Noteworthy Holiday Recipes
I've been in a culinary rut for some time. So it's kind of surprised me how much I enjoyed hanging out in the kitchen this holiday season. Maybe because it's the one time of year I drop all the nutritional concerns, and just give in to decadence. Here are some of this year's favorite indulgences, for which I shall no doubt being doing penance for the next eleven months.
For Thanksgiving, we have Brined Turkey a la Alton Brown. Hand to heart, it's even better than a non-brined fresh bird. It's that good, even using the permafrost birds in the sale freezer. Mine this year was 70 cents a pound and it looked and tasted like a million bucks. Just be sure to NOT get a pre-basted bird (rhymes with utterhaul). Those are fine for folks who like them, but they are already injected full of a basting solution, and will not absorb the homemade brine solution to best effect.
By Christmas time, we are all turkeyed out, and do as the Whos in Whoville do, sitting down to Roast Beast. I stick pretty close to the Saving Dinner for the HolidaysChristmas menu. I have all the Saving Dinner cookbooks, and this menu has been the basis of our Christmas dinner for years now, with a few culinary traditions and experiments thrown in each year to mix it up.
Two of this year's experiments which have the makings of tradition are Peppermint Marshmallows, dusted with a powder of confectioner's sugar, cornstarch and crushed peppermint candy, (made for hot cocoa, as pictured above) and Hershey's classic recipe for cocoa fudge. I'm a decent baker, but the knack of making candy has eluded me until now. The secret turns out to be the same magical instrument that gives us mouthwatering turkey and delectable roast beef: a good digital thermometer. This little gadget is worth many times its weight in gold. I absolutely rely on it for everything from grilling steak to dissolving yeast. Also useful for time-outs.
In the "traditions" column, we have sugar and spice glazed pecans. This has become my go-to quickie hostess gift. Fresh pecans are abundant here around holiday time. I buy bags of them on sale and toss them in the freezer, to glaze as occasion calls.
And Christmas isn't Christmas at our house without Chocolate Butter Roll, and the attendant drama and frustration around it. This is a cherished family recipe of my husband's--his version of Proust's madeleines--and deserving of its own post, coming up next.
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