Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Dinner/lunch

I haven't been cooking much, things have been insane. Work has been a bit busy and I got a bit behind on a project! Luckily I work with a terrific team and they got me unjammed! Mike and Kiki are my heroes and TJ really keeps us on track!

In addition my wife opened up her own flower shop, you can imagine how busy things have been for the Christmas season. But tomorrow is Christmas Eve and then Christmas! So gotta plan up a bit of a Christmas dinner. Well in our case more of a Christmas lunch. My daughter and her husband are coming down for a lunch with us and then dinner with his family later. But we still plan on a pretty nice meal.

Front and center is a 'Heavenly Ham' from Dorothy Lane Market. It's along the same line as a 'Honey-Baked Ham' but we found it is a little less sweet for our tastes. The crust is more brown sugar than honey. Delicious! The cooking for us will be the side dishes. Still debating a couple of those, but the planned menu seems to be:
  • Heavenly ham
  • Stuffing
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Glazed baby carrots
  • Green beans almondine
  • Rolls
The carrots and green beans are the same ones from Thanksgiving. Nothing succeeds like success. Haven't decided on the potatoes, but I am thinking of more a smashed red potatoes. It's easy, here is the recipe:

  • 4-5 lbs of red potatoes, skin on (Baby potatoes or fingerlings work as well)
  • 1/2 stick of soft, unsalted butter
  • 8 oz of cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup of milk, half-and-half, or cream
Prep and cook
  • Cut the potatoes into about equal size pieces for even cooking. Us the smallest potato for a guide. the larger the pieces are, the more 'smashed' the final product will look.
  • Boil the potatoes in heavily salted water until a fork slides in easily. This is important, a fork, not a paring knife. A paring knife would slide in too easily and the potatoes are normally not quite done.
  • Drain well and toss into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. I have found a hand mixer just isn't strong enough. Alternatively, mix by hand with a pretty stuff wooden spoon or hand masher.
  • Add the butter, cream cheese, and milk (or half and half/heavy cream).
  • Mix until just combined. It should be very lumpy. That's why I call it 'Smashed' as opposed to 'mashed'. You can mix it until it's smooth, but the skins will look funny in there.
Good stuff, if I do say so myself. We are still hashing things out, but I think it will be close to what we end up with. I'll post afterward if anything changes. Gotta work on cookies for Santa and some appetizers. Although since we are eating early the appetizers might be munchies for later. My wife is planning on deviled eggs and I am thinking about some shrimp cocktail.

Well Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all! I hope your culinary adventures for Christmas are fun and taste terrific! Pass me any interesting recipes!

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