What's for Dinner #16 - 12/2016 - the (sometimes) Crazy Holiday Yule Edition

Finding the perfect Christmas trees (either cutting it down yourself or in a local tree lot or finding the right fake one at a big box store!). Standing on line for a visit with the perfect Santa Claus in the local mall. Going to see the Nutcracker at your local theater. Christmas concerts by your kids or professionals. Watching a “Charlie Brown Christmas” or “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer”.

Finding the dreidel and menorah and making sure you have fresh candles to celebrate the 8 nights of Hanukkah.

Digging out the kinara and giving it a place of honor to celebrate the 7 principles of Kwanzaa.

Battling the crowds at the mall to shop - or just doing it all online at Amazon and having it all delivered. :smiley:

Gathering families together, and paying respect to ancestors and traditions.

The holiday trifecta happens all at the same time this year: Hanukkah on December 24, Christmas on the 25th, and Kwanzaa on the 26th.

Central to all three? The FOOD. And even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, it’s still a great time for wonderful food. Everyone’s planning, I’m sure. What’s cooking?


As for me? My first December meal is Sketti and Sawce and Wine. No pictures - it’s not easily to artfully plate. And you all know what it looks like anyway.


It has been a busy week, so I’ve been relying heavily on leftovers and rotisserie chicken. Luckily the kittens like the white meat, because I can’t stand it!


Tonight I have time to cook! We’ll be kicking the weekend off with an appetizer of mini salmon-jalapeno “burgers,” followed by a grilled flap steak with an herb sauce and some roasted Brussels sprouts. I’m thinking of smoking some ribs this weekend - it’s going to be cool, but not rainy, so hopefully my smoker’s insulation will be up to the challenge.


A soupy stew of swede, parsnips, potatoes with Speck and smoked sausage. I always add fennel seeds and juniper berries to this but I think it’s just me. (Photo later)



While picking up a couple of VitaMix blender knock offs at Aldi the other day I went home with a lot of cheeses and veggies as well as meats. It had been a few since I was last there. They improved.

The results of my trip

Portabello ravioli With asparagus and salad. Lightly browned butter, parm and pine nuts made it sing as did the Pinot


Jiminy Crickets, what a week. Thankful it’s ovah.

WINE. There was wine poured at the same time the cats’ food was being put in their bowls.

There was more as dinner was being prepared.

And yes, there was more during dinner. Pffffttt. So sue me. :stuck_out_tongue:

Dinner was a half pork tenderloin, quick-marinated in a rosemary-thyme-garlic-salt/pepper-olive oil mix and pan-seared. A Tbsp of cognac into the pan after it was browned, along with about 1/4 cup of white wine. Poured over the tenderloin in a baking dish, and into the oven to finish cooking.

Apple-cider Israeli couscous, green beans and applesauce. A schmear of cider syrup under the pork tenderloin, and it was dinner.

Did I mention wine?


Not sure i have had striped ravioli…they’re cute! Sounds like a great meal. I love a little crunchy bit ontop of my meal like those pine nuts

The ravioli were better than anticipated. The mushroom flavor really stood out

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Grilled venison sirloin and tenderloin, lingonberries, pfifferlinge in heavy cream, whole egg handmade spätzle, cauliflower with butter and fresh nutmeg, and äpfel blaukraut:

The venison was young and extremely tender.


What a gorgeous feast!

There is still no fridge until next Tuesday. The repair guy was late last wednesday, need to change time. Luckily the temperature outdoor ranges from 2-8ºC and no rain, patio is my new fridge now!

There are so many wild sea basses on sale today, only 10€ a kilo ! Got a big one for dinner. With an excellent mango spanish salad and lots of cheeses…a fulfilling dinner.

The wonderful fish before cooking…


Before the dinner, we had the last remaining riz au lait with vanilla, grapefruit.


Long morning chat with my sister. Then errands, including poinsettias for work.
Steak for dinner.

Boneless strip steak, seasoned only with salt and pepper, seared in butter and olive oil, finished in a hot oven (while basting with more butter).

Sauteed mushrooms and minced garlic, seasoned with salt, pepper, fresh thyme, and finished with a Tbsp. of heavy cream.

Baked tater with salt & pepper, butter and the ever-present ramekin of sour cream. Steamed and buttered asparagus.

Wine. Prolly ice cream for laters. And whatever I find to watch on the tube.

Stair climbing by the cats this morning. Well, by one of them. Alfie just swiped at Climber Cat, a.k.a. Buster.


This week was a blur of really long intensely stressful days at work and too many sad desk dinners of ho-hum delivery.
Last night i used some leftover rice from a delivery dinner to make a quick congee using half veg broth and half coconut milk, some ginger, lots of black pepper, and topped with cilantro and scallions and shredded carrots.
Tonight when i got home from working on yet another weekend (ugh) i just nuked a sweet potato and dribbled almond butter over it with more cilantro and scallions, a mug of miso with lots of smoked tofu on the side.
Wine, dark chocolates and lots of sleeping are in my near future!


BBQ!!! I’ve got three racks of ribs AND a 5lb slab of pork belly in the smoker right now. Should be ready to go in another three hours or so. Most of the pork belly will probably go in the freezer for future use, and whatever ribs don’t get eaten tonight will go to work with DH this week for lunches. Sides tbd, but I need to run to the grocery store anyway so I may pick up some haricots verts, they sound good for some reason.


To the mod: I accidentally deleted a duplicate of the photo in my last post. If you are around can you replace it with this one for me (http://i.imgur.com/Q3vDMxi.jpg)? Thanks.

Biondanonima, BBQ in december? I know you’re not in the southern hemisphere… -2C (28F?) here. Enjoy the BBQ and weather!

VikingK, the food feels like “home” to me. Totally my kind of food.

Naf, wild seabas is getting popular here also. Farmed kind is always available but smaller.

LindaW, thanks for posting your cat pics along with your meals! I enjoy looking at both things!

Ttrockwood, your rice porridge has coconut milk. I like savoury rice porridge. I also eat Taiwanese smoked tofu and tempeh. Hardly tell about it here, however. Any new ideas for tempeh? I have a whole block in the fridge. Have had wine, pure chocolate and some sleep. I need more of the latter as well. Keep waking up in the night because it’s cold!

Scoobadoo97, I haven’t seen those nifty raviolis. Maybe our Aldi here is not as creative as yours. (Haven’t been there in a while so I can’t say. I prefer Lidl, a similar supermarket and far far better than the Aldi here.)

Yesterday: we have been eating meat (hare ragout, lamb and ostrich) for days and needed some salad with something from the sea for a change.

Today: wild duck with sour cherries (braised in the oven). Duck always goes great with (sour) berries. This wild duck is very very small and doesn’t need to be cooked as long as the usual farm raised kind. Meat is tender considering its fat content, which is a lot less than farm raised. Doesn’t taste like a swamp, either. I have had wild duck breasts that taste strong.

(Loosely based on this recipe I found in a New Zealander cookery mag). I prefer the cherries whole. Half the of cherry sauce was reduced to a thick, concentrated sauce for the duck. The sauce on the plate here was reduced later and would be used for the next meal of goose breast.


Nope, I’m in NYC - it’s not terribly cold here just yet, about 8-9C today. Still, the smoker actually doesn’t require a lot of time outside, so I’m hoping to smoke year round! We’ll see how well the until holds temperature in cold weather.

DH voted for mac and cheese as a side dish, none of this silly green vegetable stuff. My tofu mac and cheese uses cauliflower puree in the sauce, though, so at least there will be SOME vegetation lurking in the meal!

BTW, your duck looks gorgeous!


Cut corn and green onions simmered with cream and half and half along with some fresh basil. Topped with sautéed Patagonian scallops. I was inspired by Vivian Howard’s season 4 on green onions