This post coming to you from the Gulf coast of Texas. Surprise! Our kids had never seen the ocean, and at least some of them were excited about saltwater fishing. So we decided to make the long (looong) drive to the nearest ocean to us, which is the Gulf of Mexico. That is why I am typing this from our rental house in Port Aransas, Texas. That is also why I don't have any photos. They don't seem to be loading.
Don't worry. We'll be home Sunday and I can post all the photos then. Until then, photo-less food!
Short version: Stir-fry, rice
Long version: I had taken out a couple of quart bags of already-cooked and shredded beef rib meat. I used one to make tamale filling, and one to make the stir-fry. The stir-fry also used up quite a lot of the vegetables I brought home from the school salad bar, including mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, and carrots.
I got all the kids into the kitchen with me to actually make the tamales this day too, so I wouldn't have to do it on Christmas Day.
Short version: Baked ham, scalloped potatoes, green salad with ranch dressing, chocolate roulade
Long version: This was a ham I bought before Thanksgiving when I was getting our turkey. Cubby had requested I cook it for Christmas, but the rest of the family was unwilling to give up their tamales. So we had the ham on Christmas Eve instead.
It was a spiral ham, which I've never cooked before. Not as wet, but easier to dry out while cooking, as well. I baked it covered, and then poured over a mixture of mustard, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and water for the last half hour or so. I didn't have pineapple juice to make the Best Ham in the World that my family raves over, but it was still good.
Scalloped potatoes are definitely a special occasion side dish for me to make, because I really dislike slicing all those potatoes with the mandolin part of my grater. Since I was doing it, though, I made a full 13"x9" Pyrex of them (potatoes, salt, pepper, Parmesan, milk, and cream). And then I forgot to put a pan under the casserole, resulting in dripping milk/cream all over the bottom of my oven and SO MUCH SMOKE.
Good thing it was warm enough to open the windows. Not warm, you understand, but warm enough. At least not as frigid as the previous two days.
I always make a chocolate roulade for Christmas or Christmas Eve, using the recipe in my old Jacques and Julia Cooking at Home cookbook. The recipe is online, too. Apparently, Martha Stewart has discovered it. She also posted a video of Jacques and Julia making the roulade, which is fun.
This was the show that A. and I used to watch in our basement apartment in Albany, NY. That's where I got the cookbook, too, from the bargain bin of a Barnes and Noble.
One of these years I'll think ahead enough to get good chocolate to make it, but this year, as all previous years, I've just used store-brand chocolate chips, and it's still delicious.
Short version: Tamales, eggnog, molasses cookies
Long version: Tamales are a New Mexico tradition for Christmas, and a delicious tradition they are. I make mine with beef and beef tallow instead of lard and pork, because I find they re-heat better that way. Also, I have a lot of beef on hand.
I use this recipe for eggnog, which neatly takes care of all the egg yolks leftover from the roulade.
And this recipe for the cookies. Of course.
Short version: Carnitas, leftover scalloped potatoes, sauteed spinach
Long versio: A. brought home some giant packages of pork shoulder that I separated into pieces and froze. This was one of the pieces, cooked slowly in the oven in my enameled Dutch oven. When it was tender, I just pulled it into pieces and fried it in its own rendered tallow to crisp it up.
That in combination with the potatoes made for a pretty heavy meal.
Short version: Grudging chili, tortillas and cheese
Long version: We left about 7 a.m. this morning for Texas and didn't stop until around 5 p.m. in Eden, Texas. There was a microwave in our hotel room, but I didn't plan very well for dinner. I had grabbed a couple of containers of frozen chili and put them in the cooler, but our cooler is so good that they were still mostly frozen solid. And the containers weren't really microwavable. So I ran hot water on the outside of one container until I could gouge out bits and put them in a jar to microwave.
I managed to get enough for everyone to eat this way with their microwaved corn tortillas and cheese, but it was a battle.
Short version: Sausage sampler, crackers and swiss cheese, raw tomatoes and broccoli
Long version: I took Cubby and Poppy to the grocery store when we arrived at our rental house in Port Aransas, Texas, and Cubby requested sausage. This small store actually had a good sausage selection, so we ended up getting four kinds, including the two we ate this night: smoked beef sausage, and boudin. Boudin is a Cajun sausage of mostly rice and pork. I guess we were close enough to Louisiana for it to be in the store.
It was quite spicy, but very tasty, and Cubby declared it his new favorite sausage.
Short version: Fresh whiting, yay!, and leftover french fries
Long version: We went fishing in the morning on a charter boat that took us out just beyond the bay and into the gulf. This isn't a great time of year for fishing, and the deckhands said last week's cold snap drove the fish away, so all we (I use this term loosely, as I do not actually fish) caught were catfish and whiting. The catfish were thrown back. The whiting were kept by the boat's crew for bait.
But when we were disembarking, A. asked if he could have some for our own bait, as he was planning on fishing all day the next day. They obligingly gave him about a dozen, the largest of which were maybe 12 inches long. A. cut up the smaller ones for bait, but the three largest ones he cooked. He had some vague memory of hearing whitefish is used to make fish sticks and so forth, and is actually a good eating fish.
They were, indeed, delicious. Although I can only say that secondhand, because I didn't eat anything. Neither did Poppy or Calvin. After our fishing trip in the morning, we went to the seafood restaurant next to the wharf for lunch, and there all the boys absolutely stuffed themselves with enormous platters of various fried sea things. They ate every bit except the french fries. I brought those back to the rental with us and re-heated them in a pan on the stove in some butter.
The three fish and the leftover fries were enough for the three who ate.
Okay, your turn! What'd you eat this week?