Saturday, December 29, 2007

The food and stuff of Christmas.

I have to give a big shout out to Santa - I got spoiled this year! I was hoping for one certain cookbook for Christmas this year. I got

I know! Totally spoiled and undeserving. Thanks Santa(s). You're (all) the best.
In addition to Veganomicon (yay!!!!) I got the new Nigella book Nigella Express, and TWO Barefoot Contessa books -

In the words of Ina - How fabulous is that?

There need to be more hours in the day so I can get down to reading all this stuff. I also got these two cute little individual casserole dishes:

They're not cast iron, but heavy and cute and oven safe.


Now on to dinner. Last year we cooked a Swedish Christmas dinner. This year we went French Canadian. We started with pea soup, the best pea soup I've ever had.

This stuff was so amazing. The recipe couldn't have been more simple either. My Mom made it and I'm hoping she'll copy the recipe for me so I can make it again. So. Good.

Then we had our main course, Tourtiere. Tourtiere originated in Quebec and is a meat pie made with some combination of pork/beef/veal. Some pies are heavily spiced, some are plain. Some have veggies, some don't.

We picked over a few recipes, including one from a genuine French Canadian person, before picking one. We chose the one that had more spices and had veggies in it.

adapted from The Girl Can't Cook by Cinda Chavich

pastry for 3 double crust pies
egg wash - 1 egg yolk stirred into 3 TB milk

2 TB olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup minced celery
2 lbs ground pork
1 lb ground beef
3/4 tsp savory
3/4 tsp ground sage
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 cups water or half water, half broth
3 cups mashed potatos
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley

In a very large pot heat the oil over medium heat, then add the onions, garlic and celery. Cook, stirring often until the vegetables are soft and just starting to brown. Add the pork and beef and cook, breaking down any chunks of meat, until the meat is cooked through. Pour off the fat, return to the heat and add the spices, water and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and cover. Cook for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, mix in the potatos and parsley. Let cool to room temperature.

Preheat your oven to 375'. Prepare your pastry in 3 pie tins. Divide the meat filling between the 3 pies and cover with the second crusts. Brush with egg wash, cut steam vents and cook for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown. Cool for 10-20 minutes before cutting.

Serve with chutney, ketchup or HP.

We also had mashed carrots and turnips and green salad.

Dessert was the yule log I made for the Daring Bakers. I sprinkled it with powdered sugar and decorated it with mushrooms. It was good, but that icing is just too rich.


OK, here's a craft/tip I want to share with you before the holidays are over. The Kamloops Hospice sets up a small craft store each December in one of the malls here. I did some shopping there earlier this month and one of the things I found was the most simple, clever craft I've ever seen - to turn your old Christmas cards into gift tags! I bought a bag for myself and one for my Mom, but I'm turning this years cards into next years tags as we speak.

All you need are old Christmas (or any occasion really) cards, a pair of scissors and a hole punch (not totally necessary).

Take your card and cut out all or part of the design on the front. I went to the dollar store and bought a pair of zig-zag scissors, but you could use plain ones.

Then you just punch a hole for a piece of ribbon (or don't and just tape a corner of the tag to the gift) and you are ready to go! Look at my pretty tags I made:

Hope everyone is having a fantastic last-Saturday-of-2007! See you tomorrow.


Peabody said...

Oh if you were going FC for Christmas you should of had Poutine, I love that stuff...heart attack on a plate. :)
Looks like you had a great meal though Sara.

Lis said...

Fantabulous Xmas dinner! Looks wonderful =)

You are a spoiled girl :D I can't wait to see what you make out of all those books! Woot!

I'm so loving the gift tag idea - Kick ass way of recycling!


Sara said...

Poutine....never! Just can't bring myself to try it.

Yes, I was spoiled. Already I have a pile of recipes I am dying to try.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Lucky girl you! Love both those Barefoot girl books!

Ruby@Cuisine said...

:) I bought the same two pink dishes for my friends, too. Amazing.