The best latkes ever for Hanukkah, which sadly were not the best latkes ever this year because I foolishly tried some random farmer's market potatoes instead of yukon golds. We still ate them because you can't really make these latkes BAD, but it was not the glory of old. :'(
- Grate the potatoes into a big sack of CHEESECLOTH, not a kitchen towel or paper towels. So much easier and you can reuse it.
- Grate only slightly more than half of each potato (until it gets inconvenient) and toss the remaining bits into a bowl, then puree them along with the onion using an immersion blender or food processor and mix with the rest. <-- tip I got from justacat many years ago!
- Put a bit of the white starch from the drained liquid back into the grated potatoes.
Then there was Hypatia's six layer rainbow birthday cake with swiss meringue buttercream frosting. I have tried now four different vanilla cake recipes for the cake base and remain unsatisfied, so if you have a top-notch one that stands up to lots of stirring please point me at it!
In the Polish tradition, we have no meat on Xmas Eve, so I made salmon en croute mashed together from like ten different recipes. My filling was spinach wilted with garlic, then mixed with dijon mustard, butter, lemon zest, salt and pepper. I used puff pastry for the crust.
PS: WHENEVER A RECIPE TELLS YOU TO ROLL OUT DOUGH DO IT BETWEEN SHEETS OF PLASTIC WRAP OR PARCHMENT PAPER. Having seen a tip for this recently, I am now 1000% convinced that everyone who ever writes recipes about rolling out dough is doing some version of this and just not MENTIONING it, because it is SO MUCH EASIER. I have never before understood the phrase "easy as pie" because PIE IS NOT EASY, YOU ARE COVERED IN DOUGH AND IT STICKS AND HOW DO YOU GET IT IN THE PAN, unless you are doing it between plastic wrap, in which case it is--you guessed it--EASY AS PIE.
Then I made roast goose for Xmas Day by mashing up Serious Eats' roast goose and the cooking time/temp from this recipe for slow-roasted goose recipe -- steaming the goose the night before and dry-brining it worked great; one of the commenters in the Serious Eats recipe had the smart suggestion to steam the goose by filling your SINK with boiling water, which seems to me much less hazardous than dipping it in a boiling pot on the stove.
Finally, our New Year's Eve playdate menu, which was almost completely made-ahead the day before so I could run a D&D game for the kids:
* Braised short ribs a la Daniel Boulud -- made these with La Vielle Ferme Red the night before, and they came out super good, but tip, you do not need to double the rest of the recipe if you are doubling the meat :P and also it needs at least an hour and not half an hour to rewarm at 325.
* Make-ahead mashed potatoes which I made with Yukon Golds, nom nom
* Sauteed wild mushrooms (Hen of the Woods/Maitake and Portobellos) -- I made these with the same red wine from the short ribs instead of white.
* A mess of roasted cauliflower, broccoli, baby brussel sprouts, carrots, shallots, and garlic, which I cut up the night before; the day-of I just tossed them with olive oil and salt and pepper and herbs and threw in a sheet pan and roasted at 400*F for roughly an hour, occasionally stirring.
* Mini-pavlovas baked the night before (I have become an old hand at making swiss meringue now for frosting purposes, and this time I just piped it and baked it) and filled at the table with whipped cream and fruit. Did you know that you are supposed to chill your bowl and whisk before you make whipped cream? I did not but every recipe says to do it so I obeyed and noticed no difference. :>
And then I got my Secret Solenoid story done! :P
Also, go sign up for Chocolate Box! No one but me has requested/offered any of my fandoms so far! :sad emoji: Only 300 words, you can do it! details on chocolateboxcomm
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