Ready, Set, Christmas!

I believe this is my last 20 minutes of free time for the next 3 days, so I thought I’d post my weekly roundup a wee bit early. This weekend’s activities are timed so precisely that I almost considered making a Gantt chart to keep track of it all (but fortunately, I’m not quite that anal). Still, we have thought about hiring an air traffic controller to make sure all our comings and goings are perfectly timed and there are no nasty mid-family collisions.

Christmas starts tomorrow with lunch with extended family, my father’s side. From there, we go to open house at my aunt’s. Then home, where I am cooking a simple winter dinner for mom, stepdad, brother and stepbrothers. Here is the menu:

  • Spiced Nuts to start
  • Mixed green salad with vinaigrette
  • White Chicken Chili (recipe courtesy of the brand-new issue of Cook’s Illustrated)
  • Cornbread
  • Key Lime Squares and store-bought Pirouline cookies for dessert

I’ll let you know how it turns out, but I think it sounds fairly fabulous.

Sunday begins bright and early with brunch with extended family, my mother’s side. Then, late lunch at Maggiano’s with in-laws, mother, stepfather and brother (family-style, natch). We’ll roll ourselves home, and I hope I’ll get some alone time with my hubby to exchange stocking stuffers.

Monday, again up bright and early to the in-laws for breakfast and present bonanza. From there straight to my father’s for Christmas dinner. Back to in-laws to pick up dogs (they can’t visit dad’s because there are too many animals there already). And then home, exhausted, fat and happy (I hope).

I’m just so glad I’m taking the rest of next week off. I’ll need all that time to recover and fast.

Best Recipe of the Week

That would have to be the aforementioned Key Lime Squares. I actually almost tossed the recipe because after pulling the perfectly baked master square from the oven, I then carelessly cracked it in a couple of places, ruining its pristine pale green beauty (sorry there’s no photo). Upon reflection (and after sampling a couple), I realized this was not the recipe’s fault, but my own. I think if I am going to attempt more baking, I am going to have to learn to be a) more precise and b) how to take my time. These should be useful skills to apply to other areas of life. Perhaps it’s time to finally purchase a kitchen scale so I know exactly how much 5 ounces of animal crackers is and can turn out a crust that’s not quite so fragile.

Worst Recipe of the Week

You asked for it (well, Cooking Chat did), you got it. When I gave up eating beef, I should have accepted that I would have to give up many other things as well — such as burgers, for instance. But foolishly, I keep trying to find a substitute. The Quick Turkey Burgers I tried from The New Best Recipe may finally have brought me to the realization that my life is to be burger-less. The burgers were actually quite flavorful and moist, and it is very hard to keep turkey burgers from completely drying out. But they just couldn’t hold together. Even with the added ricotta cheese, there wasn’t enough fat to hold it in a nice burger shape. I don’t truly blame the recipe, though, which gave it the old college try; I have accepted now that there is no burger without beef.

(P.S. I am aware of the existence of veggie burgers and will eat them if necessary, but do not consider them burgers or a part of my regular diet.)

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2 thoughts on “Ready, Set, Christmas!

  1. cooknkate 23 December 2006 at 10:07 am

    yum….love piroulines. I bought some too, dark chocolate.

    I look forward to hearing about the chili. I saw that too and wondered about it.

  2. shannonoz 26 December 2006 at 10:12 am

    I posted my variation on the recipe. It was a good recipe overall but definitely needed some adjustments to suit my preconceptions of chili. I also thought that 9 chiles was overkill, but tastes vary, I guess.

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