Sunday, December 26, 2010

All I Want for Christmas

It is hard to remember how to cook in a three-dimensional kitchen! I was so busy there was just no time to take pictures either.  I had to do most of the preparations myself since it was a workday for Andy.  I started  at eleven for 6:30 sit-down dinner but we didn't eat until 7:45 that evening. It's a sure sign I'm slowing down!

I'm usually rather strict about adhering to Mom's turkey dinner as I remembered it from my childhood. However, this year I broke a tradition and added a new one.  For the first time I did not stuff the bird and instead, made the stuffing into a casserole. Not only did the bird roast quicker but I thought the stuffing tasted fine baked as a casserole. But Andy, ever the purist, says that next year I must stuff the bird because the stuffing tastes better when it's infused with turkey juices.

We decided to have our dinner on Christmas Eve instead, so we ordered a 7 kg turkey and a 6 kg. Virginia ham from Foodland.  There were 13 of us, an unlucky number, but to my mind, when it's Christmas you just make room at the table for one more. It was just the family plus our friends, Robert and Anne, Chart, Margie and their son Kris.  Mimi brought her young friend from Japan.

 We had the usual accompaniments: potstickers, giblet gravy, bread-potato stuffing casserole, jellied cranberry sauce, potato salad, and pan roasted asparagus with bacon, tomatoes, and black olives. In addition, I made a no-alcohol sangria, and for dessert, a haupia cake, both of which went down quite well. Mimi brought a chocolate cake and an orange cake both from Baby's new bakery. Lek brought  fried cashew nuts with fresh chilies and scallions. I asked Boong to help set up the tables and wash dishes, pots and pans. Without her we'd have been cleaning up until 2 a.m. Christmas day.

On Christmas day we went to Lek's house for paw pia which is a Chinese taco, a rice pancake filled with slivers of meat and vegetables. When my mother-in-law was well, it was her New Year's Eve signature dish to ensure that we all would never go hungry in the new year! This is AJ's masterpiece:

For dessert, I tried a new ginger cookie recipe from the Food Network. They were a huge success! That makes the ginger cookie a new Christmas tradition.

Mimi bought a coconut cake from T-Det, the Thai restaurant at Paradise Park. This is what a whole cake looks like!

And here is a delicious slice of sponge cake layered with whipped cream and fresh young coconut. Aroy maak-maak!

On Sunday, the RIS alumni had their annual Christmas get-together, which was pot-luck. So, with Andy's help with the mincing, dicing, and grating,  I made a diced turkey and leek shepherd's pie (and threw in a cupful of chopped ham that wasn't in the recipe) and, I made a second batch of ginger cookies, for which I used brown sugar instead of white to make a darker cookie. I made a third batch for Nan, Andy's secretary, who gave me a box of my favorite mochi. This is a Thai version of the Japanese rice cake. The pink ones are filled with red bean paste (tastes like chocolate) and the green ones have mung bean paste.

So that took care of a weekend of eating. There's more to come before we head off to Vietnam on Thursday for the New Year! It's time to make some New Year's resolutions or buy an entirely new wardrobe...

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