Tuesday 12.25.12 (Christmas)

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I’m not really a Christmas person.
Still, humbuggery aside, I’m really looking forward to spending Christmas with Natalie, Erin and Shaun. I spent a good chunk of the day yesterday preparing my contribution to the dinner; it was really nice to get in the kitchen and work out some new recipes.

Meat: Pork, Bacon and Reindeer Sausage with dried cranberries, fresh and dried cherries, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, white pepper and allspice. I’m curious to see how the flavors develop. I seasoned the meat on Sunday, ground and stuffed it on Monday… so they should be perfect when we cook them later on today.

Desert: Cinnamon Orange Zest Ice Cream with Orange Slices (candy). I modified my favorite ice cream recipe- the Chai Tea one- by steeping herbal tea bags in the milk. The tea has Black tea, rosehips, chamomile, cinnamon, lemongrass, peppermint, jasmine tea, papaya leaves, anise seed, ginger root, orange peel and orange oil. I used six egg yolks, so it’s a fluffy aerated ice cream.

Butter: Erin bough crusty bread for dinner, so I put together a chive and parsley salted butter. I always feel like a Kitchen Wizard when I make butter. It’s a simple process- whipping cream + kitchen aid mixer + time, but it’s always exciting to watch the solids separate from the liquids and become butter.

4 X 6I know that Natalie is making some kickass brussels sprouts as well as a baked brie. Not sure what Erin and Shaun have planned, but when it all comes together I’m sure it’s going to be a really fun dinner. Then we’re going to see Tarantino’s new film, Django Unchained. I loathe Jamie Foxx; absolutely detest even seeing his face, so I’m not really sure if I’ll like it or not, but… Movies on Christmas are a tradition, so what the hell.

(updated after Christmas)

Ok. So the ice cream was amazing. The spices and sweets worked really well together and the six egg yolks in the custard made it nice and airy. Total win there. Regrettably the sausages didn’t fare so well… turns out that I forgot on of only THREE steps in sausage making… to blend the ground meat into a paste. Instead I just stuffed the casings with ground meat. That led to a weird texture and dryness, since the fat wasn’t evenly distributed throughout. On the upside, the seasoning before grinding thing left them tasting amazing, just a matter of remembering the proper prep next time. In fairness with my caloric restrictions I haven’t really been eating/making sausages, so it had been a while. Not going to beat myself up over it. Plus Christmas dinner was really fun. I was really glad Natalie and Erin finally got to meet. The movies turned out to be overwhelming- I remember back when Xmas day wasn’t a really popular day at the cinema, and you could go see movies without any hub bub. Django was packed; almost every seat taken and the whole theater complex was packed. I guess the studios see the potential of Xmas releases now and are stacking the deck, cause man… I almost regretted going there were so many folks. The movie was good, lots of great cameos (Lee Horsely!) and well worth a second screening despite it’s 2hr 45 min run time.

I couldn’t have asked for a nicer Christmas.

Photo: Rabbit Graffiti, Montreal

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