Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Dinner

I was looking forward to Christmas. Don't get me wrong. I love watching the kids open their presents. I love getting together with the whole clan Christmas Eve. I love the traditional candlelit Jerusalem dinner we have in a tent the night before Christmas Eve. We eat chunks of cheese, fish, fruit and flat bread with our hands. The candlelight flickers as my husband tells the Christmas story from the perspective of a shepherd. These are all great things, but what I was REALLY looking forward to was Christmas dinner. More specifically, MY CHRISTMAS DINNER. I'd been planning it for weeks. I LOVE to cook ginormous meals for company. I don't just LOVE it, I Lu-huh-huh-huh-ve it. It makes my pulse race. I dream about it, and this dinner was the stuff of dreams indeed.

First, I brined my turkey. Never heard of doing that? I hadn't either until just before Thanksgiving on Pioneer Woman. She started it. For Thanksgiving, I bought some brine, and begged my mom to try it, and it was divine. This time, I made my own brine. As the turkey was baking, scents of apples, oranges and cloves wafted through the house. It completely changed the texture of the meat. Tender, juicy are some of the words that come to mind.
I made Pioneer Woman's dressing too. It's a mixture of cornbread and French bread. Yes, I made cornbread to make the dressing, weird, huh? The cool thing was, that I was able to use my fresh parsley, sage, rosemary, and well, bottled thyme. I don't grow thyme yet. But I felt waaayyy domestic, just snipping it and bringing it inside.
I also made rolls, green bean casserole, tossed salad, jello salad (except I forgot to tell the Muslims it had gelatin in it, which has pork, so they can't eat it. Big oops! I bet there were a few extras prayers said that night) My husband made the mashed potatoes, I made the gravy, and then to the desserts! I made pies, lots of them. I made pecan, pumpkin, and a cool new apple caramel one from, once again, Pioneer Woman. I also made two blueberry cobblers, her recipe too. I let my aunt bring only the few things I could bear not to make myself.
A few months ago, my parents broke the news that they would not be in town for Christmas. I'm happy to share them with my sis, so I had to go on the hunt for other victims. My Aunt and Uncle next door were perfect. They have tons of company in town! In all, we had 1 grandma, 1 neighbor, 7 natives to the house, 1 Saudi, 1 Egyptian, 1Chinese, 1 Kazakh, 1 Azerbaijani, 1 Thai, and 3 cousins and my aunt and uncle. We had Egyptian music blaring, little guys dancing, and people stuffing their faces."I'll just help myself to a little of this, no one's looking." When it was over, and we were stuffed to capacity, about half the food was still there.
That gave me some serious satisfaction. I had so much fun trying new recipes, and hosting so many people. When it was done, I skipped out the door for a movie with my other sis and cousins. I came back, and the dishes were done. These were some pretty serious dishes. Can it get any better than that? I think not.
I loved it. Can you tell?
I get a little over enthusiastic.
Someone grab the camera.


Home of the Muddy Kids said...

This is actually one facet of your character with which I could never identify. In high school, when you were making your own noodles for some fancy soup, I was quickly putting on hot dogs because that was the fastest, least painful meal I could think of. It's still that way. My entire culinary goal is to feed my family healthy food while exerting the absolute least amount of energy. When I put it that way, it sounds like pure laziness, but I just don't get the satisfaction out of it that you do, even when I do have to exert energy for a large amount of people. I'm just happy when it's all cleaned up in the end.

Lee said...

Check it out girl! You did lots of fun cooking. I want some carmel apple pie. I might just have to make that.

Abby said...

Okay, you are now officially a charter member of my "Cooking Idol Club" - the only other member being my amazing Sister in Law. This is something that I've only recently begun to feel the nudge toward. I finally want to be a party girl - at 38. Maybe a little late, but I have more money now, so that will help. I've always wanted to have more time with my cousins - so maybe I'll throw a cousins party. I'm glad you are my friend. I'll let you try out all the Pioneer Woman recipes, and then I'll try out a few of the least taxing on my family and then. . . who knows what could be possible! The sky's the limit.
Happy New Year!