holiday food

once again, after a long absence, i’m back. the captain has been encouraging me and my friend jason has given me permission to skip over the missing months and just pick up in the present. so i’ll focus now on the holiday cooking and baking.

first off, i’ve volunteered to have thanksgiving here at our house. it’s the first time i’ve hosted this, so i’m very excited! my family tells me they are just relieved that somone else is willing to do it. they’ll all bring stuff, so there won’t be much for me to do. of course i’ll have to clean the house and set the table, but that will be a snap. what with my mother’s noritake, the beautiful glassware that we received as gifts at our commitment ceremony and the table linens and candlesticks i’ve collected over the years, i have all the pieces of it already. of course i’ll need some sort of centerpiece and the right music and so on, but i am sure that will all fall into place.

our menu is going to be very traditional. turkey with bread stuffing (stuffed under the skin), mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, gravy, cranberry sauce, rolls, pumpkin pie, pecan pie and ice cream. plus, it’s my niece’s birthday, so we’ll be having birthday cake as well! the only parts i am responsible for are the turkey/stuffing/gravy and the mashed potatoes. i think i can pull that off in and around my work schedule.

then there’s the christmas cooky/candy production. i think this year i’ll focus more on the candy and sweets and let my sister handle the bulk of the cookies. i want to make some fudge—probably several different kinds. i also want to make rumballs (or brandyballs?), nut brittles and candied citrus peel. we’ll see what else appeals as we go along. i already laid in supplies that were on sale at the giant eagle, such as butter, sugar, sweetened condensed milk, cocoa, marshmallows and coconut. then a stop at trader joe’s brought me almonds, pecans, chocolate, dried fruit and crystallized ginger. i feel like i am ready for just about any recipe!

this weekend, i macerated a couple of pounds of mixed dried fruit. a combination of cherries, raisins, cranberries and sultanas got a soak of brandy, orange juice and lemon rind. i ended up with 2 quarts of this stuff and it is wicked good! most of it is laid aside in the fridge. i used a pint of it to make a test batch of panettone. the results are spectacular. i had bought a loaf at marc’s to eat for breakfast, but i’ll be using that for bread pudding. i made mine in individual sizes, baking them in french paper cases from sur la table. i’ll think you’ll agree that they are lovely. you’ll have to trust that they are also scrumptious!
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