Unlike past years, we just had a small family dinner with our immediate family earlier this week on Monday, October 14th. On the menu: smoked salmon cream cheese appetizers, prime rib roast, pan-dripping gravy, sweet potato mash, buttered carrots and corn, and dinner rolls. We were going to have three kinds of homemade desserts: apple pie, apple crumble, and cookies.
The day started off slowly. I didn't end up going downstairs until 11:30am. It was nice to sleep in after a hectic week at work. My brief morning began with open-faced peanut butter banana sandwiches and a cup of coffee.
We began our prep work by making pies and cookies once everyone had a bite to eat in the morning. The apples actually came from our Golden Delicious apple tree, which Dad planted about 10 years ago. Mom made the pie pastry out of Tenderflake and some butter. The apples were peeled, cored, sliced, and seasoned with brown sugar, cinnamon, and a bit of salt. Then some oatmeal crumble was made for apple crumble. There was a little confusion in the kitchen and we ended up making apple pies, apple crumble, and even an apple crumble pie. I'll touch more on that in another post. (Update: Apple Crumble Pie post is up.)
I also worked on these DoubleTree chocolate walnut cookie dough too. Once the cookie dough was done, I put the bowl into the fridge to firm up.
I've been thinking about making these beauties for a while now, well, since I stayed at the DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton. They gave us warm cookies when we checked in. So amazing!
Around that time, Lucy arrived and we began to snack some more. She put together a Ritz cracker with smoked salmon cream cheese, half an olive, and some dry dill. Looks good, doesn't it? Lucy even took this, and a few other, photos with my dSLR.
Costco had one of their smoked salmons on sale the during the week. Cream cheese was also on sale a week prior. So we stocked up on both of them. Dad chopped up some smoked salmon and mixed it with the cream cheese for a nice kitchen hack. The real smoked salmon pieces were so wonderful!
I was planning to make either a spinach dip or caramelized onion dip, but we loved the smoked salmon cream cheese so much that we didn't need anything else. True story.
For the sweet potato mash, the sweet potatoes were peeled and boiled. They were mashed with half and half cream, cinnamon, powdered ginger, salt, butter, and freshly cracked black pepper. There was a carrot left behind.
Once the mashed sweet potatoes were seasoned, they were spread into a baking pan and then topped off with marshmallows.
I'd use less ground ginger and add more black pepper next time. Maybe I'd bake the mashed sweet potatoes for a bit before topping with marshmallows next time. That way the mash would be hotter.
This is the prime rib roast out of the oven. The burned parts is just the cap of fat. The prime rib was baked to rare and then we had to pop it in the oven for more time. By the time it was taken out, the prime rib was medium-well.
I grabbed my camera and went back to the table but Lucy blocked me off from taking the photo. She wanted the first shot. Alrighty then. After she took the picture, I swooped in to take one on my camera.
That's most of our spread. The dinner rolls, ginger ale, and red wine are missing.
Having prime rib was a nice change to turkey. Maybe we'll try making lamb next year.
Jimmy really enjoyed the prime rib. "How do you make something like this?"
"First, you need to buy a high quality of prime ribs -- high quality. Then you just season it however way you like it; like with steak spice or salt and pepper." Lucy chimed in.
As for the desserts, I'll be writing about the apple crumble, apple pie, and apple crumble pie separately. Here are the DoubleTree chocolate walnut cookies. I based these cookies off Food Geek's recipe.
The cookies taste the best when enjoyed just like the hotel serves their cookies: warm. That way the chocolate chunks are still gooey. The proportions of walnuts and chocolate chunks to cookie dough was a bit off. I remember the cookie was chunkier. I'll have to try the recipe out again. Until then, I'll hold off on sharing it.
Cooking and baking with the family does get noisy, but that's because we all have our different ways of doing things. Things get done however elaborate the meal is. And that's because we all know how to cook and, to some extent, bake. The underlying lesson is to learn to cook and bake for yourself and others. It's a life lesson.