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What's for Dinner #262 Sing Nowel! Edition (through 24 December 2013)

As we get ever closer to Christmas, in my house it's a toss up between baking and holiday prep work, and dinner. Tonight's dinner was a quick one -- a marinara with pieces of mozzarella served with grilled chicken breast. I had been baking all day, and that was absolutely all I had the energy for.

How is the season affecting the meals you're making?

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  1. Christmas Eve/Day menus are still being negotiated between my wife and son. Both are excellent cooks.

    In broad strokes, the night of December 24 will be seafood, Christmas Day will be a roast. It's all the excruciating details that need to be hammered out.

    Merry Christmas, all!

    1. It's not really affecting my meals; I'm going away for the holidays and this year, I'm not decorating and I'm only buying 4 gifts. I've got two down. Normally, I'd be beating down the doors of retailers. I will be baking & cooking meals next week when I get to my destination, but right now, I'm just trying to get my house straight before I leave.

      Tonight I made beef & venison chili: dried chiles, tomato sauce & paste, pinto beans, garlic, bell peppers, onion & other spices all simmered together. A side of fluffy biscuits. That's it.

       
      7 Replies
        1. re: steve h.

          Thanks...that's an honor coming from you....

        2. re: Cherylptw

          I could go for a bowl of that chili. It is chilly here today for a change of pace. That would warm you from the inside out

            1. re: Cherylptw

              Cheryl......if you ever plan on visiting N. California you are one Chowhound I would love to get together and cook and dine with! You got skills:) Do you cook professionally may I ask?

              1. re: MamasCooking

                Thank you; I'd love to get together and chat, cook, and eat. I'm just a home cook that have learned a lot over the years from professional friends. I also use every opportunity I can to cook for other people and I'm a competition cook; recipe/cooking contesting is my hobby so I'm always writing and testing recipes. Plus I have southern genes running through my veins so cooking just comes naturally for me.

            2. Tonight was leftover meatballs/sauce and a pre-assembled pan of baked ziti topped with fresh mozz that I made on Sunday.

              Tomorrow's dinner will be defrosted beef bourguignon over rice for us and a grilled chicken breast with leftover ziti for our nephew. I think red meat with lots of red wine and mushrooms would be pushing it with him at this point.

              1. I posted another thread on home cooking that I think I must have been drunk when I offered to host my husband's brothers and kids on Friday night and then a brunch for family/friends on Sunday! Feeling a tad overwhelmed with food prep, working all the time and getting everything ready for christmas. GAH. But spending the time with family and friends will be worth it.

                Dinner tonight was very simple, tortellini tossed with garlic/oil and leftover broccoli rabe.

                Tomorrow will be clean out the fridge night to make room for weekend food prep.

                Once I get thru the weekend I'll worry about christmas eve/day. We are pretty traditional so don't see either causing too much stress, thank goodness.

                1. It'll just be me and Mom for Christmas dinner, and I don't do all of the baking that I used to. My only decorating is a string of icicle lights in the sliding door window in my living room. I didn't even unpack the Charlie Brown Christmas tree I bought, nor did I pull out the CVS Island of Misfit Toys. I think I'm Bah-Humbugging this year.

                  24 Replies
                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    It seems you aren't the only one Bah-Humbugging. Several clients aren't putting up the decorations, my tree hasn't gone up and i still have yet to finish shopping or baking. I feel your pain.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      That's just wrong.

                      I bought our tree today, a big-bottom example, and a gaggle of poinsettias. The trees have shrunk in recent years keeping pace with my dotage.

                      If not for mom or yourself, you owe it to the cats. Kitty mischief is cool

                      Edited to add: a vintage port is cool, too.

                      Merry Christmas!

                      1. re: steve h.

                        Kitty mischief is why the tree hasn't gone up yet. The maniacs can't handle the responsibility. It is a ball to watch but the aftermath can be a bitch.

                        1. re: suzigirl

                          That's the price of poker.

                          Mr. Hobbes was pretty smart, he knew to the week when I would buy the tree, set the stand and decorate. I guess he was a sucker for pageantry and tradition. Cats are clever.

                          1. re: steve h.

                            It is amazing how smart cats can be. They remember things we don't expect, like Christmas. They are very clever, I agree. Also mischevious little beings. You are right. That's the price of poker. Wouldn't trade it for all the money.

                          2. re: suzigirl

                            I couldn't resist a snapshot instead of discipline. This is the first day I feel like I can sort of breathe. I kicked myself out of the house this afternoon to go for a walk which was quite refreshing, but the highlight has been watching Take test the boundaries. It finally brought a longed for smile to my face. I agree with steve h.

                             
                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                              Beautiful tree, fldhkybnva, and he's gotten so handsome!

                              1. re: weezieduzzit

                                Thanks, he seems to get bigger every day though it hasn't stopped him from plopping front and center between me and the laptop.

                              2. re: fldhkybnva

                                I can't get the picture. I will look at the top of the thread. I am sure the pic will melt my heart. I just looked and still can't get it. Damn tablet. I am glad that you feel like you can breathe again. I have missed your posts and was a bit concerned. That was a very tough blow and one I have felt before.
                                I am glad that you got out for a walk and enjoyed it. I am glad you are here. And i am glad you are enjoying Take. I hope I can get the pics soon.

                                1. re: suzigirl

                                  I got your pictures. What a huge boy. And the tree ain't shabby. :-) He is getting so big and handsome. Happy holidays sweetie.

                                2. re: fldhkybnva

                                  Glad you're breathing again, fieldhawk. And gorgeous pic of Take with the tree - I hope it stays upright! LOL

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    Thanks, suzigirl and LindaWhit! It's only been a few months but it feels like he's grown so much. He now frightens me leaping from the floor to the 4th level of the climbing tree house. The darn thing nearly topples over, probably should bolt it down sooner than later.
                                    My mood is hit or miss but I have accepted that that is to be expected. I'll be headed home Friday for the funeral and at this point just trying not to even think about that.

                                  2. re: fldhkybnva

                                    What a cutie:) Sucker for kitties here. ( three live with me).

                                  3. re: suzigirl

                                    "The maniacs can't handle the responsibility."

                                    From one Bengal owner to another, that totally made me laugh, Suzi. I think the wildness in them is just too much around Christmas trees- they really can't help themselves. No tree here, either, possibly ever again but that's ok with me. Christmas is a short time, they make me happy and entertain me year 'round.

                                    1. re: weezieduzzit

                                      I hear you loud and clear weezieduzzit. They are precious and I love my mix mutts and miss my F2's that I gave up in my divorce. Bengals are some kind of breed. Nothing is off limits, including a door jam. It is not unheard of in my house to have a cat on the top of an open door.

                                      1. re: suzigirl

                                        I grew up with a ragdoll cat which, as the breed name suggests, is quite good at relaxing. Late last night I happened to catch a show called "Too Cute" that profiles kittens as they grow up. Ignoring the fact that I was watching a show probably targeted to elementary school age kids, it was very enlightening. They profiled a litter of Bengals and boy do they get around.

                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                          "Too Cute" may be made for gradeschoolers but I watch it when i run into it. It is, as they say too cute. I have seen the one with the Bengals. They do have alot of energy. I had two before that could get on top of my very high cabinets in my kitchen and loved to hang out on the door jams like I mentioned. They liked it very high.

                                  4. re: steve h.

                                    No poinsettias allowed - poisonous to the kittehs.

                                    And kitty mischief is cool only when you don't have to clean it up when you get home! LOL

                                  5. re: LindaWhit

                                    I changed my avatar to my favorite Christmas decoration hoping to cheer you up. The photo is from ebay as I am without photo posting capability these days. This little California Raisin is waving to me from his perch on the window sash as he sings "I heard it through the Grapevine"

                                    This is a post about food- grapes and raisins!

                                    1. re: Berheenia

                                      Aww, thanks! I'm OK - just stupeyheaded family stuff. Mom and I will enjoy dinner, no matter what. It'll be interesting - I'll be going up to her place to cook there vs. picking her up and bringing her back to my place (I have to work on the 26th and 27th). She has one of those teeny-tiny apartment stove/ovens, so the menu will be kept to a minimum, as I won't have the space to go all out.

                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                      See, we just left our CB xmas tree up on our fake fireplace mantel all year. No need to pack away and unpack.

                                      Convenience AND a festive spirit all year '-D

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        A lot of people/places are toning it down this year. My work eliminated the beloved white elephant gift exchange and the secret santa. A lot of my friends are taking it easy on the decorating. Watch out for that Charlie Brown Christmas tree when you do unpack it Linda. Someone whose blog I followed knocked hers over and the glass ball shattered all over. Then I saw one set up at Walgreens and darn if I didn't managed to somehow bump it and make it fall over and that glass ornament shattered too. I'd replace the glass one with an unbreakable ball.

                                        1. re: givemecarbs

                                          Interesting - I could *swear* that the one I unpacked at work had a plastic ball! I'll have to check it when I return on the 26th.

                                          And why would your workplace eliminate the white elephant gift exchange/secret Santa? That is totally voluntary and at no cost to the company! Booo! :-(

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            The new secretary had everyone do a survey Linda. Surveys can be evil. The good news is that John gets to keep his large white china anteater that he got as a white elephant last year.
                                            Maybe they got smart and started making the tree with a plastic ball after many mishaps.
                                            One woman is a saint, she always sets up her chocolate fountain. Complete with many tidbits to dip. I've always been intrigued by those fountains but they seem like too much work. Lucky for me the snacking was fun and delicious. And no work for moi.

                                      2. I posted tonight's dinner in the other thread, and then realized that's probably the last of the cooking I'll be doing for awhile! Might pull something together on Friday or Saturday but no idea yet. Tomorrow night is the hockeys. Sunday we head up to Wyoming for a week for the holiday. I'm looking forward to eating all the trashy food that SO's family brings out at the holidays. Yes, even aerosol cheese.

                                        I am going to offer to make dinner one of the nights to give his mom a break, but haven't decided on that yet. Probably some kind of baked chicken or lasagna rolls or turkey meatloaf. We'll see if she lets me, I think she really enjoys her kids coming home and likes to make lots of food for everyone.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                          Enjoy the holidays at SO's mom's house. I would offer to cook but not be upset if she declines. She is cooking for her kids which she doesn't get to do alot of anymore. I would be thrilled if bf's mom let me cook. I don't see that in my near future. I hope that she can loosen the reins and let you cook. Happy holidays either way.

                                          1. re: suzigirl

                                            Yeah if she declines I'll just enjoy having someone cook for me for once! Happy Holidays to you too :)

                                            1. re: suzigirl

                                              I love aerosol cheese on a triscuit. Especially when a five year old is making the hors D'oeuvres for the grownups.

                                          2. Tonight was italian drunken noodles courtesy of a pretty picture I saw on pinterest. (As are pretty much alllll my dinners.)

                                            1. Snow in S.W. Ontario kept me inside on the the computer all day. I set aside 10 minutes to make a one pot comfort meal.

                                              A slab of beef ribs, slathered in a tomato/habenero sauce, in a tajine with Kennebecs and a chunk of cabbage, covered and roasted 3 hours @ 225 F.

                                               
                                              1 Reply
                                              1. Festive arrangements pretty much all planned so far. We're going to the sister in law's for Xmas lunch, so the shopping and cooking is much reduced. Non-perishables are already bought and we'll buy fruit and veg on Monday to, hopefully, beat the nightmare of Xmas Eve food shopping.

                                                Tonight's dinner - pork and chorizo burgers from Nigel Slater's latest book "Eat". Nothing fancy - 350g cooking chorizo, 250g minced pork mixed together and split into 4 burgers. He suggests ciabatta rolls or panini for the bread and some salad leaves. Simples.

                                                I only opened this book yesterday and have only got to page 30. Already I see that the recipes are going to feature heavily at Casa Harters. I love the way that he gives a main idea, as the chorizo burgers but on the opposite page gives some variations on the theme. So, his variations here would be to substitute morcilla for the chorizo and a second "recipe" using the meat form pork breakfast sausages and adding juniper berries, fennel seeds and oregano and/pr thyme. Man's a genius!

                                                8 Replies
                                                1. re: Harters

                                                  Sounds like a fun cookbook. Why don't you nominate it for COTM? I see it's available on both sides of the pond.

                                                  1. re: Berheenia

                                                    It's been on a few top-10 coobook lists of 2013 as well. Sounds great!

                                                  2. re: Harters

                                                    Those burgers sound fabulous! Would you mind posting that recipe?

                                                    1. re: Cherylptw

                                                      Cheryl - the "recipe", such as it is, is as I posted upthread.

                                                      350g cooking chorizo, 250g minced pork. Mix. No other seasoning. Form into burgers. Cook (we did them under the grill). Stick between bread. Eat.

                                                      They were lovely, by the way. Nice smokiness. I might add a little hot pimenton next time to give it a bit oif a kick. But it was fine just as.

                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                        Thanks Harters; Imma try those sometime within the next two weeks while on vacation and I can get some nice chorizo.

                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                          Is "cooking chorizo" Mexican chorizo? AKA the soft stuff? I bet those would be good with ground chicken, too.

                                                          1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                            Yep. Soft - but Spanish where I am, not Mexican. Needs to be cooked, unlike the hard, salami type chorizo.

                                                            And, oh yes, I'm going to have to try them with chicken. Or, better, rabbit - I like bunny burgers but they are often a bit too mild flavoured on their own.

                                                    2. Tried to get my family to open gifts on Christmas Eve so I could relax this year but no. I have to get up super early on Christmas, open gifts and rush out the door.

                                                      Last night made Smitten Kitchen's mushroom bourginon and put it on pizza with four cheeses, mozzarella, Parmesan, mascarpone, and ricotta. I have finally mastered the pizza baking in my oven to taste almost like new Haven style.

                                                      1. We'll be heading to the Midwest but not until Christmas Day, so there's still some cooking in our future. If I have time to get our home in some kind of order before we leave, I'd like to have some friends, who are staying local, over for dinner. Maybe Sunday. It's bound to be a hectic week, though, so let's see.

                                                        Tonight we'll probably have something easy---maybe ravioli and marinara and salad. And I hope to finally tackle those dishes.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                          Ravioli: check
                                                          Salad: check (with my new easy apricot balsamic dressing)
                                                          Dishes: er...not checked.

                                                          1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                            apricot balsamic? Share please. That sounds as a dressing or a nice glaze for chicken or pork. Thanks.

                                                            1. re: suzigirl

                                                              Sounds iffy, but it's really pretty good for how little effort is involved:

                                                              ~2 Tbsp. ea. Gulden's brown mustard (or your favorite) and Bonne Mamman apricot preserves, a pinch of dried thyme crumbled, small splash of soy sauce, couple glugs of Worcestershire, pinch of Aleppo pepper and toasted (or regular) onion powder, lots of freshly ground black pepper and sea salt. Whisk together with maybe 1/4 c. good balsamic vinegar (mine's Pompeian, have also used Colavita) and drizzle in toasted walnut oil to make an emulsion. Taste for seasonings and serve over mixed greens with some nice bitter varieties (like radicchio) and crubled walnuts. Goat cheese, sliced pears, and scallions would be stellar here.

                                                              ETA: I used a little green olive oil this time as well for more flavor.

                                                        2. We're heading to Michigan tonight, so last night was a final clean-out of the fridge - a serendipitously tasty mix of Brussels sprouts and fennel, roasted together with Italian sausage. Really great combo that I hadn't thought of before but will definitely repeat!

                                                          Today I'm off work so I'm heading up to Arthur Ave. to stock a gift basket for my parents - Casa della Mozzarella, Calabria Pork Store, Teitel Bros, here I come! There may also be a stop or two for a burek or a slice for lunch!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: biondanonima

                                                            Happy Holidays Biondanonima! Have a great festive trip!

                                                          2. we don't really celebrate xmas anymore. it's been eons since we exchanged gifts, as we long ago came to the conclusion that, for our family, we all had more than enough stuff we ever wanted or needed. I've even gotten all my friends on this non-gift-giving train with each other. it's been a huge relief not to have to shop in the madness.

                                                            since my mom went, we've also pared down the holiday meals. it's just not the same. I still make an effort for the Oldster, but this xmas we are completely going non-trad, even for us. last night, we went out to our "fancy" xmas dinner - my sister, her partner, and the Oldster, to a fun and delish Mexican-ish-tapas place, with cocktails (not the Oldster), and had a great time. we did it early as my sister will be very busy with dogs next week (she's a hoarder-I mean, boarder). on the day of, we're going to order in a shit-load of the most awesome Sichuan food from a local restaurant that has said they will be open, including a whole spicy crab. Bonus points that the Oldster actually loves a lot of this food.

                                                            The BF celebrates nothing. except me! i'll bring him some leftovers and we'll go out for cocktails.

                                                            and it's all goooood!!

                                                            dinner out tonight with a friend - tomorrow remains to be seen. Oldster's doc. wants us all to come in for a consult tomorrow. Not sounding to be great news. But we shall persevere. And eat well!

                                                            Happy Holidays all!

                                                            40 Replies
                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                              Oh, I so wish our family was as grown-up as yours, mc.

                                                              There's altogether too much fuss about presents that no-one really needs or wants. And, even when it comes to the "Big Day", there's so much stress because everything must be perfect. And it becomes a catastophe when it isnt.

                                                              I've said to Mrs H for years that I'd really love to spend Christmas in Tenerife and have a completely non traditional meal at a beachside restaurant. It doesnt go down well, truth be told as I am being miserable unsociable bugger, apparently. I've cooled on the idea of late - since I found out all the decent restaurants are closed on Xmas Day and the only ones open are the Brit owned ones serving the traditional turkey meal. BAH! HUMBUG!

                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                hahaha - we love miserable unsociable buggers here, Mr. H, so you'll have to talk Mrs. H into coming out for some good Chinese one year, just like our Jewish brethren do here in the States!

                                                                Merry Humbug to you!

                                                              2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                I'm completely jealous of your Christmas. Thinking good thoughts about the Dr. appt.

                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                  Amen to no presents! Not Christmas, not birthdays-nada. (we make exception for the 2 little ones--cuz toys are fun!).

                                                                  Fingers crossed for the Dr. appt.

                                                                  1. re: gourmanda

                                                                    We have to do presents for MIL, FIL and SIL ('cause there would be serious drama if we didn't.) Everyone else gets food gifts.

                                                                    1. re: gourmanda

                                                                      no birthdays here either! we just go out and eat!

                                                                      thanks for the good wishes.

                                                                    2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                      My family has backed way off as well. I'll get my nephew a gift, and will bring a bottle of wine to my sister (and maybe some chocolate), but otherwise, I just buy Mom a couple of small gifts - and she gets her "gift certificate" towards freezer meals. :-)

                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                        MC.....you know how to live well. I raise my glass to you:)

                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                            If only I lived in your world. I would love to not exchange gifts and all the madness involved in the holidays and just enjoy the day. I hope everything is fine with your father. I'll be thinking about you.

                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                              Same here! I think Husband and I last exchanged gifts (for a holiday/b-day/anniversary) when we were dating!

                                                                              Hope all is good with oldster mc!

                                                                              1. re: acssss

                                                                                thanks all.

                                                                                truth be told, Oldster has been treating for leukemia for 19 months now (and he's 85). so, unfortunately, we're really not expecting to be too pleasantly surprised. but everyone is dealing. thanks so much for your kind, kind wishes.

                                                                              2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                Yah, we don't celebrate xmas, either. My man's family has never been big on presents (thank goodness), and I convinced my mother and sister years ago that we should cut the crap out.

                                                                                Of course, my nephews will expect something, but thazz ok. They're kids, after all.

                                                                                The holidays are just another excuse (like we need one! HA!) for good food & drinks with good friends.... who apparently are all out of town over xmas. Wah.

                                                                                Looks like it'll be just my man and I, who, after last night's ridiculous stuffing to the gills, decided that we won't eat anything ever again once we return home from Philly :-D

                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                  We do presents for our (adorable!) niece and nephews, whether blood relation or honorary. And my husband seems to insist we exchange with each other (he is renown for agreeing we won't "do" gifts, then surprising me with something---cute---but unfair!), so this time it's official and we are. He even started a Pinterest page to help out his poor clueless, wife who is mystified by the nuances of electronics. But I still have two gifts up my sleeve he doesn't suspect.

                                                                                  My in-laws will insist on giving us something, and it'll make me feel bad, but our flights out a couple times a year are gift enough, I hope. And we usually buy or make dinner at least one night of our visit. They understand I cook to show love (at least, I hope they do). My FIL used to run his own restaurant, so he's the same that way.

                                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                    Wishing you merry, mc! Hope your oldsters news is better than you think and that you all enjoy the season celebrating just as you wish.

                                                                                    1. re: rabaja

                                                                                      Thanks rabaja! hope you, the hubs, and baby rabaja have a wonderful holiday too!!

                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                          Thx lingua. We're still sitting here waiting for Dr. Boris Badinov to show up, as usual, hours late. (Not his real name, of course. He has a pretty heavy russian accent and a terrible bedside manner.)

                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                            ok, as expected, not good news. chemo has stopped working, but we have a couple of maybe options. the Oldster is deciding if he'll take one or the other. he's leaning towards trying to fight it some more, as long its not too extraordinary - quality of life is key, as we all know. and, amazingly, he seems to think he can beat this. it's highly unlikely (read: impossible) but who am i to rain on his parade? As long as he wants to keep going, we'll be right there with him. Feeding him food he likes or doesn't like, whether he likes it or not!

                                                                                            Thanks all today for your good thoughts - very sweet and supportive.

                                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                              Thoughts remain with you, mc.

                                                                                              Keep doing what you're doing. The Oldster knows you're there for him.

                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                Take care of yourself MC in this trying time. I know you and your sister take such good care of your Oldster and you never complain about it. You always post such pleasant positive things. We should all be so lucky to have loving daughters like you and your sister.

                                                                                                1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                                  aw thanks Mama - very sweet of you. believe me, not always so pleasant in real life!! but thanks.

                                                                                                2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                  I am sorry that the news wasn't good. I hope that whatever he decides that he is comfortable and as well as can be. This is so difficult to hear, i can only imagine how hard it is for you. Be strong in this trying time. Best wishes to your family.

                                                                                                  1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                    thanks suzi, we are ok, been dealing with this (and my mom just before this) for a long time now. you're very kind.

                                                                                                  2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                    Here's to you mc. I'm just learning how hard that part is so my thoughts and prayers are with you and your Oldster too. Bless your heart.

                                                                                                    1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                      my thoughts will be with you, too, BZ! xoxo

                                                                                                      1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                        I was just discussing you and MC with my bf. You are both in my thoughts. You can only make the best of what you have and push forward. All my best to both of you.

                                                                                                      2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                        Deb and I admire you and your family.

                                                                                                        Merry Christmas!

                                                                                                        1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                          Sorry to hear the news but he's such a spirited man, your Dad. You must be proud of him and who knows? Miracles have happened.

                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                            So sorry MC. My thoughts continue to be with you and your family.

                                                                                                            <<As long as he wants to keep going, we'll be right there with him. Feeding him food he likes or doesn't like, whether he likes it or not!>>

                                                                                                            When my mom went thru treatment it was almost a game to find foods to tempt her into eating. We would watch cooking shows together and if I saw even a glimmer of interest I would rush home and make it. One of those has become of household/family favorite. Feeding the ones you love is a source of healing in itself.

                                                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                              Sending good thoughts the Oldster's way in his ongoing fight , mc. I will picture him with a Viking helmet and broadsword, ready to do battle with the demon, and ready to win!

                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                  I think it would be the PERFECT Christmas gift for the Oldster, mc! :-)

                                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                Virtual support and thoughts coming your way!

                                                                                                    2. I just did a little "quality control" testing of the meatball mix I made for tonight (ground lamb, feta, caramelized onions, lots of mint, seasonings,) by pan frying a few and it is delicious so I'm going to go ahead and bake off the batch and freeze some for an easy dinner later. I will use some of the chicken stock I made on Tuesday for a pot of Avgolemano (minus the orzo, plus some kale and chard sliced into ribbons and stirred through at the last minute to wilt.)

                                                                                                      Nice and easy since I'm emptying the kitchen of extra appliances, etc. to make room for tamale making and baking this weekend. I'll need every inch of counter space I can get.

                                                                                                      ETA: I opened some of the sweet cherry peppers I grew that I pickled a few months back- WOW! They're so good! I think I'll finally open some balsamic and red wine eggplant too(that I keep meaning to try...) you know... more quality control before I give some as gifts. Both will be nice with the meatballs tonight.

                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                          ditto on the meatballs, and that eggplant!

                                                                                                          1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                            Jealous of everything. That all sounds like a nice intro to a meal tonight.

                                                                                                            1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                              Ooh! Weezie - avgolemeno sounds great - I might have to make some this weekend; one of my favorite soups:). And the meatballs sounds excellent too!

                                                                                                            2. Well, we're so bummed. DH and I spend all weekend making and simmering spaghetti sauce for the kids and grand kids and now he just found out he has no time off [zero - none - nada] available due to his recent surgery. We won't be able to go for the holidays. I'm just beside myself. We don't usually decorate since we are never home. Bummer.

                                                                                                              So, yesterday I spent the day making chicken stock. Went through 7 bags of chicken bones I had in the freezer. Best stock I ever made. Today I am making chicken noodle soup. I need comfort food. 1/2 turkey sandwich to go with tonight.

                                                                                                              Also found out my dad is in the hospital, so all plans for Christmas dinner are now on hold anyway. Guess we'll just play it by ear. **sigh**

                                                                                                              20 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                Bummer. When it rains it pours. I hope the soup gives a smidge of comfort.

                                                                                                                1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                  That sucks, bz. This has been a week of bad news on the WFD thread.

                                                                                                                  1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                    Hope Dad is ok, sorry to hear about kids/grandkids... and I hope the chicken soup does the trick and warms the soul... although the spaghetti sauce may work just as well

                                                                                                                      1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                        oh no! i'm so sorry - that really sucks about not being able to go away to see the family... and sincerely hope Dad will be ok. bummer all around.

                                                                                                                        1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                          Bummer! Sometimes, the holidays are not what we planned or wished. I hope you two find some joy and festiveness among the dissapointments.... still time to make a nice Christmas at home together:)

                                                                                                                          1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                            Bummer. Be of good cheer? Maybe?

                                                                                                                            1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                              I understand how bummed you must be feeling. What a disappointment. Best wishes for your pops.

                                                                                                                              1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                That stinks! I hope you are able to salvage your holiday. An epiphany dinner perhaps?
                                                                                                                                Healing wishes to your father as well

                                                                                                                                1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                  Wow, that sucks (if I might be so forward...lol) Hope you make the best of your holiday wherever you are and hope your dad mends quickly....

                                                                                                                                  1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                    I want to thank you all for your sympathies and well wishes for my dad. He's still in the hospital and we now know he has cancer in his left lung, and is battling pneumonia. DH and I can't go see him since we are both battling colds (which would be a big no no for him). Explained the circumstances to my daughter and she understood (but is bummed and was even going to surprise us with prime rib for Christmas - which really upsets me as it is my favorite of all time).

                                                                                                                                    Tonight will be either leftover spaghetti or more chicken noodle soup (which was oh, so good).

                                                                                                                                    Guess we'll check the sales at the stupid market and see what they have for a nice xmas dinner. Hope they have a good sale on wine! **sigh**

                                                                                                                                    1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                      {{{{hugs}}}} bz. I hope your dad is out of there soon and home with family - and that it's a treatable form of that evil beeyotch.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                        Thanks, Linda. I talked to him a little while ago and he is refusing any treatment other than for the pneumonia. He says he is 85 and already in frail health and that he couldn't stand the trials of treatment. We'll have to see where this goes. I'm pretty much broken right now (plus my poor 16 year old dog is not doing well either - blind and deaf and having trouble standing). 2013 just hasn't been good to us this year.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                          Ohhh, hon, I can't imagine what you're dealing with right now. While I do understand your father's reasoning, it doesn't make it any better for those who love him, other than to somehow be OK with the fact that he is still making his own decisions. It's never easy, however.

                                                                                                                                          And {{more hugs}} for the doggums and you. Hang in there.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                            Thoughts with you, boyzoma.

                                                                                                                                            And respect to your father for knowing what he wants (or doesnt want).

                                                                                                                                            A difficult time for everyone.

                                                                                                                                            John

                                                                                                                                            1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                              Ohhh BZ, so sorry for the terrible news, and that your daddy is deciding to not treat. Totally get it, but its very hard to contemplate. Sad for you all, esp. this time of year, when you were so looking forward to your trip. Wishing you all the best this week, and all our good thoughts are with you always. Xoxo.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                                My heart goes out to you what with your father's illness and your dog...I unexpectly lost my dog three months ago and I am still devastated. She was three weeks from her 10th birthday. I hope your father gets back on the mend soon and please love on your dog just as long as you can.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                              That is such big news. I am so sorry for you. I hope that your father is out of the hospital soon. What a difficult toime for you. Between your father and an aging doggy on your hands you sure have a full plate. You are in my thoughts.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                                <<hugs>> I am sorry for all you are going thru. Wishing all the best.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                                  Ah, December is being tough on the daddies it seems. That is very tough. My thoughts are with you.

                                                                                                                                              2. I am deep, deep into the thrill that is a solid week of holiday parties. Last night, my company's holiday party. Put it this way - we closed down two bars, someone lost a pair of shoes, and another named himself after a cannoli and became a detective. Tonight, the man's holiday party at the Aquarium, where I will drink scotch and say hello to the penguins.

                                                                                                                                                At some point in time, I hope to eat solid food again. Maybe this weekend?

                                                                                                                                                11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: gini

                                                                                                                                                  Now that's a holiday party. You must keep us informed of any drunken penguins at tonight's party. :-)

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gini

                                                                                                                                                    Wave to the manta ray in the big tank!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gini

                                                                                                                                                      I am totally jealous. I used to go to such holiday parties. miss them! where I work now, not only are the parties for staff segregated from the attorneys, i.e., the attorneys get a big fancy party at an away venue, but our in-office party has now been downgraded to a dry event. WTF??? the parties here were barely tolerable with booze!

                                                                                                                                                      have so much (more) fun!!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                        Wait - the attorneys who get paid a LOT of money have a separate, fancy party and the staff gets bupkiss?

                                                                                                                                                        Morons. That does doodly-squat for morale amongst the staff.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                          yeah, i don't get it. it's the first place i've worked where the annual party does not include everyone. i think the staff here has all been with the company for so long that they don't mind it.

                                                                                                                                                          however, i do have to say, this company has been EXTREMELY generous with me in the 2+ years i've been here, and tho they're rather a dull lot, they're super nice to me, and accommodating, especially when it comes to the time i need to take off for the oldster. so i really can't bitch too much. and to bring this back to food - they feed us breakfast every monday, lunch every thursday, and during staff appreciation week they take us out to fancy restaurants for a good lunch.

                                                                                                                                                          but the new no booze policy? feh.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                            AND, they just gave us the whole of Xmas eve off, instead of just half. whoo-hooo!

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: gini

                                                                                                                                                        Guys, I need to hydrate in a very real, very urgent way.

                                                                                                                                                        The Aquarium was really fun! The touch tank filled with rays was open (so slippery!) and they set up food & bars on all three levels so you could check out the penguins while eating petit fours, stare at the tank while downing oysters, and finally eat some entrees around the middle of the tank. It was sort of amusing to eat arctic char, cold shrimp, and oysters while staring at spiny lobsters.

                                                                                                                                                        I need to go find somewhere horizontal to place myself. That or I need to train for these types of events!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gini

                                                                                                                                                          ok, now THAT'S a holiday party.

                                                                                                                                                          but how very cruel to be eating their brothers and sisters right in front of them! kinda like chomping on a burger in front of a cow.

                                                                                                                                                          seriously tho, sorry about the hangover, hope you recover soon, and glad you had a good time!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gini

                                                                                                                                                            LOTS of water, Advil and some plain toast! (I can't do the greasy hangover food thing!)

                                                                                                                                                            Glad you had a good time!

                                                                                                                                                        2. Tonight husband and I are on our own... nice. So... dinner tonight will be oven-grilled seabass (whole and butterflied) with minced garlic, olive oil, cherry tomatoes and calamata olives. Will be served alongside roasted eggplants (whole/peels removed) with tehina sauce, rosemary steak fries and wine.

                                                                                                                                                          1. It's been a mad, mad 10 days of working morning to night - then catching the flu from some d***mn fool who came to work contagious and sick, and breathed on all of us cheffy people... sigh. Actually went home sick and delerious with fever Friday night, slept for 16 hours, then got up and worked Saturday and Sunday night again.

                                                                                                                                                            Finally slowing down as we get closer to Christmas and people begin to travel. And the sicky finally mostly had left by yesterday evening.So - looking up now, and forward to flying off to South Pas, CA with all of my SEA family to go to my sisters for a big, chaotic child-filled Christmas! My BIL & SIL have 4 kids under the age of 6, and my sister has 3 HS and college age teens, so it should be a great time.

                                                                                                                                                            I am baking Christmas cookies today to mail off to her house tomorrow, as she is crazy with work and family stuff and hasn't had any time to bake.

                                                                                                                                                            I haven't been eating anything interesting lately; finally had my first home-made dinner last night, which was old school taco's with shredded pork and refries from the freezer. Was great to eat something that wasn't Holiday dinner Beef and farmed salmon (which I can never eat again,after all the plates of those I have cooked and served the last couple of weeks)! Mostly this weekend it is going to be clean out the fridge creative small meals, as I fly out Monday morning.

                                                                                                                                                            Fortunately, we are low-key on gifts, preferring it to be about being together. We draw names, and each person buys one gift, and we do small trinkets in stockings for the wee kids for Christmas morning, so shopping has been easy to fit in.

                                                                                                                                                            Tonight is a roasted chicken breast, brining in the fridge now, which I will stuff with some spinach/artichoke boursin soft cheese; some roasted mushrooms, marinara sauce on the side.

                                                                                                                                                            Yeah - Christmas is finally coming

                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                              UGH on the flu, gingershel! Glad you're feeling a bit better, and things are winding down for you.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                Sorry that you were sick. Its been rough here at the dinner table lately. Glad you are feeling better.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                  I need to go back and read.... got rumblings that some things are amiss with folks - illness and loss..... :(

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                  glad you're feeling better, gs! your upcoming holiday week sounds really fun, enjoy! i hear so. cal. is enjoying summery weather right now.

                                                                                                                                                                3. Chili pulled from the freezer, over elbow noodles, with grated sharp cheddar and a dollop of sour cream on top. It's dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                  Tomorrow night will be the company Christmas party. Which I planned but don't really feel like going to. :-/ At least I know the Chicken Marsala, Prime Rib, and Butternut Squash Ravioli with Gorgonzola Fig Cream Sauce will be good. And the wine. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                    So jealous! We have a christmas potluck *breakfast*. Yes, get to work early and bring your own food. Oh and guess what? The head honcho has planned party games with prizes! Oh joy oh bliss. And the party has a "hard stop" to continue budget reviews.

                                                                                                                                                                    What I would give for a party with wine, LOL! There had just better be GOOD coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                      Party games? PARTY GAMES? And a potluck breakfast?

                                                                                                                                                                      Oy. My sympathies, foodie. Wanna drive up and go as my date? LOL

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                        Yes party games complete with a "holiday quiz"! Seriously, I am getting to old for this shit!

                                                                                                                                                                        Would love to be your date, LOL. If I hadn't insanely offered to host my husband's family tomorrow I might have taken you up on the offer! :)

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                          LOL! Good luck at the family party. Perhaps my office Christmas party isn't going to be all that bad, considering. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                            I forgot how much we hated our office parties. We both worked for non-profits so were expected to do the pot luck and dumb games/secret santa thing on our 'lunch hours'. The first year at my job I did secret santa but no one gave me a gift and there was a 2 foot hair in the salad. But there was booze back in the nineties! The 21st century saw bad catered food and no booze. Gift cards with the taxes taken out of your next check. I did convince my company to have a pot luck dessert table which was the saving grace. Discovered chocolate covered saltines and some interesting chocolates with high proof liquid centers that went fast!

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                          ok that sucks more than my party. i'm sorry foodie...

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Greek inspired pork loin with rosemary, oregano, lemon , olive oil, badia, garlic and lemon salt and pepper and roasted in the oven . Leftover rice seasoned with badia, garlic and and parmesan cheese and fried into a cake. Zucchini sauted in butter, bacon fat and garlic.

                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                          oh... I love the idea of making leftover rice into a cake. I always have leftover rice and just take it apart and serve it. I have to try making it into a cake and frying it! Why did I never think of that?!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                                                                            It's already nice and sticky so it takes no effort. And they are delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Tonight was a quick & easy dinner....chicken wing drummets were fried and doused with sweet chili sauce for DF; sides were leftover rice pilaf and buttered corn nibblets. I had a bowl of chili from last night and a couple of homemade rolls.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Baked lemon chicken thighs, zucchini roasted with garlic slices and herbs, and roasted walnut oil spaghetti with garlic and red pepper.

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: WishyFish

                                                                                                                                                                              mmm...you've got my attention? what is roasted walnut oil spaghetti?

                                                                                                                                                                            2. I had some frozen fish so made simple Bengali fish (turmeric, onions, green chilis, cilantro, can of tomatoes) with brown rice. Sides were collards braised with onions & garlic and an old Madhur Jaffrey recipe for cabbage with peas. Very satisfying and enough left over for tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. In this house, there's always a need to find something new to do with a couple of chicken breasts.

                                                                                                                                                                                This "new" sees sliced mushrooms, chopped breast and chopped smoked bacon fried for a bit. Garlic goes in , as does flour and milk to make a thickish sauce. Lots of parsley is added. This all goes into an ovenproof dish,

                                                                                                                                                                                There's a "rosti" topping. Spuds are grated and mixed with grated cheddar. Goes on top and the dish goes into the oven for 25 minutes or so. Leaf salad will accompany.

                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                  That sounds very good! Chicken breasts are frequently on my menu too...though not on my husband's, lol!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                    That sound sooo good. Love the potato and cheddar topping.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Leftovers, leftovers, burgers, leftovers, French Restaurant, pizza, Christmas eve! Sums up my WFD for the countdown. Got to make room in the fridge for the good stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Chili, served with a loaf of whole wheat beer bread fresh from the oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Also reported over on the cookbook of the month Roasting thread for reviews of a couple of recent evening meals - pork tenderloin in rosemary mustard sauce, and pork Char Sui - (Chinese spiced roast pork slices).

                                                                                                                                                                                      I wrapped up the cookie-baking Monday and am now back to making meals. While I was in baking mode we had easy meals from the freezer-stash -- Runzas, chicken and tortellini soup, pizza, frozen commercial clam chowder (not very good) with deli seafood salad on dinner rolls, excellent frozen commercial wild rice soup with roast beef sandwiches on naan.

                                                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                                                                                        The pork tenderloin in rosemary-mustard sauce sounds very good!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                                                                                          Chili of course! I forgot I have some in the freezer! My midwestern mother always served delicious chili and cornbread on Christmas eve. I think I'll do that on the eve of Christmas eve.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                                                                                              TY - It's a quick stir-together, then 50 minutes or so of baking. My recipe is one we refined by combining / adjusting several from cookbooks until we got the balance of sugars, salt and texture just as we like. My sister makes it with all white flour for a finer texture, and many recipe books omit the egg.

                                                                                                                                                                                              12 oz can beer
                                                                                                                                                                                              1 egg
                                                                                                                                                                                              2 c. white flour
                                                                                                                                                                                              1 c. whole wheat flour
                                                                                                                                                                                              4 1/2 tsp. Baking powder (be sure it's not beyond expiration date)
                                                                                                                                                                                              1 1/2 tsp. salt
                                                                                                                                                                                              1/2 cup minus 2 Tablespoon sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                              2 T. brown sugar

                                                                                                                                                                                              (optional) top with 1 – 2 T. melted butter

                                                                                                                                                                                              Mix egg & beer. Add all dry ingredients and mix with a spoon 20-30 seconds – do not overmix. Batter will be lumpy. Pour into a greased 9 x 5 inch bread pan. Top with melted butter.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Bake 375 degrees, 45- 55 minutes until golden brown and bread pulls away from sides of pan.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Remove from pan and cool on wire rack 30 minutes before slicing (Note - that seldom actually happens in our house, but it really is lots easier to slice if you can wait a bit). Store any leftovers wrapped in waxed paper (gets soggy if you store in plastic) - a bread pan and/or tape helps hold waxed paper around loaf.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                                                                                                Husband is the bread baker in our house and I gave him your recipe and he said he'll make it this weekend... I'm very excited. Never had beer bread before... Thanks!!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I got up very early this morning, as our knitting group finally completed our winter supply of hats, scarves, sweaters, throws and knitted pants to donate to our local community (anyone read "A good yarn"? One of my favorite things to do :-)
                                                                                                                                                                                            Dinner tonight will be extra spicy (for the vitamin C - so I don't catch what a lot of you have had this past month) Penne all'arrabbiata, tomato/basil bruschetta and a plate of antipasto - salami, olives, grilled red peppers, grilled zucchini, hearts of palms and roasted squash squares to be served with sangria (I bought a ton of fruit today on sale).

                                                                                                                                                                                            To all those who are ill, feel better... and to everyone have a wonderful weekend!!

                                                                                                                                                                                            edit: MC, I hope the news about Oldster was good news. My Dad is the same age and I know how shaky things can get.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                                                                                              thanks so much acssss. will know this afternoon about 3:30.

                                                                                                                                                                                              yums on that antipasta platter! i'm thinking we'll do that to nosh on for xmas eve.

                                                                                                                                                                                              and yes, don't dare get sick!

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Getting ready for the meat fest that will be Christmas so decided on some sea food. Sliced some squid into rings, dusted with flour , salt, crushed chili seeds, crushed fennel seeds and turmeric. Served with red lentil and spinach daal. Could up the heat count as the missus is out this evening.

                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Paprikaboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                Is that your own creation on the daal, PB - or have you blagged a recipe from somewhere. Like the sound of the spinach addition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                  H, it's an adaptation of a daal I learned to cook in Sri Lanka.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Don't really do measurements on this one but here's the recipe if you're interested.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Red lentils
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Onions
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Coconut Milk
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Frozen Spinach
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Curry powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mustard seeds
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Half cinnamon stick
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Fresh curry leave.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Garam masala
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Salt and sugar to taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Fry off the mustard seeds and curry leaves for a minute or so on a very high heat. Turn to meduim heat. Add sliced onion and fry until translucent. Put in the curry powder and fry off add a little water to prevent the powder burning. Cook out for a couple of mins and add the lentils (after rinsing a couple of times) stir and add a tin of coconut milk and some water. Add some salt and sugar and the cinnamon stick. After about 10 mins take out the cinnamon (otherwise I find it a bit overpowering) and add some discs of frozen spinach-usually about 5 or 6 (this is for enough daal for 4 people).
                                                                                                                                                                                                  After another 10 mins the daal should be cooked. Check for seasoning and add garam masala at the last minute and stir in.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Dinner tonight is entertaining my BIL and his college age boys. I am keep it very simple.

                                                                                                                                                                                                We had a rib eye roast from our cow that I sliced into thick steaks. They have been seasoned and coming to room temp. Nicer temps means we can grill them!

                                                                                                                                                                                                The potatoes have had their first bake and are cooling. Ill cut them half and them mash the flesh with butter, sour cream, cheese and stuff back into the skins. Then bake and sprinkle with crumbled bacon

                                                                                                                                                                                                Lastly are my all time fave-Sichuan green beans. So easy and quick but really good with steak

                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh and LW- there will be wine!

                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Good girl on the wine. I had some (some? LOL) last night as well. :-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I went to the fishmonger today to drop off my Christmas Eve order. They had some Chilean Seabass (Patagonian Toothfish) in the cold case so that's WFD.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Deb is working on the tomato/anchovy/garlic/olive oil salad that will serve as the sauce. The salad/sauce is a riff on an Epicurious recipe:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Rice will be on the side. Wine will be on the table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Edited to add: It's a Wonderful Life will be on the plasma tonight:
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Zuzu's petals; George lassos the moon; Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings; and so on. Corny stuff but I love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Tonight's meal was fried shrimp; served with buttered peas and a baker for the DF; leftover cheesy egg noodles and a salad of iceberg, spinach, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots and Caesar dressing for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I am dining on a small medium rareT bone steak later tonight. With a baked russet potato with butter....romaine salad with marinated artichoke hearts.....scallions and thinly sliced radishes.....drizzled with a lemony vinaigrette. Possibly some steamed whole carrots and a huge cold orange for later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. As roxlets last question asks "How is the season affecting the meals you are making?"
                                                                                                                                                                                                        I just got my list yesterday for my bf's holiday requests. I had to shop in the seventh circle of hell today. I had to remind myself I love him a few times today. First time was at Best Buys when the line was about thirty deep and the power went out and for about fifteen minutes there was no registers. Then it was one for about a half an hour before i got waited on. I chatted with a nice woman in line that made it less painful. On to Home Depot to have the grumpiest employee ever to help me find the things I needed. I love my man. On to Harbor Freight Tools to find the only employee there that doesn't know about tools. He asked me what a Chanel lock was. Like I do? I love my man. I went to about six places looking for a "nice" keychain. I found Florida keychains everywhere. I think the carwash is getting a visit tomorrow. What is a nice keychain? Sufficiently frustrated, I am ordering a Rico's eat my pie pizza. That's how it is affecting my meals. Most of my stuff is wrapped now and I just have my baking to do. Peanutbutter blossoms to start and some window panes and dipped pretzels. Now I am awaiting a pepperoni pizza with extra sauce and cheese. And drinking a heavy handed pour of vodka and limeade to shake off the retail shopping day. No, I am not being a bah humbug, just a weary shopper. I killed a quarter tank of gas today just around town. Woof. Please be good pizza.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        38 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Dunno if they can still ship by Xmas, but I like this store a lot and they sell "nice" keychains. You have to enter an email to access but they don't bother you with spam.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          https://www.frankandoak.com/shop

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Otherwise I'd try the men's shop at someplace like Nordstrom for something like Jack Spade:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.jackspade.com/lobster-claw...

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pizza and vodka-limemade is a great way to decompress from a day of holiday shopping.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks a bunch for the links. I am checking them out now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                            What are your window panes cookies - recipe, please?
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lines everywhere were long Friday, including at my grocery store where the parking lot was full mid-day (usually quiet enough to get a front row spot). And at the bookstore where a cashier kept having to explain to info-request-interrupters she was seasonal cashier-only help and sending them over to the info desk. At the huge hardware store I got confidently mis-directed (6 aisles off) by someone at the information desk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chatting with others in the line is a good way to help yourself (and them) de-stress a bit. Beer with chili for supper also helps.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have a classic sugar cookie that i roll out and cut into rounds and then cut out another small round in the center. Crush maybe twenty Jolly Rancher candies in a zip bag. Put a small mound on a silpat or parchment and put the cookie over the moundso the center circle has the candy showing. When you bake them the candy melts and looks like stained glass. And they taste great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Found the recipe for the dough.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                2/3 c room temp butter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 c white sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1/2 tsp vanilla
                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 LG eggs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 c flour, AP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 tsp baking powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1/3 c milk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Set oven for 350°
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cream butter and sugar. Stir in vanilla and eggs. Sift flour and baking powder. Add half of the egg mixture and stir. Add milk and stir. Add second half of the eggs. When combined spoon out on plastic wrap and roll and chill. Cuts into three dozen cookies. Crush forty multi colored Jolly Ranchers or Starlights from brach's. Cut and fill as described above. Bake for 6 to 7 minutes at 350°.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hope you like them. I like to bake off the center button cookies and ice them and sprinkle them with sanding sugar so they don't go to waste. They take maybe four minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My daughter & I are baking cookies on Christmas Eve...I'm making your cookies! Thanks for posting the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think they are fun because they are beautiful and you get mini cookies as a bonus. Win win.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Another to add to my short list this coming Monday. Thank you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rabaja

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      For you, if you get pressed for time you can always use refridgerated cookie dough. It cuts the time alot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for the tip!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I actually love your dough recipe in that I don't have to roll and cut.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Forming a log, freezing and cutting off what I need is just my speed these days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The pizza made all right with the world. Sometimes you just need a night off and a big ass drink.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Your bf is a lucky guy, suzi! Above and beyond. Above and beyond.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks roxlet. I survived. Not entirely unscathed, but still sane. He had to wait til the last minute. Ugh. I love my man, I love my man. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Those are my least favorite kinds of stores. I am filled with an almost uncontrollable desire to sit down somewhere and cry when I'm in the Home Depot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Man, you said it! Harbor Freight tools wasn't any fun either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You caught that , huh? I am a complete girl when it comes to those places. Deer in the headlights and all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not fair! I love car shows, the home depot **and** getting my hands dirty in the garage under the hood. I'm an engineer AND a girl!... and there is an increasingly number of us all over the world, so watch out :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                yeah, totally jealous of your and weezie's "ilk" - i'm not so gifted, though i'd like to be. but only if it just happened. if i had to learn it all now... which obviously means i'm not into it. but still, jealous!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My adult son was drooling last summer when I gave him the mini catalogue Harbor Freight sends me every few weeks with sales items. I detest that store it stinks... it smells like rubber hoses.... grease and industrial strength guy stuff:( Boring!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hehehe. Perfect description. I felt like I was the only girl in an ocean of testosterone. Way out of my element. I said one time to my bf that I'm not a girly girl. He said "oh baby, you're a girly girl." He's right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I am SO lucky - I have an old-school locally owned hardware store exactly 1 mile from my house that carries everything you would need, and in each dept. is a couple of guys who worked in that field; i.e., plumbing is staffed by an ex-plumber, electrical by a retired electrician.... they answer all my questions, tell me what I need to fix stuff, and we flirt back and forth. Being a 'girly' single homeowner, they have kept my house from falling down around me for 10+ years now. God bless all my 'boyfriends' (most of whom are old enough to be my dad) at McClendon's Hardware!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This is why I do all my shopping on Amazon... SO is getting a really nice DeWalt power drill and a 4 box drill bit and screwdriver set... all from the comfort of my cubicle at work :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Had my handsome man given me a list when i started asking months ago I would have done just that. It turns out two of the things he wanted were online only items that he had me looking for in the store. It made for an interesting visit since the guy helping me had a short fuse. I am hanging on to his list. If he doesn't buy them himself before May(his bday), my online muscles will be getting a workout.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  C'mon now... I can't be the only woman here with a closet full of dresses and my own power tools! LW?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LOL! No dresses, but I do have an electric drill, and I know how to use it. :D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I came into my relationship with more tools than him! Only have a couple dresses though. Shoes are a different story...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm just not that into hardware stores. I don't like how most of the workers talk down to me, assuming because I'm a younger female.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I too came into my marriage with many more power tools. Plus my own king-sized water bed with 6 drawers under each side and a full sized headboard - which I BUILT. Plus more cookware than he could only dream about. Oh, and shoes? My DH calls me the Imelda Marcos of tennis shoes (I used to work for 20+ years for a major shoe company and I happened to be their sample size). :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I came with $400.00 worth of tools thanks to the CETA program which was teaching me a trade. Some 35 years later they still come in handy. A carpenter just commented on our vintage electric drill with a manual chuck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Plus 1 Weezie; tho I still would rather cook with my kitchen 'power tools', for someone else and watch them work the power tools having to do with fix-it and construction... it takes me twice as long as someone who does it alot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    THAT is a long day, suzi! I do hope that pepperoni pizza was good - the vodka & limeade sounds like a good starter!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The pepperoni pizza was exellent. And the vodka limeade was the perfect was to shake the day off. I will be having another shortly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That does sounds like the 7th circle of hell.....sorry suzigirl!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Classic roast beef dinner. Not for nothing is French slang for we Brits "les rosbifs"..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Nice piece of topside. There'll be roast potatoes, roast parsnips and steamed greens.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Starter is going to be a leaf salad. And, for dessert, Mrs H is making a gooseberry & orange drizzle cake which, served warm, will be pudding and cold as cake with a cuppa of coffee. .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        John,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You mean a cuppa of cawfee!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The pudding sounds yummy...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Temps to approach 70 tomorrow. Time for a Whole Hog Production...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That is so funny rjbh20. It reminds me when we were invited to a very affluent neighborhood party in Italy, where they brought a whole pig to the very fancy/decorated table and placed it right in the center (like we do with a turkey on Thanksgiving). Everyone was ooohing and ahhing and I had to excuse myself. Its snout was right in my face... and all I could think of was Babe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Hi everyone! Do any of you have experience with wild goose? If so can you help me on my other thread?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/928668

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks WFD friends!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Today we braved shopping and I have a tip. Target is not crowded and giving a 10% discount on your purchase. We had to buy stockings and a few toys and paid cash.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We also went to a big supermarket and picked up a couple of hams and the fixings for Christmas dinner and dropped them off at the Homeless Veterans shelter, where a big team of cooks was serving a hot meal. This was our present to ourselves. We got to meet some of the older vets and this place does a terrific job.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We have a tree - on the front porch. Does that count? It has to get set up and decorated probably Monday night.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I am behind with baking but am going to make a bundt cake for the coffee hour after the Christmas Pageant at church tomorrow.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              WFD is a re-tooled chicken pot pie with a broccoli and blue cheese dressing salad. And wine. Bulleit for the hubs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, how wonderful for your donation. Bless you and I'm sure they were glad for the gift. The tree counts! And bundt cake and your re-tooled dinner sounds great. Tis the season to be thankful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What a wonderful thing to do. And the perfect place to donate to. They gave to us. Its the least we can do to give back. Happy holidays.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What a great donation! Both of time and money. Truly the spirit of the season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A small thank you for all the vets have done for us. A very good donation, Berheenia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Tonight's dinner is leftovers from last nights feast. I am going make steak sandwiches. Instead of mayo I'll use the leftover horseradish sauce. I didn't use 2 of the potatoes so those will become oven fries and with the leftover green beans on side.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I say take advantage. I know I like to braise on the rare occasion it gets cold here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oops. Somehow this posted here. It was meant for roxlet down thread regarding her steak dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Green beans, fries, and steak sandwiches! YUM on all three!! Horseradish sauce is a favorite for us on steak sandwiches AND on fries! We used to go to a movie theater in Framingham, MA that served fries with horseradish and ever since, I've been hooked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Unseasonably warm weather means steak on the grill tonight, and rjbh20 is waving the BBQ flag for tomorrow. Not very Christmassy, but this may well be the last warm temperatures we see for quite a while. With the steak will be an arugula salad with goat cheese and walnuts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm with you on the steak bandwagon. DH is doing a really nice sized T-bone that we are going to share. To go with will be a nice loaded baked (grilled) potato and some sauteed mushrooms in Marsala & butter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I had my steak (Prime rib) last night Enjoy the uber-warm weather - you'll be 20 degrees warmer than us in New England!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Somehow my response to you posted to foodieX2.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. The Christmas party went *very* well. Prime Rib, Chicken Marsala, Butternut Squash Ravioli with Gorgonzola Fig Cream Sauce, Rice Pilaf, Roasted Vegetables, Rolls, Caesar Salad - all was enjoyed by those in attendance. I had the prime rib and ravioli - both were amazingly good - although there was a whole prime rib left over (I'm not sure why the restaurant thought to have two for the number of people we were - kinda frustrating to know we paid for it but no one gets to enjoy it. They said they don't throw it away; it is repurposed, although I'm not sure how. :-/ And wouldn't that mean they're double-selling it?) Open bar all night; good chit-chat with employees, spouses and POSSLQs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And no headache this morning, thanks to including water drinking amongst my wine drinking....and several Advil before I went to sleep.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Errands today - got my nephew's Christmas presents out of the way, as well as a couple of friends. Tonight's dinner will be chicken thighs that I'll season with salt, pepper, and dried thyme, and pan-sear until the skin is crispy brown, and then into the oven to finish. The fond left in the pan will be deglazed with a bit of wine, which will then be whisked with some dijon mustard and heavy cream and a pinch more thyme for a sauce to drizzle on the chicken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Roasted broccoli, tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and Armenian rice pilaf as the sides. I'll be using a handful of corn pasta in place of the vermicelli.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5590...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And despite there having been wine last night, there will be more tonight. It's Saturday, and I'm off until the 26th. Works for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Dr. Oz (never mind if you like his show, he is a leading cardiologist in NYC) says you should have a glass of wine every day for heart health! So I do :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Well I have done some sort of cooking the past 2 days... I dunno if it totally counts, but at this point, any effort I make is good, right? Last night, after doing sugar cookie cutouts that didn't turn out well (serves me right to try a new recipe when I had a perfectly good old one), I did some store-bought tortellini with the last of the jarred sauce I had in my fridge. Garlic bread from the freezer case at the store on the side.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Today I've been baking up a storm, took Winnie to the vet for her final round of shots, doing laundry, and finished up wrapping our gifts, so dinner is also easy, and will utilize the already warm oven.... baked potatoes topped with ham (yes, still working our way through the ham from weeks ago), broccoli, and cheddar cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tomorrow we hit the road! Hoping the weather is decent and sure hope we can fit everything in my car... 2 dogs, all the puppy stuff (she sure travels heavy with her cage, fold up pen, puppy pads, toys, food, ugh... our old guy travels pretty light with just his bed), all the gifts, cookies, and our own daily wear suitcases, and the bag with all our snow gear. Glad I have an SUV now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Happy Holidays Julie:)Winnie and your *old guy* sound like dolls.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Good luck with the puppies on the road. Have a great trip.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Happy travels and have a fun Christmas Julie! Sounds like it will be a great trip:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I took a container out of the freezer a few days ago that I thought was Beef Bourguignon. Nope. It was chili! Oops. Tonight I'm using it as a filling for enchiladas. I pulled two homemade chicken and cheese tamales out of the freezer and they have been in the oven on low for at least an hour now.... Enchiladas and tamales will be served with Gulf Coast Style White Rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              New Year's resolution - label and date all items as they go into the freezer. Especially those I think "I couldn't possibly EVER be confused about what this is". Kind of funny how a frosted banana half resembles a chunk of cooked chicken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                MWTT, that was my resolution for 2013, and it SURE helped reduce my freezer wastage! Well worth getting in the habit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I bought freezer tape, and two kinds of markers and put them in a drawer very convenient to the drawer of containers, and that helped alot too;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Ham steak with pineapple chutney? Pineapple cooked down with brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and cloves. Gruyere au gratin potatoes and broccoli with butter. I was concidering corn bread but i end up wasting the leftovers because i can't convince my bf that cornbread stuffing is a good thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The ham steak/pineapple is on the menu here for Christmas Day. For next time -- Cornbread freezes nicely and makes a great side for chili later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I spent part of the day making partial dishes for DF to have in the freezer so he won't resort to take out EVERY day I'm gone out of tow. Baked chicken, meatloaf, pork chops with onions, bell peppers & tomatoes, chicken & pastry and baked turkey wings are ready to go in the freezer. There's also a few pigs feet left from Thanksgiving already frozen as well as a hunk of beef roast from last week with gravy, rice and peas frozen. So he should be good for a while.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                While I don't normally cook on Saturdays, I put a few burgers in the oven with the other things I cooked and that was dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What a feast for DF. He should be full and happy while you are gone. I hope you and your daughter like the cookies. Have a great time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Have some 4505 Meats chorizo burgers i picked up at the FM on thurs., and some onion buns to go on. Not sure if i want cheese on the burgers or not, but i think i will mix up another batch of sherry vinegar mayo for them, but leave off the smoked paprika this time since the boighus already have an abundance. Baked sweet potaoes with butter and minced scallions on the side, and some garlicky stewed kale. That's what i'm thinking right now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yum - I'll be right over for dinner.... my plane stops in SFO to change for LAX - do you think they will mind if I just leave for a while to eat a burger with you?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      haha - would be great!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      however, the BF ATE one of the burgers for lunch while i was gone, so instead of making him eat the same again for dinner, we're going out. i'll do it tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      enjoy your trip gs!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Ripe mangos and avocados were turned into a salsa (with lime, serranos and cherry peppers from the garden, red onion, salt,) for some pan fried salmon. Kale and chard from the garden were sliced into ribbons and quickly sauteed, a small butternut squash from a neighbors garden was baked. It was super yummy and totally hit all of the cravings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Today, 2 chickens will be poached and the meat pulled, stock will follow later- the crockpot will be in use on a 5 pound chuck roast. Both are being turned into tamale fillings. I bought 16 pounds of prepared masa last from the local mexican market (69 cents a pound, I can't make it any cheaper or any better since they whip the daylights out of it with those huge industrial mixers- it makes excellent light tamales.) Several pounds of anaheim chiles will be charred and peeled to go into the chicken filling. Assembly will probably start tomorrow, I want to wait until Christmas Eve to have any for dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Several pans of Christmas Crack will be made tonight for the man to take to work tomorrow, the rum cake will be glazed again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If I can get away with it I'll be picking up Indian for dinner. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Love the combo of mango and avocado. The champagne mango in particular is so similar in texture to avocado. And a great condiment for salmon! I've made ceviche with these ingredients once. Lovely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Making your own tamales is very impressive - pre-made masa or not. I bow to your skills, Weezie!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We did Xmas 'lite' this year. SO put up the lights. I helped (found it in my storage) the pre-lit Xmas tree for DS and his GF (girlfriend) and her kids. SO and I's presents were: He had to get that weird growth on his back checked out by the Doc. You know the kind of growth that SCREAMS "get this checked out!" Yeah - he got it checked out and it's all good. TG (Thank God) - It's been keeping me awake at night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My present to him was to get a new edge put on his ax - Duty was done at the Farmer's Market yesterday am and he (SO) is thrilled. Probably the first time it's been sharpened in three years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I took DS and GF to a grocery store that they'd never been to - I saved them $20+ in coupons. They eat A LOT of processed foods and they were happy with the savings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        They and the kids are coming over Xmas evening - we've promised an outdoor fire (providing it's not a 'no burn day') and hot cocoa for the kids. Eggnog and brandy for the adults. If I'm motivated, I want to make these http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... I stopped by the Asian market for ginger and crystallized ginger and found out that 'ginger candy' is not the same as crystallized. Which is now on my list of shit I still gotta get. There's no way I'll try and return it. I don't want to get scolded in a language I don't understand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Dinner tonight is ham and bean soup. We've got leftover biscuits for side.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A funny aside - We've had the ham in the frig since before T-Day and SO has been eying it since. So I baked it up, he happened to bring home dinner and it got put in the frig. After a few days of sandwiches, I came home to a ziplock with the bone, a ziplock with all of the fat and skin and that was it! I was beside myself - WTF?? He'd sliced all of the meat off and I couldn't find it in the fridge. Later, when I was bitching about the lack of meat, he called me out on it - BS! There are two full bags of ham in the frig. It was pretty funny.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Piggybacking on Weezie's note - Christmas Crack will be made at DS's house, on Friday, after I take the kids to the park. We've (SO and ) got a party to go to on Saturday and DS's home is WAY better set up for assembly cooking / baking. I'm sure the kids will like the end product as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Do you still have Kale and Chard in the garden?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yum... Chard, Butternut squash, Kale and what a great salsa!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I can't even grow greens until October at the earliest- too hot before then and they grow through April or May if its not too hot by then. Even planting lettuces in October I lost all of them, they all bolted because it was too warm. It is forecast to be 78F on Christmas, apparently it's BBQ ribs for Christmas dinner this year! MIL has *finally* given up the need for a "traditional" dinner and hopefully the crazy that goes with preparing it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              While I love the snow, I wouldn't mind having some fresh kale and chard from my garden right about now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sounds excellent weezie! We do tamales for Christmas Eve at my sister's in South Pas, but we get ours at this small mexican market that has a line down the block - most people are local Spanish speaking neighborhood people, and they are just picking up masa to make their own tamales at home (we buy several dozen ready to re-heat over steam at home). It's a great scene. I'll take a picture Christmas Eve when we go there to pick em' up on our way home from the Getty:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We're starting the Christmas Eve tamale tradition, too. I grew up in the desert Southwest so to me it isn't the holidays without them.I always make them some time during the season but I'm going to make a point to make them specifically for Christmas Eve from now on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I assisted a very dear friend of mine a few years ago when I was younger in making pork tamales. It was so much work and they were so fragrant and delicious. Those are some kitchen warrior skills you are displaying Weez:)BTW it is around 68 degrees up here in N California in the Lodi area. Sunny and not warm but nice:)!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Tamales ARE a lot of work but I really like them and they freeze so well that it's worth it. Plus, since I generally eat low carb I can make them light on the masa/ heavy on the filling so I can enjoy them. :) When you buy them there's always way too much masa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Well, Sunday night's dinner is a standard in our house: soup and some crusty French bread, maybe a salad. Tonight's soup is potato-kale, as we have both to use up. And probably a salad of some sort with it. I have to bring cookies to the office Christmas lunch Tuesday (we have lunch and then leave early on Christmas Eve), and I found a good recipe online for triple ginger snaps. The recipe makes plenty, so we just might have to try a few for dessert tonight:-)

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I love the tradition of soup on Sundays! My man thinks that soup is never hearty enough for a meal. I wonder if adding a big loaf of bread would change his mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gini

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Maybe bread and cheese, or bread and some type of cold cuts if he likes that? If it were up to my husband we would eat soup every single night of the week......

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Cooking here last few days was mainly a private chef event I did for a client's dinner party Friday; Roasted ducks with a fig and port sauce, 'JF's' potatoes' - aka potatoe's daphiniose (NO cheese!), a chicory/fennel/arugula salad with walnut oil/citrus dressing, and a hazelnut merangue layered with a frozen raspberry mousse for dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                She just warmed it up and served with her own roasted brussel sprouts on the side.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                11 hour shift yesterday chef-assisting at this huge holiday party yesterday - home by 9pm, and voila - Christmas is on!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Packing and cleaning today, and the only cooking will be trying to clean out the fridge - probably chili or chicken thighs tonight.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Then fly off to South Pasadena tomorrow morning. Dad, Step-mom, her son and his wife and their 4 kids (ages 1-6!) all are flying in as well. To my sisters big comfy Craftsman for a bursting-at-the-seams family week!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Tomorrow is also my birthday - the big 50 - aaaccck! Requested lasagna and ceasar salad for dinner (something my very busy sister can manage, or pick up from a gourmet take-out easily). After all 15 of us have dinner, most of us are going out to the chinese foot massage place for some much-deserved pampering after a day spent with the not-so-friendly skies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I am sure I will be doing some cooking and kid-wrangling while there, and also enjoying my sisters HS n college age kids - all of whom are absurdly talented at music, drama and sports... there is bound to be much music and singing to catch us all up on their latest. My niece and nephew both write music, play piano, guitar and the Uke, and have angel's voices so it is a pleasure to listen to them perform.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Will check in from hopefully-warm SoCal!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Happy birthday gingershelley. Sounds like you have a good time planned for the holidays. Enjoy yourself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hippy bathday, Shelley! Lasagna and caesar sound perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A VERY happy birthday to you, gingershel! And sounds like amazing amazing food that you helped to cater. Have a wonderful family get-together. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Happy Birthday To You!!!!! And many more:) Have fun with your family and smuggle in a few flasks of good booze just in case:) For medicinal purposes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hey Happy B-day Shelley! I am now officially in the 50's club as well - although I'm very happy about it. Hey, I figure I'd rather be 50 than dead :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                happy happy! lots of great cooking going on there. that fig and port sauce sounds great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  happy early bday, gs!! 50's not so bad.... said no one ever!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  just kidding! i have a feeling you'll do it with style and energy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Happy Birthday fellow December baby! Enjoy your trip, the weather is freaking fabulous out here this week!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wishing you an oh so happy Birthday GS. Enjoy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I just don't know WFD. I've been making cookies (apricot rugelach and peanut butter) most of the day, and I'm tired. In the fridge we have chicken thighs defrosting, a "rosemary and olive oil" pork tenderloin, broccolini, kale, mesculun, leftover short-grain rice....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have every condiment you can think of and a pantry stocked with good things like nasi goreng sauce mix, Japanese curry blocks, TJ's corn, etc. Still not feeling inspired.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Dinner ended up being none of the above---instead, something I've been craving recently: tuna cakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Basically you make a tuna salad and add and egg and bread crumbs, brown in butter on both sides, top with good American cheese and inhale. Ketchup is mandatory (I add Tabasco to mine).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sides were steamed broccoli with butter and a cozy stracciatella with the leftover rice, egg, a quick chicken broth, and carrot chunks. We picked at a cheese plate (aged gouda and manchego) waiting for dinner to be ready.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Aaah, I feel nice and warm inside. Tomorrow will be the pork tenderloin, asparagus, and salad (if it's still salvageable).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mmm... tuna cakes. I have never run those past the man. I miss those. Why have I neglected these?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's hard for me to be objective about them, because they're just so nostalgic for me :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That said, I think they would be better (lighter) with panko rather than the puverlized dried baguette dust I used...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And cheddar. I think it's time to switch (even though this was some crazy-fancy Whole Paycheck American cheese).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i make tuna patties for the Oldster quite often, he's a fan, even though he thinks he doesn't like fish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. It's been a total slug day for me, so I'm not going to do anything that takes a lot of effort tonight for dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A burger on the grill pan, medium rare, on a toasted English muffin with some cheddar cheese on top, and some potato chips on the side. (Chips on the burger makes for a bit too much crunch with the toasted English muffin.) A small salad of lettuce, carrots, mushrooms and radishes. The dressing will probably be Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wine. Yup.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sounds good: burgers, chips and salad get high marks on my score sheet. Wine puts it over the top.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Brady is kickin' it, the Giants may actually win a game.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's all good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Flank steak on the grill. I marinaded it in cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt, pepper,tabasco and lime. Sauted red and green peppers and rice. Tortillas, cheese, salsa, sour cream and limes. Fajitas, just not cooked together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. We returned from an eventful Philly trip yesterday, the restaurant write-up of which can be found here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9287.... My man's talk was successful and garnered a future invitation to give a public lecture, I passed my citizenship test with flying colors (if I dare say so :-D), and the food was overall quite delicious, with a nice anniversary dinner to end it all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The hotel at which we usually stay, OTOH, fucked up so badly this time that we will never return, and we ended up switching hotels for our last night. At least we were reimbursed, but only after forcing the issue. Gah.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    When we left yesterday, Philly was bathed in brilliant sunshine and temps in the high 50s (if you can believe it!!), and we stopped in at DiBruno's -- a store I'd like to be locked in for a good month or so with some of my best friends, and eat my way through the cheese cave, the prepared foods section, the meat counter... ah, who are we kidding: ALL of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We picked up a bunch of sausages they make in-house (a full list is in the trip report), of which the 2 jalapeño cheddar brats became dinner last night. Side was a diced quarter zuke that was all lonely-like in the fridge along with frozen peas, diced onion, and a can of TJ's awesome corn. Sploosh of white wine, dab o' butter. The snausages were awesome. Of course, how could a cheese-stuffed sausage *not* be?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tonight we're having some friends over before they all disperse to their respective families for the next few days. There will be some nibbles courtesy of TJ (unexpected cheddar, some spinach & kale bites, tarte d'Alsace, bacon-wrapped scallops, spanakopita), maybe take-out, *definitely* cocktails…. and maybe even a few hands of pokah!

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