So, my roommates usually go “home” for Christmas (home being about 15 minutes away). I’ve joined them a couple of times, and found that it was not my cup of tea. I don’t do the religious side of Christmas, and I felt sort of an outsider. Except when I had to step in and save dinner for them last year, because their mom, who is not exactly skilled in the kitchen, bought an uncooked ham and thought for some reason it was cooked (!!) until she opened it up. Me to the rescue, a bunch of random cobbled-together ingredients later, their ham was in the oven and Christmas dinner was saved.
Except for the part where, I don’t eat ham, and everything else that was going into dinner was laden with fat and sugar and pre-packaged frightening ingredients. As I’ve also been actively losing weight for the past couple of years, this wasn’t my idea of an acceptable meal, and I begged out of it, coming home and preparing a much smaller, healthier feast for myself.
This year is different, however, because while the girls are going to their parents in the morning, they’ll both be home for dinner, since they have to work the next day and can’t/don’t want to stay late over there. Add in that one of them was very recently diagnosed with hypertension, and simply can’t eat her mother’s cooking… well, you get the idea.
So I’m gearing up to make a Christmas dinner that will fill all the various voids, be healthy, as low-sodium as humanly possible (so no brined turkey, sadly! I was going to use my mother’s oh-so-yummy brining technique from Thanksgiving too… *sigh*), and still tasty.
I’ve played with this amazing balsamic reduction lately that I may end up doing as a glaze on the turkey. It’s sort of a by-taste thing, but the gist of it:
1 cup good balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup honey, or maple syrup
1-2 tsp (to taste) ground ginger
(normally a pinch of salt, I’ll be leaving that out this time)
optional: a pinch of cayenne pepper (to taste)
Combine in a pot over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, turn heat down, let simmer and reduce. You’ll end up a with a nice, thick glaze that’s sweet and spicy and tastes amazing on poultry. Adjust all ingredient amounts depending on the size of the meat you’ll be covering.
(I also do a marinade of the above ingredients and some olive oil and whatever herbs are handy, obviously not reduced, that tastes divine on steak.)
I think I’ll end up grilling some sweet potatoes, and I’ll make a small pot of mashed potatoes for the roommate who isn’t on the low-sodium diet, since they are her favourite thing in the entire world. My secret to mashed potatoes is two-fold: First, the water I cook the potatoes in is half-water, half-chicken stock. And when I go to mash them, I melt the butter and combine it with heavy cream in a small saucepan, with pepper and any other seasonings I may be using that day, before pouring it onto the potatoes. They are, according to E, who is a mashed potato junkie, the best things ever.
I may make another pot of my cranberry-ginger chutney as well (recipe to follow later when I can find it again), because J absolutely loved it, and so did I.
Lots of veggies, cauliflower, broccoli — although I can’t eat it! *weeps* I’m actually allergic to broccoli, can you believe it?? And I LOVE it! — edamame… I think I’ll borrow my mother’s salad from Thanksgiving; spinach, fresh pomegranate seeds, goat cheese and red onion with a light vinaigrette of some form.
Dessert eludes me, but I’m sure I’ll think of something. I always do. There have been requests for pecan pie, and for my chocolate cookie/whipped cream/cherry concoction, but I don’t know. I’m feeling like I want to try something totally new this year. Something lighter than pecan pie, for sure, and not frozen like the layered cookie extravaganza.
Stay tuned, as I figure that one out, for more recipes, and for pictures!