Anyone else alone for Christmas? And if so, what are you cooking?
I know there was a similar post on Thanksgiving, so I thought I'd start one for Christmas. It seems like I've been working so much that I should just sleep there, so today I closed at 1PM and am looking forward to not going back until Monday.
Last night I made a tomatillo sauce for the very first time and had that over chicken/tomatillo tamales from Costco. I know I'm in the "land of tamales", but when I was at Carnival Market yesterday and saw the big tubs of manteca (lard) I just can't handle that. The ones I had didn't have lard and were very good.
Tonight I'm making cioppino. I make the stock, then add seafood to only enough stock for one portion. The rest I freeze. My cioppino will have clams, shrimp, scallops, baby octopus, squid & lobster. I couldn't find any mussels. My appetizer will be spicy crab cakes with remoulade and a fennel/orange salad. Got a loaf of rosemary bread at Central Market and I'm already tearing into it.
Tomorrow I will go to mass early and then ride my horses and give presents to the barn managers and their daughter. I have cannoli shells that I will fill and have a few for breakfast and then take the rest to the barn.
I'm then going to make a pot of chicken chile verde from I recipe I found right here on Chowhound. I'm going to invite them over on Sunday to enjoy the chile since I tasted her chili last Saturday so I know they can stand the heat. :)
So, for any other loners, what are your plans?
NY Strip loin broiled w/ flor de sal, black pepper & olive oil.
Basmati rice boiled w/ sauteed chopped garlic, whole pistachios, cardamom pods & bay leaves.
Soup made w/ fistfuls of trimmed fresh Thai/Vietnamese sweet basil wilted in mushroom stock.
Local carrots cut into sticks & sauteed w/ Alziari olive oil & flor de sal.
Hendry 2007 Pinot Noir
Xmas Lunch at a Szechuan Restaurant:
Mock (vegetarian) Duck
Pickled Cabbage (crunchy shredded Napa pickled w/ salt & sugar)
Salt & Pepper Shrimp (shell on)
Fish cooked in Szechuan Hot Sauce ("Water Cooked Fish", Shuizhuyu 水煮魚)
Baby Bok Choy stir fried w/ garlic
Plain boiled rice
Surely Fort Worth has its charms for you otherwise? I didn't realize you were in that area. Glad you can get nice stuff to cook with but I didn't realize it was harder to do so in FW...
Indy has good availability of good ingredients & ethnic stuff, yes, so that is nice since I like to cook. Cooking and eating for one does present problems of scale, as others have noted above. I tend to have lots of leftovers for another meal (or it gets tossed after sitting around...) My cat 'helps' with the occasional bits of chicken, etc., meaning not much help at all. Heh.
In the dining scene here, however, something gets lost between that availability of good ingredients and its translation into great food in restaurants here in a general or broad sense. Oh, there are certainly many nice to good places to eat out at and the scene has improved greatly in the last 5-10 years. There are various threads on such excellent places in Indy on Chowhound itself - but, still... . P.s. veggies in the supermarkets 10-12 years ago were truly horrible, farmer's markets were just starting to take off... now, much better.
Cooking for one is always a challenge. Foods seem to be packaged for the Steeler's team dining hall. So much can go to waste before you can eat it up, and let's face it, freezers only have SO much capacity. And I only have so much capacity for leftovers reincarnated!
The challenge I'm finding for holiday cooking for one is trying to find a good melding of beloved holiday favorites and those which are designed to feed a crowd of one. Breaking with tradition seems to be the road I go down more often. It can be fun to find and try something new and delicious in order to start some new tradition. Family is far away and I'm staying home more often than not, and so I cook for my pleasure only.
For Christmas this year, I found a spiral cut uncured quarter ham at Trader Joe's, not too salty or sweet. I made my Christmas Eve dinner the more elaborate meal, with twice bakes, roasted veggie assortment (the leftovers of which will find their way into dishes for several days, even casual meals like sandwiches) and some sauteed chanterelles that showed up at Friday's local farmstand. (my first ever). Christmas cookies later for dessert.
Christmas day was reserved for a nice breakfast omelet and the traditional family glass of champagne; wallerin around in jammies, watching old movies, making homemade marshmallows and popcorn, taking a walk, and ham sandwiches and a nice glass of wine for dinner. More cookies, and fudge the neighbor's kids brought over.
I may make some Hoppin John ( I love black-eyed peas yet never seem to cook them) for New Years. If the weather is dry, I'll try for the family tradition of a walk to the sand dunes with a picnic lunch.
Since cooking for one is newish to me, I'm sort of making it up as I go along, but cooking and eating nice meals are a pleasure for me so I'll keep it up as long as it appeals.
How did the chile verde come out? One of my favorite chicken dishes.
Barbara: I am impressed you cook so well for yourself alone. That is great!
I am making Thomas Keller's Quiche Lorraine tonight for tomorrow--a laborious recipe. Mass tomorrow AM with my elderly aunt and uncle, then hopefully a nice piece of quiche.
Take care of those who care for your horses. Cowgirl up.
I've never made quiche, so maybe that will be a 2011 resolution! When I say I cook alone, I mean REALLY alone. It isn't just the occasional day or two, but it is just me and my cat, every single day.
10AM Mass was wonderful yesterday, I went to the cathedral here in Fort Worth. It was so much better than last year when I went to my local parish and the screaming kids and disrespectul parents made me leave early.
Barbara: "I've never made quiche..."
I had made it before, but apparently never correctly. According to Keller, quiche never really caught on in the USA because most cooks persist in making it thin and serving it right away--he insists on a 2" thickness and waiting 1-3 days before serving. In any event, it turned out spectacularly. You should try it.
I belong to the Cathedral parish here in Seattle. I'm not a city person at heart, but Cathedral Masses here are high art at the level of good opera, with resident choir soloists, commissioned scores, and high-caliber organs. Definitetly not just going through the motions.
Hau'oli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year)
I started with organ lessons when I was 7, and now I think back at how many masses, weddings, etc. for which I was the organist. Not sure of the organ at the Ft. Worth cathedral, but it was nice and the resident organist seemed very compentent.
I made my living for most of my life as a musician.
Your cioppino sounds wonderful! I made my grandmother's meatballs and tomato sauce. No matter what I try to make using her "recipes" they are never as good as she made. Still, not bad!
How lovely that you will get to spend time tomorrow with your horses! Give them an extra treat for me!
Merry Christmas to you!
I am not on my own tonight but am bouncing/nursing a somewhat cranky baby in partial exile at the computer. Tonight we had steak. peas, pomme frites and cost optimized shiraz (merry christmas to trader joes). The 4 yr old and I made cocoa balls rolled in powdered sugar as xmas cookies and I've made sticky toffee pudding, if the newborn will allow me to go make the toffee sauce at some point this evening.
Tomorrow morning will be raspberry jam/cream cheese baked french toast. Dinner will be roast chicken with sausages, roast potatoes rosemary stuffing and English xmas pudding for after.