Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas Traditions: In 52 years, I've only cooked Chtristmas Dinner for two twice!

                                                                                                    Ad-Free Blog

Even when traveling to my mom and dad's place, I've always cooked Christmas Dinner for a bunch. Covid has had us all changing our Holidays around. We have always celebrated Christmas Eve with a special Danish Dinner. The menu changes with a few staples that HAVE to be served: rice pudding and red sweet/sour cabbage. The main course may be duck, goose, turkey, pork roast, and in recent years when we have had LOTS of friends and family--and ham.


The last time I cooked for two---we had just had a son two weeks before and were in Northern Wisconsin far from family. I think my husband cooked, I don't even remember 1974 Christmas, baby brain I suppose?

Yesterday, setting the table for two ---was extremely strange. I didn't bring out the porcelain or the silver. The silver boxes are taped up to help with tarnishing and the dishes are all so carefully packed, that to drag out two of everything didn't seem necessary. Horror, I used paper napkins, and cobbled together place settings from this and that of my everyday dishes and treasures. I usually use blue and white for Christmas in my red and white kitchen. 


The first thing started is the RICE PUDDING. For two---I used 1/2 cup of rice and whole milk, this is simmered all day(at least 5 hours) adding milk continually until it reaches a thick consistency.


Meanwhile a jar of sweet sour red cabbage simmers on the stove with one shredded apple. Usually a clump of butter is added, but we were trying to stay a little more healthy on this Christmas.


Just put this on low heat and cover, simmer all day. The smell is delicious...and it's not Christmas until the scent fills the air.


I took a 1/4 of a Pork Loin and carefully sliced it into a long piece. Just keep unrolling the pork as you slice. My thickness ended being about 3/4-1" thick. 
Lightly salt and pepper the entire surface. I used 12 soft prunes spaced evenly, thin cut apple slices soaked in lemon water, 1 medium onion finely chopped, 



1/2 bunch of parsley chopped, more salt and pepper and a good sprinkle of marjoram all across the whole loin. 





The next step is to roll this all back up and tie.



I don't have photos of this, but I skewered it as I went along, but it took 4 hands and there were none for the camera. Roll tightley, skewer, tie cotton string tightly around many times and across the ends.


I had prepared a pan with a layer of caroots, apples, onions and celery, sprinkled with the left over chopped onions and celery.  These will be my roasting rack and provide moisture and flavor for the gravy. Pork loin is notorious for not providing enough goodies for gravy alone.




I browned the roast on all sides in  some butter and vegetable oil, got a nice sear on it.


Placed the roast on the veggies, poured all the drippings over them.



I know I will have veggies left over---but these will be used for the next meal.


Lightly tented the roast is in the oven at 300 degrees for 1/2 hour then turned down to 275 degrees. Two hours later, the vegetables provide oodles of moisture as seen in the above photo.



Meanwhile the stove top is full. Carrots, potatoes, the red cabbage and rice occupy a burner. 


4-5 hours later. The roast is done, and resting before cutting. All the juice and drippings, potato water are boiled down for gravy, also made with whole milk and browned flour in butter. NUM. Normally the prunes should have also been in the bottom of the roasting pan...but I forgot. This addition makes a sweet dark gravy, so my gravy is simply veggie and meat flavorful and light...which is more than fine!



We start the meal with a cocktail and rice pudding. Normally an almond is placed in one bowl, and then passed around a table full of eager diners. Everyone eats their bowl of rice pudding, the one who gets the almond hides it until the last mouthful is eaten. A prize (a pig of somesort) and candy or a bottle of wine is awarded the lucky person with the almond.

Strange with just two people we skipped all that!


The pudding is rich and delicious, creamy and so reminiscent of all the the Christmases Past, since I was a very little girl.


We had a light salad, greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, zuchinni and a bit of cheese.




Very refreshing after the rich pudding.


Hubby slice the roast. Baked long and slow, it is perfect.


Red cabbage, carrots, roast, asparagus and gravy.



I must say it was delicious! 


A friend dropped by with a lovely peppermint Poinsettia as a gift, and my thrift store ornament has a surprise.



It plays a selection from the Nutcracker Suite...! 




So dinner, music, and traditions with
coffee and Christmas cookies for a light dessert!

Time for our Facetime---for opening presents with the kids---it lasted an hour and a half, and was so much fun! 

Merry Christmas to All!
2020 Christmas wasn't bad at all. 
Joyful and with family---
Keep your traditions and Love and it will be perfect.

Join me at these fine blog parties:


PLEASE -Do not use my photos without my permission and linking back to this post on my blog.


Thank you for your cooperation, 
Sandi 























13 comments:

  1. It looks as if you two had the best time celebrating Christmas Day. I am salivating at the sight of all that food. It all looks delicious. How fun for your family to open all the presents via FaceTime. Yes, a lot of us have had to 'do' Christmas differently this year but that just means we have had to be inventive and think outside the square. You know what?? I feel like some rice pudding right now. =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Kim. I hope you had a chance to celebrate in some way. We have a very small family only 7, and then I facetimed a couple of friends and family individually! Facebook was also a great way to connect...I think we did the best we could. At least we are smiling! Grins, and have a Happy New Year!

      Delete
  2. I'm glad that you had such a wonderful meal, it all looks so delicious! My husband and I were alone too, and we had turkey roast filled with mushrooms. It was very dry, I'm not a good cook hahaha! But, we had fun, and obviously you had too. Here we eat rice pudding after our meal in stead of as an entree. It's funny to see the differences depending on from what country the traditions come from. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I forgot to ask, are you of Danish descent?
    Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Linda. I'm half Danish, half Lithuanian. And, the pudding is sometime served cold with folded in whip cream and almonds, called 'ris alamonde' which is really delicious also. Small turkeys tend to be dry naturally---I usually loosely fill a 12# turkey with just celery, onions and herbs. Roast high for 40 min, then way down--I'm really bad at translating temps. We tent our turkeys with foil, or roasted in a brown paper bag will give you a moist turkey! Happy New Year! Sandi

      Delete
  4. Sandi,
    Sorry it took me so long to get back to you and thank you for visiting!! Been really busy with having the family here for both Christmas eve and Day and with the passing of Joe's mom, it has been stressful as there is drama. ....Glad you had a nice Christmas!! Stay safe, healthy and happy!
    Hugs,
    Debbie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry you had a stressful holiday. We have lost family on holidays and it is so hard. Hope the New Year brings you peace and joy. Hugs, Sandi

      Delete
  5. Humm...Looks yummy!You had a great time!Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Maristella, it was delicious and we ate for several days on this...love the roasted vegetables, my favorite! Hugs and Happy New Year!

      Delete
  6. The main thing would have been to ensure that a sort of apologetic tone didn't pervade the proceedings. After all, Hubby would have been your first pick if you'd had a free choice on the matter.

    For the last forty or fifty years we've frequently had Christmas for two. Miserable Anglo gits, I hear you mutter, they don't know the meaning of celebration. But in fact neither of us would have had it otherwise. Our two daughters flew the coop, each at an early age, and found themselves loaded with those strange appendages - the in-laws. Thus on festive occasions we had to share our offsping with others. No one family had a monopoly of Christmas dinner. And after all there was always Boxing Day (though not of course in the USA) and/or New Year.

    That said, your initial mutter was the truth. We are miserable Anglo gits, famed for our lack of sociability. And just lucky enough to have found partners of a similar persuasion. Why, the previous sixty years of marriage have just flown by - like, er, fifty-nine years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Always interesting to hear how others celebrate. I certainly don't mind celebrating with hubby, we just found ourselves strangely---UNBUSY which apparently has always been a part of the holiday, rushing around, visiting, and cooking, cooking, cooking. I didn't miss the $400 grocery bill for the week, LOL. Cheers, Hope you have a Happy and pleasant New Year!

      Delete
  7. That's "offspring". Offsping sounds like the infinitive version of the verb for getting up to something sordid in the back of a car.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for any and all comments. I will be happy to answer any questions or comments in replies or email! HUGS!