Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Christmas Journaling - Favorite Holiday Dishes

Special dishes made only at Christmas

My menu changes every year so I don't have too many dishes that are only made at Christmas.  Last year's main course was saucey beef ribs and ham.  The year before that was turkey lasagna and pork shoulder.  I always make several kinds of meats and sides (way too much).  But I rather have too much than not enough. 

This year's menu will be a little more traditional- Bourbon-glazed chicken, steak with carmelized onions, roasted potatoes, crab stuffing, maccaroni & cheese, collard greens, rolls, garden salad, deviled eggs, several dips, and a host of desserts and beverages.

A must have at Christmas for my family is hot dinner rolls.  They love them and Christmas is the only time (well sometimes for Thanksgiving too) I make them.  Are they homemade you ask?  Indeed not!  Haven't attempted making breads from scratch yet.  I've always known how to cook, thanks to my grandma.  But I've only been making homemade desserts for a few years -when I joined Organized Christmas.   Anyway, back to the rolls.

I buy the rolls from the local supermarket in the freezer section.  My favorite dough to use is Parker House.  They are easy to handle.  Just place the rolls on a lightly greased cookie sheet, cover the dough with a little oil as well (I use a cooking spray), cover the rolls with a clean dishtowel and let the rolls rise for about two hours.  I like to let them rise for about 3 hours so they get really big.  If you prefer, you can use a muffin pan instead of the cookie sheet.  Make sure you put them in a place where there is no cool air blowing.  I like to sit them on the stovetop because the oven is nice and warm from being used all day.  Then just stick them in the oven. When the rolls are done I use this basket (I have 3), lined with a clean dish towel and cover with another towel to keep the rolls warm.

I do not know why my family thinks they way I make these rolls are so special.  I tell them all the time they can do them too, but they always say that when they try it doesn't come out the same.  I guess I just have that magic touch (wink).

Another dish that's done only for Christmas is seafood salad.  I use lump crab, jumbo shrimp and lobster. 

2 lb lump crab meat
2 lb shrimp
1 lb lobster meat
celery, chopped
green onions, chopped
a little mustard
Old Bay seasoning
black pepper

After cleaning the shrimp I put them in the top part of a double boiler/steamer and sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning.  In the bottom pot I mix water and vinegar together.  I let the shrimp steam until they turn pink.  While the shrimp is steaming I clean the crabmeat, picking out shells.  Once the shrimp are ready I let them cool a few minutes, then dump them in to a bowl along with the crab and lobster. Next (a little a time) I add the celery, green onions, black pepper, mayonnaise and mustard and mix well.  It's pretty much freestyle how I add my ingredients so I'm sure what it would be in measurements.  If necessary I may add a little more Old Bay.  Then chill in the fridge.  I make this the night before the big dinner.  Tastes much better.

There's never any left at the end of dinner so before guests arrive I scoop a little on to a small plate and place it in the fridge for later.  After all the prepping and cooking I don't have much of an appetite.  My family usually have to force me to eat a little something, especially if I'm going to have a glass of wine or two.

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