Friday, December 25, 2020

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

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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.

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


Thank you for your cooperation, 
Sandi