Christmas Menu 2007

The Christmas menu changes a bit every year but over time ours has evolved to everyone having the opportunity to make what they like with a little attention to balance. This means vegetables and some dishes not too full of butter, cheese or sugar. When my sister said she wanted winter squash, I knew this would be easy. Our back porch has a terrific selection of winter squash. I’ve been baking squash every few days and using it in new ways, most recently, adding spoonfuls to quesadillas and black bean burritos. If you too have a surfeit of squash I figure you can use a few recipe ideas.

I see many recipes calling for peeled and cubed squash, a process I find hard on the hands. I suggest placing the winter squash in a 350 degree oven for twenty to thirty minutes. Remove from heat, cool then peel and cube. The squash will hold together in cubes but the rind is easily peeled away without risk of cutting a finger or feeling you’ve arm wrestled when you finish. You are simply cooking in two stages and the total cooking time stays about the same.

Here is our tentative menu. Not everyone has decided what they will fix and some of us can’t stop with only one dish. It will be a big family gathering and we’ll cook and eat our way through the day. This is the essence of a family holiday, good food, good company and good conversation. This is a menu of seasonal foods.

Christmas Menu 2007
Turkey, Gravy, & Dressing
2 Cranberry Sauces fresh & cooked (my sister’s family likes fresh, we favor cooked)
Green Salad with Pecans & Oranges and shallot dressing
Parsnip Pear Puree from The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook
Potatoes Mashed with garlic & rosemary
Creme Brulee
Steamed Gingerbread & Orange Pudding with whipped cream,
Cookies & Fruitcake
Crudités & olives pre dinner snacks
Squash with Onions & Almonds modified from The Scent of Orange Blossoms: Sephardic Cuisine from Morocco
coffee & tea
Parsley puree “Mark Bittman NY Times archives” A vivid green puree of parsley and olive oil
Wine & Sparkling Cider

8 Responses

  1. What a delicious sounding meal!

    I’m so glad that I found your blog. I think that you and I have many similar perspectives.

    • I’ve been reviewing and pruning out a few odd comments this afternoon. One discovery was your blog, it was a pleasure to meander through it. I think I may be giving my daughter Forking Fantastic for Christmas and am now off to try out your recipe for Fall Quick Bread. I have no idea how I missed your gracious comment two years ago. Thank you.

  2. Thank you Christina. I visited your blog and your description of fava bean flowers as tuxedo-blossoms is perfect.

  3. Thank you for encouraging use of winter squash. It is truly festive and not nearly as much trouble as is perceived.
    For mashed squash, or for lovely golden-orange “pumpkin” pie, cut squash in half, scrape out seeds, lay cut side down on lightly buttered aluminum foil and bake at 325 till a fork goes right thru. The butter helps the squash to brown and take on a roasted flavor, and it’s easy to spoon the cooked flesh out of the halves.
    For a great hot hors d’oeuvre, combine leftover mashed squash with equal quantity unsweetened cream puff dough. With a melon baller, drop into deep hot fat and turn carefully till puffed and golden brown. Drain and serve hot.
    (Try this with any pureed vegetable or combination.)

  4. Thank you for the recipe. I wonder if this could have a little cheese worked in and then baked like gougere. This is intriguing. I have a few more squash.pumpkin recipes to write up…writing so everyone can follow is always the hardest part.

  5. There’s a mashed-potato version (think “chives & green chile”) that we have baked. More substantial than gougere, don’t puff as much, more like a scone. Have also added goat cheese & rosemary to the potato version. Many possibilities. Let us all know if you experiment. What herbs do you think would complement the squash?

  6. Thanks for your comments. I’m back to blogging.

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