"Those who forget the pasta are condemned to reheat it." ~Unknown

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Dinner

Friday, 4:30 PM
     We're getting an early start for Christmas dinner.  I decided earlier this week, that we should have a real classic Christmas dinner, a Kentucky Country ham, and an even more classic dessert, figgy pudding.  Figgy pudding tastes best if it's allowed to age a day or two.  So we started out this morning, chopping figs, making breadcrumbs, measuring brandy, (and rum, and cognac).  After lunch, Mom, Cy and I went to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie.  After more than two hours of a not-so-great sequel, we came home and mixed up the pudding.  Now steaming,  hopefully it will be done before Mom and Dad leave for Festivus.  

Sunday, 4 PM
     Now we get to make the actual dinner.  We've got biscuits, and a salad, and a Christmas ham.  We're going to gussy it up with pineapple juice and dijon mustard.  The ham was one shipped out to us by our uncle Clark.  Every year in my memory, he's sent us one of Col. Newsom's hams.  They're great stuff, and we got this one the day Mom and I were planning dinner.
     We've spent most of the day playing with gifts, Dad and Cy and I set up our new 42-inch TV in the basement, we went to the park with a water balloon slingshot, Mom cooked breakfast omelettes on a pair of new skillets we got her, and everybody has spent a little time with the Newton's cradle.
     The ham is coming along nicely I think, we have yet to get started on the salad, and the biscuits just got put in the oven.  They're an interesting recipe, even before we cooked them, they were the flakiest dough you've ever seen, and that was after we'd added an extra half-cup of buttermilk.  The biscuits also call for an interesting ingredient, homemade baking powder.  Believe it or not, this baking necessity is just two parts cream of tartar, and one part baking soda!  Now there's something for ingredient based chefs!

     So far, this dinner has been remarkably simple, the ham is pre-cooked, so we just have to glaze it and warm it up, we made dessert days ago, and the biscuits took less than half an hour.  So far the most time intensive part has been the salad, and really, salads are pretty easy.   Even fancy ones like the pomegranate salad we are making are fairly easy.
     Over the break, I've been working on a new feature for the blog.  We've gotten a lot of requests to post the recipes we use, and I've finally found a good way to do that.  Near the top of the page you should see a bar with two buttons, one labeled "Sunday Dinners" and the other labeled "Recipes".  The "Sunday Dinner" button will take you to all of our Sunday Dinner posts, including this one.  The "Recipes" button will take you to a group of posts of some of the recipes we've used.  If you would like us to put up a specific recipe from the past, just let us know what post it's from, and then we'll try to put it up for you!

     Dinner was great.  The salad dressing was great, the almonds added a good crunch, and the pomegranate gave it an excellent holiday color.  The ham was, like all of Col. Newsom's hams, salty and rich and so, so, good.  The biscuits, with their homemade baking powder, were very flaky, but at the same time very fluffy and thick.  Cy took to drenching his in honey, but I don't think anybody else tried it.

     Now we get to go back to where we began.  The figgy pudding.  It was good, but the general consensus was that it was too boozy (Mimi loved it though!).  We also agreed that it's a little old-fashioned, better suited for a time when you couldn't get fresh fruit all winter.  The still-good part of figgy pudding is only for us young pyromaniacs.  We've got a video of that, but it too is rather disappointing.  But it was a great Christmas!! Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Let the Break Begin

     Cy and I are out of school until next year, and to celebrate, Cy's making one of his all time favorites.  Mac' n' cheese.  We use the recipe from the yellow Gourmet Cookbook, and Mom first made it about a year before we started Sunday Dinner.  Cy fell in love with the recipe, and in the space of a week we had it for three meals.  For sides, Cy is cooking some winter squash and green beans.
     For Cy and I, it's been a quiet weekend around the house, but from what we can tell, Mom and Dad have been spending a lot of time at shops around the city.  There's a number of packages under the tree, and earlier today they came home, locked us in the basement, and then made a lot of thumping noises up and down the stairs.  'Tis the season for speculation, but by this time next week, we'll know.
     Right now, Dad and Cy are speculating as to the location of a pan large enough for all the green beans.  The squash is out of the oven, and the macaroni is about to go in.  We should be eating in a few minutes.

     The macaroni was good as always, the green beans were great, and the squash was good as well, plenty of brown sugar and butter.  One of the best parts of the meal was the relative simplicity of it all.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ravioli, Take Two

The outside lights
Satsumas: 'Tis The Season

     We got our Christmas tree yesterday, Memaw, Bamp, Cy, Dad and I went to a farm in the hills outside of Linnton that we've gone to for four years running now.  We got a Noble Fir that sits just a few inches from the top of the ceiling.  For the first time ever, Dad put lights up on the outside of the house, we used lights and a schematic that the home's previous owner left us.  To fill out the festivities, we rented National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  Today, Cy and I had breakfast at Fat Albert's with Mem & Bamp, then we spent the day at home with them.  For dinner tonight, I've planned ravioli, something we haven't had since the very first dinner we put on the blog.  Who would have known that we would be making the same dish almost two years later, and who would have thought we'd be making it for the blog.
Delicata squash
     Well, we are making ravioli, and now almost every flat surface in the kitchen is draped in ravioli.  We're making a plate of Delicata squash, it's a yellow winter squash that we like to slice, dust with brown sugar and dot with butter then bake, and eat.  We've got some meaty marinara sauce for the ravioli, and all that's left is to fill them and bake them.
     The ravioli are coming along quite well, about half of them have been cooked, about half are waiting.  None have failed yet, and Mom, Bamp and Cy are watching Sherlock Holmes, it came out a few years ago starring Robert Downey Jr., and Mom and I went to see it but Cy hasn't seen it yet, and the new one is coming to our local theater.

     The ravioli were excellent.  Despite fears from Dad and I that a lot of them would break open, because most of them had small holes, none of them did.  On a few the pasta was rather tough, but most were soft and the ricotta filling nicely set off the meaty marinara sauce we poured on top.  The meal was nicely set off by our dessert, six cake slices from Papa Hayden's down the street.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lost Sunday

     Tonight's Cy's night, but he (and Mom and Dad) are sick, so Dad's taken over.  He's making some basic, uninspired quesadillas from the Outdoor Living Cookbook (though no one would want to live outside on a night like this).  As per the recipe, dad is shredding two boiled chicken breasts, and there's a nice big pile of grated Montery Jack Cheese on the counter.
     Yesterday, I went to my first Speech and Debate Tournament, at Clackamas High School.  I liked it, but I really shouldn't have been competing in prose.  This morning we went to Mimi's house, and came home with her turntable and some speakers.  Cy and I spent most of the afternoon setting it all up in the basement, but we couldn't get it to work.  Mom got about five seconds of Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds to come through the speakers, and then, somehow, Dad got it to work.
     We've had the quesadillas, and while they were perfectly good, they weren't anything of Sunday Dinner caliber.  For a side, we had a winter squash, one of the ones that works their way into every meal that we have this time of year.  It's a lost Sunday I guess, but that isn't too important, especially when almost everyone is sick.