I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays this fine Boxing Day morning, and that you are all not too hung over from last night's festivities! I am just relieved this trying time in my life is over and that life can now return to normal.
Which includes posting here!
Let me just briefly finish my round-up of the Solstice meal I served on Monday (though the dessert will be Monday's Magazine Monday post so, really, I'm only covering the side dishes right now).
So, in addition to the sausage-stuff, bacon-latticed pork loin roast I served, I made three sides.
One was very simple, and that was steamed yellow beans from my garden, which I took the time to blanch and freeze immediately after picking in August. I was a little concerned about how they would turn out because when I removed them from the freezer, they looked odd...Not freezer burnt, but kind of translucent and splotchy. But, they steamed up just fine and were great!
I also made the same Brussels sprouts recipe I used last year. You can see that here. Really simple dish, even if slicing all the sprouts is a pain in the ass. Instead of the pine nuts, though, I used some of the pecans that came in the package from Jodi, and let me tell you, they totally elevated this dish to a new level! And once again, when I added these to the heat of the pan, they had an out-of-this-world aroma! Brilliant!
And then, finally, everyone's favourite, the Caramelized Onion & Brie Bread Pudding. Again, this was a smashing hit. I think a lot of people get potatoed-out over the holidays, and this is a great idea for a starch in your meal. In addition to using brie, and party because of the exorbitant cost of brie in these parts, I had a bunch of mozzarella left over from the pork loin, so I cubed it up and put it in, too. It was awesome and everyone was really happy with it.
So, apart from dessert, which as I said I'll post about on Monday, that's a wrap for Solstice 2009!
Now, onto Christmas Eve, which happens to be my father's birthday. We always have a big family get-together for this and my SIL does most of the cooking. Usually, Dad gets his favourite, steak & kidney pie, which is quite disgusting. This year, though, Shan decided to make another of Dad's perennial favourites, Beef Wellington.
But before we get to the main course, let's talk about the appies! Because we always have appies! First of all, Shan's aunt brought some West Coast prawns her brother had caught himself over the summer. These were to die for! There is absolutely no comparison between these prawns and the ones you buy frozen at the grocery store. They taste way richer, for one thing, and they have a much more tender texture and a more subtle colour. In the dish Shan's aunt brought, she paired the prawns with a sour cream mixture, cocktail sauce, and then topped with the prawns. We ate this with crackers and it was so good! Shan's aunt also makes a wonderful crab dip that has sambal olek in it. It was gone very quickly, I can tell you that. And finally, because my dad doesn't touch seafood with a 10-foot pole, Shan made him some stuffed mushroom cups, which were also excellent.
So, if you don't know what Beef Wellington is, basically, it's fillet mignon wrapped in puff pastry with shallots & mushrooms. Shan added gorgonzola this time, though not for me as I cannot stand moldy cheese. She did an outstanding job and everyone in attendance was thrilled to bits.For side dishes, we had steamed asparagus and green beans, salad, roasted butternut squash, and a risotto made with aged Asiago cheese.
This was a meal you'd pay a lot of money for in a restaurant, let me tell you! It was incredibly impressive. Thanks to Shan for all your hard work!
And yes, there was dessert. But that deserves a post of it's own, so you'll have to be patient with me!