to my (ex) in-laws to spend Christmas Day and the weekend and I got a phone call at 8 a.m. yesterday to say MIL has come down with her inner-ear dizziness/vomitting so please don't come. NO grocery stores open here except for one 30 minutes away and they were closing early so it was a mad rush to get over there for some dinner provisions. LOL, and I always try to empty out fridge before going away for a few days. Found a small, 2 1/2 pound prime rib roast for the 2 of us and large lobster tails--also made potato gratin and broccoli. Turned out okay, not familiar with cooking SMALL prime rib roasts but we ate late around 5:30. Ugh...it was stressful but better than going out, everyone required reservations, yada yada. We mostly were sad & upset not to be able to see them. Oh, well..we'll go in January. Usually when she has these inner-ear problems, she is laid out flat for 5 or 6 days.

          1. Mine- no

            I bought a premium turkey and it had no taste even though I did a herbed butter rub under the skin and on the skin. I also put cut up oranges, lemons, and aromatics in the cavity. Going back to Butterball for the next one. Turkey gravy was like wallpaper paste. Don't ask me what I did wrong. Broccoli rice casserole was good, but how can you mess that up. Ham, mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, potato salad, cranberry casserole was OK. After I got all of it cooked, I really didn't want to eat it. All I wanted was to have a cup of tea and a nap.

            1. Yes - It was a smashing success.

              I did a Christmas Eve mostly-German meal, the centerpiece of which was a sauerbraten. All of my hard work was worth it when I saw people savor the food, drink well and socialize.

              It was a fantastic evening, all told, and let me tell you, sauerbraten is even better 2 days later. WOW.

              1. It was year number four with my little group of friends, who are like family, and it was a great success. The ham was succulent and tender, all the side were delicious and we had a nice dessert bar including chocolate cake with a bittersweet chcolate buttercream, cherry pie, sweet potatoe pie and a excellent cheececake with an apricot glaze. The wine, beer, vodka, and rum flowed, everyone was lively, we had the usual squabbles, and neighbors kept popping in to bring my hostess little gifts. When it was over, I had to wait in the very chilly rain for the one hour bus ride home, but that's life in Brooklyn. It was a very good Christmas and we get to do all over again on New Year's Day.

                1. Ours met expectations. Chrismukkah dinner was plebeian comfort food in abundance, simple, easy to make, but tasty. We made butternut squash soup; wild rice salad with cranberries and pecans; wine braised brisket with carrots, celery and pearl onions; potato latkes with homemade applesauce; sauteed green beans and mushrooms; and assorted cookies for dessert.

                  Everything was great, except the beans and 'shrooms. The green beans couldn't compare to the ones we pick fresh from the garden in the summer.

                  1. Mom did it this year, and the food was really based around what my stepdad and stepsibilings wanted and like to eat on Christmas. We had ham, Patti LaBelle's Mac'n'Cheese (more on this later), rolls, something else I'm blanking on... (i couldn't partake in these and had my own salad dish, but oh well)... oh and of course crudite, hummus, cookies and Cheesecake Factory mini cheesecakes for dessert (mini-cupcake size).

                    The mac and cheese my mother labored over which recipe she would do - Paula Deen's with cheddar, sour cream, dry mustard etc. or LaBelle's with the four cheeses and velveeta.I gave my opinion of combining the best of both, but then again, I'm much more experimental. I cook and bake; she does not. She's anal about following instructions. I came early to help her finish cooking. She asked me to help with the mac, which she had decided to do exactly as LaBelle wrote it. Fine. But then she proceeded to tell me I wasn't dicing the velveeta correctly, and that i couldn't effectively grate the cheese with a knife since she was using the grater on a different cheese... I said it's all going to end up the same as long as it's in shards... no dice. Why am I trying to be difficult and potentially ruin it? Then we had a conflict over "dot with butter;" she wanted to melt and dot it with butter. Oy. In the end, everyone liked it.... Even now, I still wish I could have made it the way I wanted, but I guess that's what next year is for when I get to host.

                    1. Yes and no. My SIL really scaled it back this year - she had everyone bring their own meat (we brought a spiral sliced ham to share with everyone) so almost everyone had a steak which they grilled. The sides were plentiful - relish tray, huge salad, corn, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, some turkey, brocolli/cheese casserole, stuffing, mushrooms - there was a bunch of stuff and a ton of holiday cookies. The ham didn't turn out so well - I didn't buy a name brand - we have some money issues so I ended up with a store brand and it was meh. Just not good. But I had plenty of sides to eat and they were some of my alltime favorites. So it was good, it wasn't too much, but the ham kinda - well - sucked.

                      1. Christmas was always Pop's big deal, with cold shellfish for lunch and either standing rib or goose for dinner. He left us a few months back, though, so this year we just had a family lunch at bro-in-law's place, with his wife and two now-grown daughters, all three good and enthusiastic cooks. M-N (wife) made a big crockpot full of choucroute garnie, a dish I usually make for New Year's, and I brought the green salad to finish the meal with. Maman contributed two bottles of Beaujolais from the family cellar. All quite good. My only Christmas cooking was the night before, when we brought Maman to our house for supper, and I made a Catalan-style salt-cod stew with potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and onions, and sliced-up Spanish chorizo, with (canned) black olives for garnish. The liquid was basically a cup of white wine with a good pinch of saffron. That didn't suck, either.

                        1. I had Christmas Eve dinner at my mother's. There is a lot of Italian in our heritage, but we don't do traditional Italian fish Christmas Eve (mostly thanks to me). We had delicious baked ziti, beef tenderloin, and sausage and peppers. For the most part it was a lovely evening and met up with my expectations food-, gift-, and family-wise. Mostly. My mother's boyfriend's daughter is a bit of a drama queen and her son is a huge brat and they brought the evening down a few notches.

                          Christmas dinner I spent with my father and we had dinner at Istana at the New York Palace hotel. Company was wonderful. Food was disappointing. I had a pasta dish I could have easily made at home.

                          I've always wished my Christmas dinners would be more experimental or highbrow. I decided to have a pre-Christmas special dinner for just my husband and me on the 23rd. I cooked my first pheasant. I cooked it in red wine flavored iwth onions, mushrooms, and bacon. The sauce was delicious. The pheasant was sort of disappointing. Breast tasted like chicken breast and it was just too much work to pick apart the meat from the bones. But an evening at home with my beloved husband is always a good thing.

                          1. Bought a spiral ham from Costco and it was terrific! I had one for TGiving too, very very good.
                            DSister made low carb cream of broccoli soup and low carb mashed potatoes (w/cauliflower) and I made bowties w/pesto and peas and roasted peppers and BIL rotisseried a great chicken. It was all very very good. Better than expectations.

                            1. Yes but....this year was a different one, as due to death and my divorce, there were only myself, my son and his girlfriend. Dinner was great, I gave them a choice between pork, beef and Italian. They chose beef. Prior to this year, it meant Prime rib, but this year, due to the aforementioned reasons, times are tight. But the Saturday before Christmas my good friend called me and told me a local store had Prime Rib on sale for 3.99/lb. So I got a 2 rib roast and was able to surprise my family! They also wanted a salad called Olivier (a Russian potato salad) and our usual roasted Brussell sprouts. Nice calm dinner, ate our fill, talked, relaxed. So yes, it was nice even though I was completely anxious over life changes.

                              1. Yeah, mine was epic. Cooked a duck, roast potatoes in goose fat and thyme, cheesy leeks, stuffing and some roast fennel. I also had spinach and asparagus, Girlfriend had parsnips and carrots.
                                We made the gravy from the giblets too. he only thing that was really wrong was that Donnas parsnips and carrots didn't have long enough. I think she got a bit stressed too, even though the only thing she really did was her veg and some of the cheesy leeks prep.

                                But for me, I really enjoyed it, and I got to test my new roasting tray :)

                                *edit* oh, and thanks to Alan Barnes for the tip on the duck.

                                1. This year turned out to be brilliant. We ate out on Christmas Day in a gorgeous rural pub from the 18th century with the original features and stunning food. A delicious 4-course meal including goat's cheese and beetroot tart, crab soufflé, a salad of smoked chicken, figs and cashew nuts, stuffed roast turkey with cranberry sauce and roasted veg and a delicious bread and butter pudding made with panettone, chocolate and custard.

                                  On Boxing Day, we had my MIL and her partner for lunch. I made fresh pasta as a starter (tortelloni with butternut squash, garlic and ricotta in a rfed pesto and basil sauce). My fiancé produced a lovely main of roast venison in a red wine, chocolate and redcurrant sauce with grilled asparagus, roasted parsnips, onions and sweet potatoes.

                                  Dessert was buttermilk panna cotta with a warm chocolate and caramel sauce, pecan nuts and grated coconut. An all-round success with barely any leftovers to speak of.

                                  1. I yield to my wife and son who pronounced the meal a notable success. Beautiful filet mignon seasoned well and done nicely on the stovetop to sear and finished in the oven, with a red-wine deglazing sauce. Baked brown rice with thyme and toasted pine nuts. Warm broccoli salad wtih olives, roquefort, and dijon vinaigrette. Beaujolais nouveau. Later, my champagne chocolate apricot truffles by the fireplace. Perfect day, with my beloved family and a set of fireplace loving cats.

                                    1. Probably not...made a goose and although it was delicious it wasn't worth the time/effort or money :-(

                                      You can see photos here

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: arizonagirl

                                        Hmm, I'm expecting goose tomorrow, but I think it's between a lot more people.like about 8-9 people, and we have a 5kg/11lb goose. Blimey.

                                        1. re: Soop

                                          Sincerely hope you have lots of side dishes. Ducks and geese are delicious, but 11 pounds of goose does not give a whole lot of meat. Plenty of fat, though - save it!!

                                          But you know what, I think that was about the size of Papa's goose last year, and while there wasn't much left over the eight of us ate okay. It is terribly rich.

                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                            it was ok.. bit of a disaster as the host couldn't work both his ovens.

                                            Bloody vegetarians somehow disposed of the carcass and the goose fat!

                                        2. re: arizonagirl

                                          I also find this interesting...my sister prepares a goose each Christmas and has sent me her step by step instructions...she said that goose cost her $70 !!!!! wth??? Not sure I am going to try it...her family is used to it...we've never even eaten goose, so what if we don't like it? Seems like a LOT of $$$ for not very much mileage, quite an extravagance in these hard times and that $70 doesn't even include the kirsch-wasser (cherry brandy) she uses to prepare/cook it!!!

                                        3. Yes to both Christmas meals. Christmas Eve at my SIL with Hubby's family. Had hot pot which is traditional and always good. Christmas Day Dinner took in laws out for chinese at a favorite restaurant and pigged out. My kind of Christmas - didn't even miss the traditional turkey this year.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: juliewong

                                            Best Christmas in adult memory -- no rushing, all done in time, 17-month-old niece in top form, great food and drink at SIL's house including turkey and ham, stovetop whole carrots in orange and rosemary, stir fried brussels sprouts with lemon and garlic, baked mashed potatoes, two kinds of stuffing, gravy and cranberry salsa (mmm, frozen spicy goodness). The leftover sprouts made a great bubble and squeak the next day too.

                                            Oh and of course our now traditional Christmas Eve sushi really hit the spot too :-).

                                            Happy New Year, everyone.

                                            1. re: grayelf

                                              "stovetop whole carrots in orange and rosemary"

                                              This caught my eye...how unusual...were the carrots awesome? Was it Nancy Ancrum's recipe below? I have so much rosemary in my garden and am always looking for good ways to use it up (plus offering it to almost everyone I know or work with...LOL..."do you need any rosemary? I have a ton in my garden if you want any.")...just bought a little over a pound of organic carrots, too:

                                              1. re: Val

                                                Sorry Val, -- heaven only knows how I mixed up rosemary and ginger but I'm going to guess too much gin and sour cherry juice last night :-). They were awesome carrots but they were rosemary free. SIL got the recipe from The Barefoot Contessa at Home FWIW...

                                                1. re: grayelf

                                                  LOL, greyelf...no worries...I've found a new recipe anyway, right?

                                          2. My aunt knows that I tend to slow down when cooking Christmas dinner, so she asked me to prepare a couple hors d'oeuvres to tide over her guests while we finished the buffet style meal. All the hors d'oeuvres were prepared for the cocktail hour while we waited for guests... followed by the roasts, which cooled while we waited for guests... followed by a half pot of coffee while we waited for guests... in fact the entire meal from hors d'oeuvres to dessert was ready and waiting hours before the first guest even arrived. It turned out they had all went to another dinner prior to my aunt's and showed up nearly 2 hours late for cold chicken and overcooked shrimp. Not that anyone complained. In fact recipes were requested; seconds and thirds were happily consumed and leftovers were wrapped up for midnight snacks in the days to follow.