Did I really eat all that!
This is how I felt on NewYears Eve. Did I really eat all that food? I nibbled and tasted everything but luckily didn’t gain any weight. The food fest started at my last blog and only stopped this morning.
While I was in Vancouver over the holidays, I worked the weekends at the Warehouse and boy was it ever busy! The days I didn’t work I was relegated to cooking dinner for 12 every night. I think we were at the grocery store at least 3-4 times a day as well as bringing home interesting food from the Gourmet Warehouse , owned by my friend Caren McSherry. I think I had one day of no cooking on Christmas eve when my brother ordered a mega load of Japanese food.
Christmas morning was delayed as my husband Mark flew in from Toronto. We held off eating till 11am. My sister Ruth had baked fresh croissants and prepared a beautiful fruit salad. My contribution was shucking 5 dozen “yummy Kusshi oysters” sent over from my friend Keith at Stellar Bay Oyster farm and vodka from “the Homeland”. My 90 yr. old mother really enjoyed those “ultimate” delights. Unfortunately I didn’t wear a protective glove and ended up with a few war injuries.
It seemed like I didn’t even have time to breathe and we were back at the dinner prep. The night before we had watched Gordon Ramsey’s Christmas special where he said when he was working in France he was told that you needed to rest the turkey for the same length that you cooked it. We tried this method and I will always do this now because the turkey ended up extremely moist.
My brother and my daughter are stuffing fanatics so I had to make a double recipe but we had trouble finding a container to mix it all in. We ended up using a storage tub. My brother David, is a self professed expert on pretty much everything so in order to avoid criticism I tried to prepare the mashed potatoes to his specifications. They turned out really well but I still received comments on how to improve for next time. We originally were going to have brussel sprouts with bacon and mushrooms but we ended up with a very bitter bag of brussel sprouts so 5 minutes before sitting down to eat we made butter poached corn kernels simply seasoned with salt and pepper(unbelievably good). The meal would not be complete without Christmas pudding. Unfortunately not too many of the family like it so we changed it up slightly by making Christmas Pudding Trifle. The one thing that I am truly grateful for is a wonderful brother-in-law who did all the dishes. Love you Bill!!!
Cooking for 12 can be pretty intense but Boxing Day was going to be the ultimate challenge. My oldest sister and her clan were going to be joining us for a dinner and get together. This would have been the first time in over ten years we would all be under the same roof, all 30 of us. Because they were coming at 4, Ruth and I gave ourselves a 2 pm deadline of having everything ready. I did most of the cooking and Ruth arranged the rest.
For starters I made an antipasto platter and a giant cheese platter. I loved the pickled walnuts with the Irish Blue cheese. I barbecued a 4kg beef tenderloin to perfection and glazed a 9kg ham with whiskey marmalade.
Quinoa salad with bocconcini, caesar salad and potato salad were the side dishes. My mom normally makes the best buns in the world but with her failing sight we let her off the hook and bought them from a local baker (fresh baked). It turned out to be a pretty overwhelming day for my mom but hopefully we won’t wait another 10 years to all get together.
Our daughters Jennifer and Tash had spent the previous 3 days baking up a storm as they had volunteered to make the desserts. They did a fabulous job and I have stolen some of the recipes for the blog. Some of the desserts were egg nog and peppermint marshmallows, red velvet whoopee pies, gingerbread and cranberry bliss bars, sugar cookies and Jennifer’s famous Chai Tea Macaroons.
The following day I spent the day reorganizing the leftovers into a turkey soup and ham and bean soup. That wasn’t the end of the eating. When we arrived back in Toronto, we continued grazing as soon as we got off the plane. We met up with our best friends for dinner at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen , a fun restaurant close to our condo. Capping off a week of ginormous calories was our evening at my best food buddy’s home. Roberto Punzo and I go back almost 10 years when he taught some classes at my cooking school. He is one of the most talented chefs I know. The guest for his New Years Eve party brought the appetizers and he orchestrated the main meal of Jamaican Jump Up Soup for the started and beef tenderloin with Foie Gras and Gorgonzola sauce over tricoloured Israeli Couscous and Haricot Vert. We paired that with a difficult to acquire Australian wines, “The Rock”.
Thank God the holidays are over and I can get back to normal eating. Over the next few days I will be posting recipes from the holidays that I hope you will enjoy.
Wishing everyone a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!
Did I really eat all that!