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Dec 24, 2012 12:55 PM

What's for Dinner #179- The Twelve Days of Christmas Edition [old]

I know I'm jumping the gun a little here, but it didn't seem right for everyone to about their dinner under the banner of the Apocalypse! Please post about your fabulous Christmas Dinners and the meals that follow!

Tonight, for Christmas Eve, we will have our own traditional Christmas Eve dinner, which consists of lobster stew, an endive, Roquefort and walnut salad with a dijon vinaigrette served with a beautiful bottle of Champagne.

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  1. I agree re: the Apocalypse banner - I was hoping people would post enough that someone could start a new thread. Bull by the horns, you took it. :-D

    My Christmas Eve meal will be leftovers. I'll be busy making lemon mousse tarts for dessert tomorrow.

    Dinner tomorrow will be relatively simple: beef tenderloin with cognac sauce, baked potatoes with butter, sour cream and chives, the roasted Brussels sprouts I made last night with shallots and duck fat, and steamed green beans. Maybe carrots, if my sister and BIL come to dinner as they drive home from their cabin in Maine, as she no longer eats meat (or does so very, very rarely, and rarely is it beef). Still not sure what I'll be doing with the green beans. Maybe just sauteed with some garlic.

    The cognac sauce is the one from Epicurious. I've made this for Christmas dinner about 8 of past 12 years, and Mom loves it. So no changes, except those that are noted in the reviews about the length of time it takes to reduce the sauce. :-)


    A fun, healthy, tasty and merry Christmas to all. To those of you who are missing your loved ones, they are with you in spirit.

    13 Replies
    1. re: LindaWhit

      Linda that dinner sounds wonderful. one of these years i'm going to make a beef tenderloin, and i'll come after that sauce. have a great time with your family!

      1. re: LindaWhit

        Sounds delicious, Linda. Will have to try out the cognac sauce. Thanks for posting the link.

        1. re: prima

          prima, for you and mc, my mother *so* looks forward to the beef tenderloin with this sauce. Just read the reviews and note that it takes a LONG time to reduce - way way WAY longer than the 20 minutes the recipe claims. (I'm actually surprised that Bon Appetit would have even suggested 20 minutes of "simmering" for a reduction of 2 cups of liquid!)

          I start the reduction about a half hour before the beef even goes into the oven. When it's reduced to where I need it, I put it on the back of the stove over the burner that vents a bit of heat from the oven (for my oven, the back left burner) so it stays just slightly warm before I need to add the heavy cream.

          1. re: LindaWhit

            Thanks, Linda. I find I need to allow more time for quite a few Bon Appetit (and other)recipes lately. I made the Ultimate Lemon Butter Bar recipe last week, which suggested the lemon curd would thicken over medium low heat in 6 minutes, and I was stirring the curd over medium low heat for much closer to 20 minutes. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

        2. re: LindaWhit

          Great meal, LW, cognac sauce sounds divine!

          1. re: LindaWhit

            That sauce does sound wonderful- maybe next year! Bad luck about your car- something about the holidays makes vehicles and kitchen appliances give up the ghost. And not the holy one.

            1. re: LindaWhit

              Thanks for posting the link to the Cognac sauce, I will definately try it soon.

              Your dinner sounds wonderful. :)


              1. re: mcel215

                Mom and I enjoyed our meal *very* much! Unfortunately, my sister and BIL didn't come. I'm a bit disappointed in her for choosing to work on the cabin today (and not calling me to tell me so) vs. spending time with her sister and mother. :-|

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  That sounds pretty rude, LindaWhit. I think you're within your rights to be a bit peeved. Sometimes people who are not cooks do not realize the enormous effort that goes into preparing a meal.

                  1. re: roxlet

                    Long story, rox. But she knows I wasn't happy with what happened.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      so sorry about your disappointment Linda. i'm glad you got to enjoy your mom and your wonderful meal.

                  2. re: LindaWhit

                    Now you have all those yummy leftovers from the wonderful meal they missed. I over bought so WFD is a repeat of yesterday but right now there is pate and cheeses and smoked salmon to enjoy while watching Top Chef Catch-up day on Bravo. Have a great Boxing Day!

              2. i posted on the last thread about our Christmas Eve and Christmas dinners, but i forgot to add that i also bought a lobster tail (frozen, of course) for our paella tomorrow night. can't wait!

                roxlet, your dinner hits the perfect notes - festive, seasonal, and divinely decadent. have a great night.

                (note to LW and steveh - posted a burger help question on the previous thread. if you get a chance, take a look? thanks! or anyone else who knows these things.)

                6 Replies
                1. re: mariacarmen

                  well, contrary to steve, i would have the burgers at room temp when i cook them, and i actually like to salt them a bit in advance... perhaps 1/2 hour before you plan on throwing them in the pan.

                  bon appetit.

                  the shoulder is fall-apart tender at this point.... can't wait for dinner :-)

                  1. re: linguafood

                    I agree that the burgers should be taken out about a half hour to an hour before they're cooked. But I do a quick seasoning just before they go into the pan.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Ground beef is an incubator for bacteria which degrades taste. Keep it cold, keep it fresh, grill or pan fry soon after the meat is ground.
                      Modest note: the cast iron skillet/whatever does not need to be screaming hot. You'll figure out time/temps as you sort things out.
                      I loves me the burgers.

                    2. re: linguafood

                      My husband grinds up chuck, then makes and freezes a large quantity of burgers, which he then vacuum seals. I find that when I thaw the burgers, a burger that is slightly still frozen in the center gives me a perfect, juicy medium-rare burger when I sear it in a blazingly hot cast iron skillet.

                      1. re: roxlet

                        these aren't frozen, but that's kind of what i was thinking steveh was going for. does your blazing hot CI have any oil on it,or do you just let the burgers do their thing?

                        thanks to all for the input....

                        1. re: mariacarmen

                          When I am ready to cook the burger on the heated pan, I sprinkle the surface with kosher salt, and then put the burger on top of that. No need to use oil since these are not particularly lean burgers.

                  2. The lobster stew and endive salad sound wonderful, roxlet.

                    We're having Moqueca with halibut and scallops (something like this, http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes..., but I'm adding fresh ginger, which is found in other moqueca recipes) avocado/pineapple/mandarin/cilantro salad, coconut macadamia rice ( subbing macadamias for the cashews since I don't have any cashews http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/co... ) and bacon/mango/spinach baked oysters for Christmas Eve.
                    A friend will be preparing Christmas dinner tomorrow, and I'll be roasting a goose on Boxing Day.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: prima

                      Ooh! Moqueca! I made that ages ago and have wanted to reprise it ever since. Thanks for the reminder, and the link!

                    2. It's just hubby & I, but we still like to do Xmas up right.

                      First off, since I spend most of Xmas Day cooking (which I do enjoy), our traditional Xmas Eve meal has always been takeout pizza. And in fact, we already picked up a large plain cheese one that we'll add our own toppings to a little later on & then re-toast up in the oven.

                      For tomorrow, the menu is:

                      Purchased Spanakopita triangles for a pre-dinner snack
                      Julia Child's "Steam-Roasted Goose with Port Wine Gravy"
                      Czech Bread Dumplings with Sauerkraut
                      Boursin Potato Gratin
                      Sauteed Brussel Sprouts with Garlic & Breadcrumbs
                      The infamous Green Bean Casserole that I didn't get to make for Thanksgiving thanks to spoiled frozen green beans. BUT - this is my own personal tweaked & highly-improved version. (Figured I would validate that before anyone automatically went "yuck" - lol!)
                      Good old Pillsbury Crescent rolls (hubby's favorite)
                      For dessert, a simple Mrs. Smith's "Razzleberry (think "mixed berry") Pie" with whipped cream

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Bacardi1

                        That's an AMAZING meal for two people, Bacardi! Enjoy!

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            Trust me - we don't eat a whole lot of everything in just one sitting - lol!!

                            We'll have a "Leftover Xmas dinner" one night this week, then any remaining goose will go into my New Year's Day "French Cassoulet". Any leftover sides we'll enjoy with other mains during the week. We tend to get a lot of mileage out of our Xmas dinners - lol!

                            Oh - & we made tonight's Xmas Eve takeout pizza half turkey pepperoni (for hubby) & half anchovies & onions (for me).

                          2. re: Bacardi1

                            mmmmm goose! i made goose once a million years ago, and i don't remember anything about it, so it probably wasn't very good. enjoy your xmas!

                          3. OK. Here's the BIG ONE at Casa Harters.

                            We kick off with olives, other nibbles
                            and drinkies.
                            To start (proper) - prawn cocktail (shredded lettuce, chopped avocado, prawns - including a couple of king prawns per person to decorate - topped with a Marie Rose sauce)

                            To follow - turkey, roast spuds, chestnut stuffing, sage & onion stuffing, cranberry confit, bread sauce, gravy, sausages, bacon rolls, sprouts with crushed hazelnuts, roast parsnips.

                            Cheese - Bourne's Cheshire (mature, made in March), Leagrams Lancashire (very mature - 2 year old), Blacksticks Blue. With homemade oatcakes, celery, mixed nuts and raisins.

                            Dessert - Christmas pudding (or homemade mince pie) - choice of brandy sauce or custard.

                            To conclude - indigestion remedy of choice

                            30 Replies
                              1. re: Harters

                                i'm full just reading that! sounds like a winner of a dinner.

                                1. re: Harters

                                  And what, pray, is Marie Rose sauce? By the way, it sounds amazing. How many will you be serving this feast to?

                                  1. re: roxlet

                                    At it's most basic (and perhaps best), Marie Rose is mayo and tomato ketchup. it is THE classic British sauce for a prawn salad. I guess its nearest American taste .equivalent is 1000 Island Dressing.

                                    The prawn cocktail was a 1980s dinner party standby. And a certainty for the menu of lower end steakhouse type restaurants. You'll still see i on menus and, truth be told, it's one of Jan's favourite starters.

                                    The version I'm doing comes from Delia Smith's Winter Collection, 1995, and includes a little Worcestershire sauce, a few drops of Tabasco, a little lime juice, as well as the ketchup.

                                    By the by, there's a story to the name. When the Tudor warship , Mary Rose was discovered in the late 1970s/early 80s, the dive team were fed by a catering company. It's said that the chef made up the sauce when he had run out of his original ingredients. It was originally called Mary Rose sauce but it quickly got Frenchified as much of our cooking still did then.

                                    1. re: Harters

                                      I like the additions of Tabasco and lime juice. A bit of horseradish in there might also give it some kick.

                                        1. re: Harters

                                          Thousand Island is quite a bit on the sweet side compared to Marie Rose. If you ever have occasion to travel to the American West, fry sauce (i.e. chip sauce) is more a tangy condiment that should mirror your Delia recipe.

                                          1. re: JungMann

                                            It depends how you make it. I think Harters comparison is correct -- at least when it comes to the 1000 Island I make. Yours may be different.

                                            1. re: roxlet

                                              Make it? You are being much too kind to my cooking skills if you assume I'm making my Thousand Island and not sloughing it out of a bottle!

                                              1. re: JungMann

                                                Recalling some of the meals you write about here, your cooking skills are nowhere near modest. I would be shocked if you were unable to mix up 1000 Island Dressing. No wonder you think it's on the sweet side if you're using that nasty day-glo orange gloop that comes out of a bottle. Check the ingredients -- I'm sure the bottled stuff is laden with HFCS! In fact, I'm sure that sugar might be one of the most prevalent ingredients.

                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                  I think I've only tasted the commercial varieties of Thousand Island on Reubens and the odd burger. I certainly don't like it ruining my salads! Is the only sweetener in the homemade variety supposed to be ketchup and sweet relish?

                                                  1. re: JungMann

                                                    I've seen recipes that use sugar, but I never add any additional sweetener. And I vary my acid from white vinegar to lime to lemon to whatever vinegar I think will go well. It's much, much better. Really, it's just a version of remoulade.

                                      1. re: Harters

                                        Yesterday's ratshit continues into today. Just when you thought things couldnt get fecking worse, the phone rings. 'Tis the FiL, saying the MiL is unwell. Can't get out of bed...big pain in her hip. "Have you called an ambulance". "No, she doesnt want one till you've come and seen her". So, herself has gone round. Ambulance has now been called but it is not a priority emergency, so it may be an hour.

                                        It looks like most of the family are going to be spending Christmas Day at the Accident & Emergency Unit of the local hospital. Ho, ho, fecking ho.

                                        1. re: Harters

                                          Sorry Harters. Best of luck. I think it's just one of those years.

                                          My car just up and died. Not planning on replacing the engine at 10-15 K, thank you very much. Will make the best of it here. Plying ourselves with food and drink. More on that later.

                                          1. re: Harters

                                            That's a terrible thing to worry about on Christmas. Is she actually unwell, or is she determined that no one have a Merry Christmas if she can't? I hope you can rescue Marie Rose and have a good dinner anyway.

                                            1. re: Harters

                                              Oh no. I hadn't read the entire thread before responding above. :-(

                                              1. re: Harters

                                                Update from the hospital. MiL has dislocated her hip. Doctors are now considering if they can fix it quickly in A&E or if she'll have to be admitted to have it done.

                                                So far, Xmas food has been a ham sandwich, while I acted as the family taxi driver (unlike others who managed to get stuck into the Bucks Fizz early on, so cannot drive)

                                                1. re: Harters

                                                  Oh dear oh dear, so sorry to hear it, perhaps it will become a Boxong Day feast instead? Or a late evening one? No fun for you to be the family taxi driver but I am sure everyone is immensely grateful that you can be! Think of the stories you'll have out of this last two days...

                                                  1. re: GretchenS

                                                    Thanks, Gretchen. MiL has had her hip fixed but the hospital is hanging on to her till tomorrow, for "observations".

                                                    And then there was eight.

                                                    And we shortly sitting down to dinner. Gifts to follow immediately after, with the coffee and chocolates.

                                                    It's been a big 24 hours!

                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                      At least you all will have worked up a good appetite...

                                                      Hope you now have time to relax and have fun!

                                                      Merry fecking Xmas :-)

                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                        It sounds like an annoyingly stressful day. I'm glad the MIL is ok. Perhaps now you can finally sit down you will all enjoy the meal sans MIL's normal grinch-like attitude?

                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                          oh good, didn't read down far enough.

                                                          ah well, you didn't need to slip her anything after all....


                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                            Ahh, like mc, didn't read further before my earlier response. Glad you were able to enjoy your Christmas feast on the proper night.

                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                              My What a lot of 'to-do" drama on the Harter's Christmas feast!

                                                              Glad that the hip is fixed, MIL is in hospital to overnight and NOT mess with your late dinner, and hope you enjoyed all your grand spread in peace - late - but at last:)

                                                              Late to this party since I was traveling, but Merry Fecking Christmas indeed!

                                                          2. re: Harters

                                                            Oh, I'm sorry to hear all of this! Hopefully you and herself can have a *private* Christmas dinner very soon - maybe a Boxing Day feast? And I hope your MIL's dislocated hip is able to be fixed very soon.

                                                          3. re: Harters

                                                            oh nooooo! what a nightmare! hopefully it's just a case of the MIL crying wolf and nothing more serious.... only, that would really just tend to piss one off all the more, wouldn't it? but better that she's really ok. hopefully you can have your celebration tomorrow, just you and the missus.

                                                          4. re: Harters

                                                            Wonderful, Harters! A very happy Christmas to you and yours across the pond - you're in the midst of enjoying your repast now....maybe you're done and have put your MIL to the dishwashing task. ;-) Either way, I hope you had a lovely morning and have a calm afternoon.

                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                              Fantastic menu. I'll have to look up that Delia recipe, sounds v. good.