Frivolous OT — what are you making for the holidays?

My thoughts are completely otherwhere but I have to get a menu together for the holidays and start shopping in case there’s anything hard to find. We’re having backstrap of venison on Christmas Eve, like always. Probably with latkes, since that’s also Chanukkah I. I need some inspiration. What are you preparing for your winter holidays?

I’m thinking about this new brussels sprouts recipe

~ by Servetus on December 20, 2016.

65 Responses to “Frivolous OT — what are you making for the holidays?”

  1. Distraction is very welcome, so I am looking forward to reading the comments on this post. I kick it off with our traditional Christmas Eve meal. We will eat bratwurst with sauerkraut and boiled potatoes. The bratwurst are special Silesian bratwurst (will be brought over by my mum), which have to be boiled before frying. – For desert we are looking at either flan or crème brulée or soufflé.

    • mmm, bratwurst. What distinguishes the Silesian ones?

    • I just started to read the comments and Guylty your Christmas Eve meal is very close to what my youngest son wanted to eat on his birthday. Homemade Polish Sausage, boiled potatoes with butter and parsley and sauerkraut. A meal the whole family likes.

      • I am always surprised when I hear of youngsters who like sauerkraut. My kids like it, too, but I made sure they did 😉 Even though Germans are associated with sauerkraut, many people don’t really like it…

        • My oldest and youngest love sauerkraut. My middle son will not eat it. Being both my husband and I are part Polish and I also part German it has always been something we eat. Most people I know eat it as a condiment, we have always ate it as a side dish. When my oldest was in middle school they would have sauerkraut on the Hotdog and Brat day, there would be my son with a big pile on his tray, the cooks liked that someone would eat it.

  2. We’re looking at prime rib, twice baked potatoes, some kind of linguine with lobster sauce, salad and bacon-wrapped green beans. English Trifle for dessert. OMG my stomach just growled.

  3. Going to my parents for Christmas so not much to do myself but we will have turkey. Mum usually makes a stuffing with breadcrumbs, parsley and lemon which sadly I can’t eat so I’ll be making an alternative with rice, porcini mushrooms, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. Looking forward to it! Also will help my mum make red cabbage (cooked down with apples and onions and possibly some spices like nutmeg and cinnamon). It’s one of my favourite things! We’re also experimenting with gluten free bread sauce this year!

  4. We typically have prime rib with twice baked potatoes. Other sides include a winter salad (greens, onions, pomegranate, mandarins, blue cheese and walnuts with balsamic), roasted green beans w/ almond slices, and roasted root veggies like squash or sweet potato. And dinner rolls. For dessert, a pumpkin pie, a custard pie, and an orange coconut cream pie. Also: martinis before dinner and lots of wine with dinner.

    • orange coconunt cream pie — that I’ll have to put on the list for the future. Dad would really like that, I suspect.

      • For future reference:
        Orange Coconut Cream Pie
        Filling:
        1 cup granulated sugar
        3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
        3 tablespoons cornstarch
        1/4 teaspoon salt
        3 large egg yolks
        1 1/2 cups water
        3/4 cup orange juice
        3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
        1 tablespoon grated orange peel

        1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust*

        Meringue:
        3 large egg whites
        3 tablespoons granulated sugar
        2 tablespoons sweetened flaked coconut

        Cooking Directions:

        Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).
        For Filling: Combine sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt; set aside.
        In a bowl, combine egg yolks, water, and orange juice. Gradually stir into the sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils. Remove from the heat and stir in 3/4 cup flaked coconut and grated orange peel. Spoon into unbaked pie crust.
        For Meringue: Beat egg whites until soft peaks form, add sugar and beat to stiff peaks and spread the meringue to seal the edge.
        Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons flaked coconut.
        Bake for 25 to 28 minutes.

  5. Well, Christmas Eve we usually have Fondue (2 kinds, both with broth but one meat and the other one with fish and scampi) at about 10pm we start the Feuerzangenbowle. On Christmas Day it will be either duck or deer with red cabbage and dumplings. And Boxing Day this year we’ll have brunch at a local well-known restaurant and again Feuerzangenbowle in the evening.

  6. Menu réalisé la veille car nous travaillons à Noel et il sera dégusté par la famille en notre absence
    1- du saumon écossais présenté avec des feuilles d’endives et du fromage crémeux aux herbes
    2- des côtes d’agneau avec 3 tians de légumes d’hiver:
    – couleur orangé: potimarron + carottes
    – couleur vert: épinard, blettes,
    -couleur beige: céleri-rave, pomme de terre
    3-gâteau à la clémentine de Corse, avec des zestes et suprême d’orange en décoration, accompagné d’une crème anglaise parfumée aux agrumes (juste le lait le sucre et les jaunes d’oeufs, si j’y arrive)
    Bon Noel!

    • I love all of those vegetables and the cake sounds tremendous! Hope it’s not too rough working on Christmas, though.

    • When it comes to a menu – my French is perfect, Squirrel. Sounds decadent delicious and beautiful.

      • J’ai des goûts simples et classiques et surtout je suis nulle en cuisine. Plus les recettes sont faciles, moins je passe de temps aux fourneaux, plus je me rassure. Je compense mon incompétence, par des ingrédients de très haute qualité, que je présente brut . Il est évident que je passe plus de temps à faire les courses, qu’à exécuter des recettes élaborées. J’épluche de A à Z les étiquettes, j’étudie la provenance, la fraicheur, les additifs, les colorants à éviter. J’ai rarement confiance dans ce qui n’est pas fait maison…Le pire est quand les invités me convient à m’assoir et me remplacent derrière les casseroles, ou encore lorsqu’ils me disent que la matière première était bonne, en grimaçant devant leur assiette. C’est du vécu. Désormais, je laisse ma fille faire les gâteaux. Vive la cuisine française!

        • Definitely make your daughter do it! Life lessons!

        • I needed a little translation help for your reply – so I have to ask, because I know you can write English – all three translations, and they varied a bit, said that your guests tell you the “raw” ingredients ( la matiére premiére) were good. Did you mean this in the sense that your guests knew the dishes were not cooked ( i.e. in English, raw) by you? I agree that sometimes it’s annoying and difficult to get guests out of the kitchen. They want to help, but often just get you off course. Have a lovely Christmas.

          • Avant de vous répondre, voici une lecture, qui participera a expliquer mon état d’âme, lors de la rédaction du texte précédent. “L’autodérision nécessite d’abord une excellente connaissance de soi. Celui qui rit de lui-même sait combien sont ses défauts. Quelles que soient ses failles, il ne les dénie pas, mais les accueille et les conscientise. Les anxieux sont précisément les plus habiles à développer cette clairvoyance sur eux-mêmes”…
            En deux mots, je cuisine si mal que, par le passé, pour me remonter le moral, devant une de mes nombreuses réalisations culinaires immangeables, mes invités m’ont souvent dit que les ingrédients de départ étaient de bonne qualité. Ce qui est toujours vrai, puisque j’aime rechercher les produits les meilleurs possible. Mais, je ne veux plus me retrouver face à de tels arguments de réconfort. Aussi , désormais, je préfère présenter des produits bruts, tel quel peu cuisinés ou de façon simple. Car j’aurais alors plus de chance , que ces aliments puissent garder le maximum de leur qualité initiale et qu’ils ne perdent pas leur valeur intrinsèque, à cause de mes piètres compétences en cuisine. Je veux bien être décadente, si le contenu des assiettes est dévoré jusqu’à la dernière miette.
            Lexilogos m’aide pour traduire.

            • I don’t think there’s anything to criticize on that approach (although, admittedly, I do think of French cuisine as one of the more “complicated” traditions). Good ingredients are at the start of every good meal, certainly.

      • This may be the #1 incentive to learn nouns in French — so one can eat in French restaurants.

        • Désolée, cherchez un meilleur chef cuisinier pour vous apprendre le vocabulaire culinaire. Pour la botanique je serai toujours là.

  7. First of all: thanks for maintaining this blog with the often insightful analysis of some of my favourite series/ films! I have been reading your blog entries from time to time since I stumbled on a piece about a scene in Strike Back but I never wrote a comment before, only reading and “lurking in the shadows” – until now 😉 Christmas and Food and the preparations for feast days – I just couldn’t help it.
    Here’s our “agenda”: On Christmas Eve, we usually eat fish, often trout with potatoes in butter and parsley as a main course but basically we feast through the whole evening starting with some Italian style antipasti, some soup (my favourite: asparagus cream soup), the main course, then some cheese and fruit and late at night maybe some dessert like Tiramisu. In between I usually can’t help but eat some Vanilla crescents (“Vanillekipferl”) and chocolate balls and gingerbread cookies.
    If you’re still planning your feast I can recommend the blog
    http://test.innatthecrossroads.com/
    which basically evolved around the meals described in the books of GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire. I love the books and also the series Game of Thrones – I know, RA is not in it, but they have some more seasons to go, so who knows… 😉
    I got the cookbook for Christmas last year and the recipes all turned out really great AND they also have suggestions for all sorts of delicious five-course feasts – if you’re still hunting for ideas/ new inputs, I thought this might be of help.
    And then, for (mostly) Austrian recipes this is a (often hilariously) good read:
    http://www.ziiikocht.at/2016/04/omas-nudelteig-und-ihre-himmlischen.html
    I linked a recipe that has an English version as well as a German version, but most of the blog is in German – or rather Viennese dialect 😉 However, I noticed that quite a few people who post here regularly, speak (or read) German anyway so…enjoy! (for example for the dessert: http://www.ziiikocht.at/2015/09/heidelbeerdingsbums-und.html)
    And, can someone tell me if there is a term in English that would be a translation for the German word “Wildbret” or “Wildpret”, as it is sometimes written? From what I gathered ‘venison’ is only used for the meat of red deer, roe deer, fallow deer etc. whereas “Wildbret” can also describe the meat of wild boar, chamois, mouflon or the meat of wild fowl like pheasant, wild duck, and so on. (And yes, there is a difference between “Hirsch” (red deer and “Reh” (roe deer) both in appearance and taste although both species are subsumized as “Rotwild” in German.)

    and finally for more holiday feelings, here is our family recipe for “Vanillekipferl”:
    for the dough:
    250g butter (not too cold, but also not too warm)
    50g powdered sugar (?) = “Staubzucker”
    280g flour
    110g ground hazelnuts
    and to give the still-hot-from-the-ofen vanilla crescents a coating of sugar:
    some vanilla sugar plus some more powdered sugar

    For the dough just take the butter out of the fridge until it softens a bit. Blend the butter, sugar, flour and hazelnuts and knead the dough quickly (the butter should not become too soft or “runny”) then let it rest in the fridge for one hour.

    After the dough has rested, preheat the oven to 180°C. Form the vanilla crescents by rolling a little portion of dough between your hands so that you get a roll of about 6-8cm length with the middle being as thick as your little finger and the ends thinning out. From this, form a crescent by placing it halfway around your thumb and put it on the baking sheet. Leave about a centimetre between each Vanillekipferl and the next one so they don’t stick together while baking. Bake for about 15 minutes – until they take on a golden hue. Coat with the mixture of vanilla-sugar and powdered sugar while they’re still hot.
    (If you want to have evenly sized “Vanillekipferl” you can form the dough into a roll an cut small slices which you then use to form each vanilla crescent. But take care the dough stays cold, while you are working.)

    • Thanks for the comment and welcome! I love those vanilla cookies (thanks for the recipe!) and that Viennese blog looks hilarious (also, there’s a recipe for Marillenknödel — wrong time of year but I love those!).

      Interesting that the wikipedia entry for “Wildbret” (a word I did not know) directs to venison — probably because (as I learned today b/c of your question, venison originally referred to more than just deer meat). I would translate it as “game,” which means any animal that lives in the wild and is hunted for food, and can include board, different birds, etc.

      Hope now that you’ve delurked you’ll continue to post every now and then 🙂 Happy holidays!

  8. Christmas Eve is usually some version of the traditional Polish Wigilia with either red borscht with mushroom dumplings or mushroom soup, fish (usually salmon), herring, some sort of root vegetable salad (kind of like a Finnish Rosolli salad) and the partaking of the Christmas wafer (just sent to us from Poland from my mother in law!). Christmas Day is either a prime rib or a turkey. I love making a standing rib roast, it’s so easy and always turns out. I use the Barefoot Contessa recipe and it works like a charm.

    • I’ll be right over. Actually, mushroom dumplings might be fun to do. I wonder how dad would feel about borscht … I don’t think of it as a Christmas food but I do love it.

  9. Wow, I have been reading what others prepare in the comments and its pretty impressive. For our Christmas Eve we have the French Canadian Tourtiere, watch cheesey Christmas movies (Charlie Brown, Rudolf, White Christmas and The Bishops Wife are perennial favourites, ending with A Christmas Carol (the old one starring Alistair Sim who to me is the best Scrooge ever) and before bed we bundle up and go for a stroll to enjoy the lights on the houses in the neighbourhood and then over to the parents for Christmas dinner the next day which is always the same….turkey with bread stuffing, nothing fancy – just parsely sage and thyme – mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato, brussel sprouts, a few other vegetables, cranberry sauce and for dessert the traditional English Christmas plum pudding Mom makes from scratch (which has no plums and is not pudding – its made with suet and raisins and candied cherries and candied fruit peel and served warm with a warm lightly sweetened white sauce over top). I totally abandon being a vegetarian those two days of the year! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and best wishes to everyone of all faiths and Seasons Greetings Buddhists, Atheists and to everyone!

    • Had to look up Tourtière — that looks tasty!

      Et in terra pax.

      • Being originally from Quebec, we have the tourtière too on Christmas Eve. We also have tarte au sucre (sugar pie), which is just as sweet as it sounds! Not being a baker, I buy them both from a French-Canadian deli in Vancouver.

  10. I don’t think for Christmas Eve there is any one particular food. I usually just make the pumpkin pies for the next day from scratch. Traditional dinner of Trukey and the rest of the trimming on Christmas day with the family. For me it will just include liquid food since I cannot eat solids, so I will enjoy vicariously through watching others eat. To all I hope your holidays Chrismas, Hanukkah or any other holidays that co-inside with ours are full of love and family.

  11. Swedish Meatballs for Christmas Eve and Turkey for Christmas, once again the cat rules. My husband has to work both days so we will work around that. My dad’s family was always on Christmas Eve and my mom’s on
    Christmas. I do both. My mom’s family has always had some type of bird on Christmas, my dad’s no idea. Mom always made Chicken. Depends on what day is going to be the bigger day gets the turkey the smaller day get either Swedish Meatballs or Brats. I do make more of a British style Christmas with the Turkey, sprouts, braised red cabbage and roasted potatoes, carrots and parsnips. I also make a fruitcake that I will put marzipan and royal icing on.

  12. We’re visiting the in-laws this year, so I don’t get to choose. They’re Eastern European, so meat, meat and more meat, with some pickled veg on the side. I’m usually dying for a salad 2 days in 🙂
    Those recipes look lovely.
    Last year, my family came over for Christmas. We did roast leg of lamb and a roast chicken, a lentil salad, roasted asparagus, brussels sprouts with pancetta, green bean casserole and potato gratin, followed by dessert of course. Way too much food, and not very “traditional”, but it suits us.
    Oh…. almost forgot the mulled wine. I’m planning to make some for the in-laws this year.
    In case I don’t get on here before I leave – have a lovely time over the holidays.

    • Somewhere in the world they have salad for Christmas. Australia, maybe? 🙂 Please drink a glass of mulled wine for me!

  13. For Christmas Eve this year we’re doing shrimp scampi, salad, a veggie tray, and cheesecake. My mother-in-law and I thought about doing The Feast of the Seven Fishes but decided that was too much. Brunch on Christmas morning is ham, eggs, orange cinnamon rolls, fruit (maybe baked pineapple this year, if I feel like it), cranberry sauce, mimosas for me and hubby, and milk and juice for the kids. We’ll put out a meat and cheese platter, olives, cheese ball and crackers, another veggie tray,cookies, and candy, for the evening.

    • Love the idea of baked pineapple!

      I wonder how people ever ate all that stuff sometimes (7 fishes). By the time I’d be done cooking it I’d have no appetite left. I used to make this meal in Germany sometimes, it was 7 types of vegetable: white cabbage, red cabbage, kale, salsify, brussels sprouts, mangold, and Savoy cabbage. But I had a hard time getting people to come …

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