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Christmas Feast

January 5, 2011

A little overdue of a post, but a necessary one! We had a veritable feast for Christmas Dinner, even though it was only five of us, we got creative and busted out some old favorites and some new favorites.

A Turkey (Brined by Baker Girl’s Dad, using instructions from the BLOG!)

Brining Pot

Then there was that time we forgot how much the turkey weight and how long it would take to cook. So with our powers combined we figured out that we could weigh the pot.

Then remove the turkey and weigh the water and vegetables leftover. A fool proof plan, until I jumped the gun and started straining the veggies. Luckily Baker Girl Mommy arose from her mid afternoon nap and hollered 15 Pounds! So at 17 minutes a pound, only about 4.25 hours of cooking!

First to butter it up! A picture of me massaging the turkey (which was missing from the previous turkey brining experience)

Beautifully laced up by Baker Girl Daddy, we did have to do some last minute suturing, the butter massage tore some skin, but luckily there is nothing skewers and twine can’t fix.

And then baked to perfection. Stick a fork in it, it’s done!

Or is it stick a fork in me, I’m done?

Then I GOT TO CARVE THE TURKEY! My first experience carving ever, and I kind of rock at it.

Although getting this bad boy off was a little difficult.

But the first slice of the breast was picture perfect!

Next up we tackled a twist on the holiday favorite of sweet potatoes. This recipe is courtesy of Grill Boy’s Mom, a tasty gourmet version of sweet potatoes.

Gourmet Sweet Potatoes

5 sweet potatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream or half and half
1/2 cup butter, softened
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans

1. Wash the sweet potatoes and bake in a 9×13 inch pan for about 45 minutes at 400 or until they feel squishy inside.

2. Cool slightly, peel off the skins, and then mash.

3. Mix in the salt, 1/4 cup of butter, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, white sugar and cream. We were short on eggs so I only used one and it turned out fine. Also again in an effort of making unhealthy things healthy, we used fat free cream instead.

4. In a small bowl melt the 1/2 cup butter, and then add in sugar and flour. I ended up doubling this, the original recipe was only 1/4 cup butter, 3 tablespoons of flour and 3/4 cup of brown sugar, but since I used such a big pan (as opposed to a smaller 8×8 pan), I made extra topping.

5. While your Grill Boy like kitchen slave, crushes up the pecans.

* Check out those PJ pants! Christmas Eve present! Go Old Navy

6. Mix the pecans in with the butter/sugar/flour mixture and then sprinkle on top of the sweet potatoes in the pan.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Grill Boy Mommy suggests 15 minutes covered with aluminum and 15 minutes uncovered 🙂 Works like a charm

Mmmmm mmm mmm….good!

We also tried out some Parmesan Garlic Mashed Potatoes from a combination of an Alton Brown recipe (the iron chef announcer and the guy from the Welches Grape Juice ads) and a cooks.com recipe with a few modifications, aka extra cheese and red potatoes, because who doesn’t love cheese.

Parmesan Garlic Mashed Potatoes

12 medium sized red potatoes, cut into small chunks
12 garlic cloves, minced (we ran short, so only used 8)
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup of heavy cream (used leftover fat free cream from the sweet potatoes)
1 cup of parmesan
1/4 cup of butter

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook potatoes until tender, usually around 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of your chunks, and your dreaded altitude.

2. Dice/Mince/Mash the garlic. Although this is a simple step, I want to show off my new cutting board present, the ULU. Its an alaskan knife and cutting board set. It worked great after my failed attempt with a really bad garlic press and a dull knife. Its got this great little divet that the knife fits into and chops things like herbs really well and easily.

sad dull knife

AWESOME SHARP ULU

3. Melt butter in a sauce pan, add garlic, cover and simmer on low for about 10 minutes but be careful not to let the garlic brown or burn, there is nothing good that comes from burned garlic sadly. The cooks.com recipe actually said to simmer for 20 minutes, but by 10 the garlic was starting to brown so we stopped.

4. Add the salt and cup of cream and simmer for 10 minutes, covered on low.

5. Drain the potatoes, and mash them. I like using a mixer, it goes much faster and gets them really smooth, apparently this is weird, but we all have lasting things from our childhood 🙂 Unfortunately this was done with an ancient mixer that has like 1.5 speeds, but it does the trick, no need to get carpal tunnel from mashing with a masher.

Although I did get this new double action masher from Grill Boy for Christmas, so next time we have mashed potatoes I’ll battle it out between the mixer and the double action masher.

6. Once the potatoes are mashed, mix in the cream/garlic mixture and the cup of Parmesan cheese.

And voila a mixture of several recipes and an extra helping of Parmesan later, Creamy Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

We also made a Pecan Pie

Scalloped Corn, sans Cayenne Pepper, a good life choice, since it was much tamer.

Although we used an orange pepper instead of a green and Italian seasoned breadcrumbs instead of crushed up crackers, slightly different, the orange pepper changed the consistency of the casserole part a bit, all that extra orange color, but it was still delicious.

Then off course the stuffing wars continued:

Twigs and Berries stuffing

vs.

Manly meat stuffing

Grill Boy was smart and remained neutral on the subject…I think for fear of his life.

It was a great meal to follow up a hefty morning of present opening 🙂

The lovely tree

With tons of awesome kitchen stuff under it that I’m sure will appear on the blog in the coming months, once the boxes arrive that is. We had to ship 2 boxes because we couldn’t fit all the presents, a generous holiday indeed!

 

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