Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Holiday Feasting

Lest you think, my dear and faithful readers, that I only report on my picture perfect successes in cooking.
I've had some amusing (after the fact) kitchen challenges this holiday season.
I bought some nice cornish game hens on sale and thought it would be a lovely dinner for the night I finally had everyone back under one roof. I found a recipe for some wild rice with mushroom stuffing for the game hens and started in on making the stuffing.

When I went to get the games hens washed and ready I found I had mistakenly put them in the freezer instead of the refrigerator! After I got over how mad I was at myself, I started the rounds of defrosting them in the microwave. I needed a lot of patience. It finally worked and then I used my convection oven so they ended up cooking up nicely. Whew!
Then came Christmas Eve. I decided to make this wonderful looking coconut cake with fluffy icing.
First I made the lemon curd filling. It needed to refrigerate for a couple of hours, which I did...
But when I went to put the layers together, the lemon curd wasn't firm enough so it dripped off of the cake layers and the layers started sliding off of each other. Nothing some wooden skewers coulded help!
I frosted around the skewers and the cake tasted good. However the recipe left off some ingredients in the frosting too. It needs a cup of sugar and 1t. vanilla.
I renamed it 'The Snowball Cake' and when I make it again I will refrigerate the lemon curd overnight.
Not to be out done, my dad used the handy dandy skewers to hold our Christmas Eve lamb together too!
We had some hardy laughs, but ate very well.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

More Food Gifts

I finally finished my food basket gifts for family. Including some pistachio, berry and chocolate biscotti.
And granola.
New this year, is this dry chimichurri rub.
We have an annual neighborhood holiday progressive dinner. We hosted cocktails this year so I served  champagne cocktails with a splash of the cranberry orange vodka, garnished with the vodka soaked cranberries.
For a non alcoholic choice and for the children I love to make  punch. I started making punch years ago when I inherited this lovely punch bowl from my grandmother. Punch seems a bit retro these days.
I make this with a bottle of cranberry juice, a big can of pineapple juice, 2 cups of ginger ale, 2 cups of seltzer. And it's nice to make a pretty ice block to keep it cold.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Food Gifts

I've been hard at work on my holiday food gifts.
 This year's liquor is cranberry orange vodka from Michael Chiarello.
You start with cranberries, sugar, and vanilla, heating them for about 6 minutes until they start to get juicy.
After they cool, put them in a jar with orange peels and cover with vodka.
Let it sit covered in a cool place (my basement fits the bill) for about one week.
Then strain into bottles. This is soooooo much easier than my lemoncello endeavor last year. Zesting all of those lemons about killed me.
Besides looking beautiful it's delicious. I already served it for a gathering, putting an ounce or two in a champagne flute, filling it with champagne or prosecco and garnishing with the vodka soaked cranberries. So festive!!
It can also be served with tonic.

This is a curry lentil soup in a jar.
And as usual, there are my jam's from summer canning.
This year I made balsamic strawberry jam, strawberry syrup, and raspberry jam.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Food Storage

I am loving my new food storage system. I've always just had a set of plastic/tupperware type containers. Over the past year I started picking up different glass storage containers from Marshalls or Tuesday Morning. I even have a few from antique stores with the glass top, like my grandmothers used. Then I saw a set advertised at Big Lots by Anchor Hocking. For $20 you can get a 20 piece set.
You can freeze them or put them in the oven. We use them for leftovers all of the time and they heat up food perfectly in the microwave, and they are not plastic! (Just the tops are). They stack nicely in the refrigerator too.
I'm so crazy about them I'm even giving a set for Christmas. (Hope you're not reading this Dad!)