Saturday, January 12, 2008

Christmas Indulgence 2007

Christmas dinner was amazing! Because more than 20 people came to dinner, we made much more than usual. Since I arrived in Ottawa less than an hour before dinner, I was forced to listen to over 20 lectures about how everyone was waiting on me. It sounds pretty terrible, but our family really loves to tell people off. It was the equivalent of a “Welcome back, Lucy” hug.

I arrived late, so I didn’t get to make gingerbread houses with the kids. Here’s a picture of one of the gingerbread men that someone made. I hope Christine will come back to this post to elaborate.

Well, there's nothing much to say. We used a gingerbread house kit (which included little bags of candy, icing, the gingerbread men, and the house parts). I wasn't only there to make sure the kids didn't make a huge mess. I wanted to lend a helping hand too. Here are some gingerbread people that were made:

The turkey was the star, of course. It was a Butterball turkey, which made a big difference. Here’s a lovely picture of the turkey in the oven, beside the pot of prime rib.

We normally use a vertical roaster for the turkey, and bake the stuffing separately. It takes off about an hour of baking time.

I’m not sure if you can see it, but the breast meat was superbly juicy. My main gripe with turkey (and any other roast poultry) is that the white meat is always overdone and dry. As a result, I prefer dark meat. Sadly, we don’t have a picture of the entire platter of carved turkey. The dark meat was exceptional.

Besides the turkey, we also had prime rib. Yummmmmmmmmy. It was cooked to absolute perfection (in my opinion): bloody rare.

Unfortunately, no one else in my family eats raw meat like I do, so my mum just cooked them in the au jus. Here, the bloody slices are simmering in the drippings on the stove.

Not only did we have turkey and prime rib, we also made some roast ham. Gasp! So much foooooooooooooood! We generously drizzled a mustard and honey glaze. Here’s a picture of the honey and mustard we used to glaze.

The ham was previously frozen, which wrecked the texture of the meat. If you take a close look at the slices, you can see little holes.

The texture was off-putting. I usually eat more ham than turkey, but on this occasion, I just ate the prime rib and juicy turkey with all the fixings.

As Christine and I have mentioned before, my mum’s stuffing is revered by family and guests alike. The key to her stuffing is poultry seasoning.

"How do you make stuffing?" you ask. Stuffing is easy to make. Just follow Lucy's non-recipe.

She sautéed ungodly amounts of onions, celery, and mushrooms in a mound of butter and a bit of salt. Then she added about a loaf of bread, cut into cubes. Tossing in salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning, the only ingredient left is a cup or two of boiling water to bring everything together.

She popped it into the oven for 15 minutes, just to get the top crusty, and it’s done! (Sorry for the blurry picture.)

Pictured here are the two sauces: au jus and gravy. The au jus was for the prime rib, while the gravy was for the turkey. I don’t remember if it was beef or turkey gravy. It might have been a mix of both. Sigh. I really should have taken notes.

My family loves my mashed potatoes as much as they love my mum’s stuffing. I’m not just bragging here. When I don’t make enough, I really get an earful from the family. “You know, making too much mashed potatoes is better because then we take it to work with the leftover meat.” Yeah, yeah. I just hate peeling the potatoes, so I only peel as much as I think we need. This time, when I arrived, the potatoes were already boiling on the stove. The dirty work was done for me! I added the seasonings and mashed them up with enthusiasm.

Another family favourite is my uncle’s heart of palm salad. I’ve blogged about it before, so I won’t get into the details. Here it is:

Christine actually didn’t get a picture of the wine we had that night. I don’t remember what we drank. Curse my poor memory! The first bottle was a beautifully mellow Syrah (also known as Shiraz). It was a very expensive bottle, I remember, and we killed it in about 15 minutes. It was unexpectedly smooth. Hmm… how do I compare it? Like cotton sheets versus silk sheets. I’ve always liked Shiraz wines, but this one blew my mind. Once I find out the particular name from my uncle, I’ll be sure to update it.
(Lucy's note: So I totally lied about the wine being a Shiraz. Christine later found this photo on her camera. Whatever this is, it's bloody amazing.)

The second bottle of wine was forgettable. I mean, it had a really tough act to follow. I’m sure it was a decent wine, but after the first bottle, the second dims in comparison.

Christmas dinner was great this year. We had some relatives come down from Hong Kong, as well as Montréal. We had a lot of catching up to do. All of the adults went to the Casino du Lac-Leamy after dinner, and I took the kids home with me. We played on the new Xbox 360 until 3:00am.

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