Friday, December 23, 2011

In The Kitchen

It's been a busy day in the RabbitsandRuns house - especially the kitchen, but I'll get to that in a minute.

Today is also my mom's birthday!  She's never been a fan of being a Christmas baby.  As a child, her birthday and Christmas presents were often combined, or if they weren't, they were usually wrapped in Christmas paper.  As a result, I've been well-educated over the years as to what to do and what not to do when dealing with a holiday birthday.  This came in handy when my half-sister (dad's kid) was born on December 26th!  In honor of the occasion, The Husband and I took mom and my uncle to lunch at a build-you-own-stirfry place (mom's request) and then followed it with cake and presents at mom's house.  Low key, but still a separate celebration (Holiday Birthday Rule #23: Always have a separate celebration.)

After lunch and a sugar rush, it was back home and into the kitchen.  I seem to have been assigned to bring all things carbohydrate to the family Christmas celebration on Sunday.  Original Assignment: Bring stuffing and mashed potatoes.  My Interpretation: Bring two kinds of stuffing and two potato dishes.  What? I like interesting food and my mom's side of the family is the size of a small army!

First up: Garlic & Romano Smashed Red Potatoes

I started by washing and hacking up 5 pounds of red potatoes and boiling them.
After draining, they were smashed with milk, butter, romano cheese and minced garlic.  I love this dish because it's perfectly acceptable to leave some lumps - they taste better that way.

Finished Product
Dish #2: Mushroom Stuffing. 

Diced onion, celery and sliced mushrooms were sauteed in butter, seasoned with some black pepper, and then combined with bread cubes and chicken stock.  The results are not photogenic (and a wee bit on the moist side), but they taste awesome - see below.

Ugly, but tasty!
Dish #3: Apple Cranberry Stuffing

More chicken stock, more bread cubes, 2 cups of peeled, diced apples, and a small bag of craisins combined to make this dish.  Oddly, this one turned out much drier than the first.  It's also not quite as flavorful, but that's probably a good thing since some of my relatives are not the most adventurous eaters on the planet.  The two stuffing recipes could easily be 'vegetarian-ized' by replacing the chicken stock with vegetable stock or even 'vegan-ized' by using a non-dairy butter substitute like Earth Balance.

The final dish is the one I was most excited about.  It's a Three Cheese Mashed Potato Casserole that I stumbled onto on The Hungry Mouse.  I loved the step-by-step instructions, complete with photos  - it made me less nervous when my potatoes began to look more like a giant, gooey cheese ball before I topped it and put it in the oven.  The only part I'm not happy about is not being able to taste-test the final product before serving it since it would be totally obvious that I had! (I seriously can't wait to try more of the recipes from The Hungry Mouse)

See what I meant about obvious?

It pouf-ed up like a souffle when it baked!
On that note, I've got a full dishwasher to run and sink full of dishes to wash!

Are you doing any holiday cooking?  If so, what are you making?  If you're not cooking, what are your must-have holiday foods?

1 comment:

April said...

The food looks nummy! We started a new Christmas tradition around here...king crab legs, scallops, sword fish for my dad...steamed asparagus and au gratin potatoes.