Saturday, December 23, 2006

Cooking central

I love making Christmas dinner. Really, I love cooking any meal, but the more people and the more cooking involved, the happier I am. The problem is, I tend to do far too much at the last minute and end up exhausted by the time we all sit down to eat. This year, I'm trying to get ahead of the game by doing as much ahead of time as I possibly can. Yesterday, I went to pick up our roast. Today, I finished shopping and started in on preparations. Made mashed potatoes (I'll reheat carefully and add butter before serving), lentil soup, potato bread, creamed spinach, salad dressing, horseradish sauce, rum custard and sponge cake. All that's left to do is make a snack mix, assemble the breakfast strata, and then a few last minute things on Christmas day. That means I can spend tomorrow wrapping, knitting, reading a book, and generally relaxing. Tomorrow night we're having a "picnic" dinner on the floor at my mother in law's apartment, to celebrate my sister in law's arrival from San Jose. Should be fun, especially for the boys!

This year, I'm going very traditional. I'm actually copying the menu from our wedding at the Five Crowns nine years ago. Doesn't sound very interesting, but if done well the combination is comforting and delicious. The trifle was a request from the boys for something creamy with cake and chocolate, and it should be perfect because it's even better made ahead. Needless to say, the rest of the week is going to be full of lighter fare and yoga on my part.

Here's the menu for Christmas day:

maple sausage and cheddar strata
orange juice
tea and hot chocolate

spiced nuts
crudites and hummus

lentil soup (this came out really well - I used Puy lentils, lots of onion and garlic, bay leaves, and thyme)
rustic potato bread

mixed greens with Parmesan cheese, toasted walnuts and apple-parsley dressing
standing rib roast au jus
Yorkshire pudding
horseradish cream
mashed potatoes
creamed spinach

Boston cream trifle