T & I had such a great time with his family and really enjoyed having them over for Christmas this year.
We started the evening with kimbap. One of my sister-in-laws is from Korea and offered to bring them as an appetizer. They are similar to sushi and are delicious. I nabbed a few while I was finishing up dinner and let me just say, I could’ve eaten a few more of those and I would’ve been set. Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of them. They were beautiful though!
For dinner, my Mother-in-Law graciously brought a honey baked ham that was well received by everyone.
As sides, I made stone ground gruyere grits by Claire Robison. They are some of my favorite grits and my go-to recipe. I do not add the bacon grease and I used homemade chicken stock.
Mixed Green Salad: Mixed Greens, thinly sliced purple onions, feta cheese, dried cranberries, candied pecans, and homemade balsamic vinaigrette. The ratio I use for Salad dressing is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. I always add sugar, salt, and pepper to the dressing then add more pepper to salad before I toss it.
1/2 c olive oil
1/8 c balsamic vinegar
1 t sugar
1/2 kosher salt
1/4 t freshly cracked black pepper
For incredible emulsification, blend the above ingredients for 10 seconds or until mixture thickens to desired consistency.
The roasted sweet potatoes were an answer to one of the prayers I prayed. I wanted a spicy, warm, & savory potato so I made up a spice blend and it was a success!
I peeled several pound of sweet potatoes, and cut them in wedges. Since most of the time I am not cooking for 12 people, below is a scaled down version that serves 4.
Preheat your oven to 400
mix together the following ingredients in a bowl:
1/2 t cumin
3/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 1/2 T brown sugar
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/4 t garlic powder
Peel and cut 3 medium sized sweet potatoes into wedges place on a sheet pan. Drizzle the potatoes with 2-3 t of olive oil and toss in the above spice mixture.
Roast for 15 minutes then flip potatoes and roast for an additional 15 minutes. Enjoy, these are good!
Lastly, I served two different baguettes from Panera. One was whole grain and one a regular french baguette.
For dessert, I served three different desserts.
First, is a cranberry trifle. I used a recipe from Martha Stewart for the trifle. For the pound cake in the trifle I used Ina Garten. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/plain-pound-cake-recipe/index.html
This dessert is where I got the title of this post. I was at my favorite Kroger late the Thursday night before Christmas dinner collecting all of the ingredients I needed. This Kroger did not have fresh or frozen cranberries. Frustrated that I didn’t get everything in one stop (which I can never seem to do) I headed to another Kroger around the corner. Kroger in Memphis recently bought out our other top grocer. So we have a
monopoly when it comes to grocery stores a plethora of Kroger grocery stores in a the city. No cranberries there, so I looked at my phone and saw that I had a few minutes before Target closed so a rushed over there and the cranberries that graced the produce section for over a month were no where to be seen. As I turned to walk out of Target I prayed that I would be able to find cranberries. I walked out of target and into the grocery store in the same shopping center with the same result. There was one more Kroger on my way home and I stopped in there, I spoke to two very kind men who were restocking the produce section— but the confirmed that they did not have any cranberries. It was getting really late and I knew that T would be home shortly so I headed home planning all of the stores I would scour tomorrow. If you are friends with me on facebook I do not update my status very often, but most people do and get many ‘likes’ and comments in response. I made the decision to post a HELP ME LOCATE CRANBERRIES status. Within minutes, I had several posts (thanks, friends!) As I was almost finished unloading all of my groceries, my doorbell rang. I was curious as to who it would be so late in the night, it was the answer to my prayer!! My dear friend Kaitlyn (the author my first guest post) and her husband were standing there with two bags of cranberries in tow! They said that they where at a Kroger (that I hadn’t gone to that night) when they saw my cry for help on facebook. They so kindly purchased a couple of bags and brought them to my house! I cannot tell you how much that blessed me 🙂 Thanks, Kaitlyn!! The next night, another friend gave me two bags of cranberries. I have increible friends and the Lord answered my prayer twice!
So, if you are able to locate cranberries, make this! It’s yummy and not overly sweet due to the zingy cranberries.
Next up, we have the chocolate of the evening. Triple chocolate cheesecake by Martha Stewart. This was decadent, rich for some. The optional ganache layer on top is a must! I served it with a raspberry coulis.
We end with a classic favorite, pumpkin pie served with whipped cream. I did not do anything fancy here. I just followed the recipe on the back of the pumpkin puree can. No, I did not use homemade pumpkin puree this time. I did, however, make my own pie crust. Here is the recipe: http://theitaliandishblog.com/imported-20090913150324/2011/9/9/you-will-make-homemade-one-minute-pie-dough-and-raspberry-pi.html
The rest of the evening was filled with a round of secret santa, egg nog, holiday flavored MMs, and family.
A Side note: Eating gluten free does not have to be boring or cause you to majorly miss out when it comes to Christmas dinner. One of my sister-in-laws has a gluten sensitivity and keeps a gluten-free diet. Besides the bread from Panera, the menu is completely gluten-free. I purchased a box of gluten-free All purpose flour and substituted it in the pound cake and pie crust. I got some gluten-free chocolate animal crackers from Whole Foods for the triple chocolate cheese cake. Everything was great, despite the lack of gluten.