My husband started telling me to get ready for Christmas as soon as Halloween was over. I put up all the decorations early but it still felt like the holiday season only lasted a few days. Time to get ready for a new year and to plan what to accomplish in 2016.
It looks like I will be gone for most of the month of January. I will still be getting recipes out to you and look for a new book in the Retro series in January I will just be doing it from a different state. I'm also planning on working out the final kinks left on this site so it will be all that it can be. I cant wait to have it done.
Back to Christmas, last year, if you remember, I did game hens, we all loved them but missed our usual Christmas ham. So this year I went with tradition, ham and macaroni and cheese. I went with a combination of Retro and modern side dishes, Kale with Sour Cream, Beet and Onion Salad, Cooked Cranberry Molded Salad and Sweet Potato Fritters on the retro side. Stovetop Mac and cheese using the recipe from Americas Test Kitchen and a recipe I had never used before for Spicy Fire Roasted Broccoli for the modern side.
I may be a professional chef but trying out new recipes on the day you intend to serve them is risky no matter who you are. The kale and the beet salad came out wonderful and my family liked them, the gelatin didnt set properly so it was too liquidy to unmold, the fritters didn't hold together during frying and no one liked the broccoli, so be it.
Kale with Sour Cream
4 cups cooked kale
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup sour cream
Combine the kale, butter, sugar, salt, pepper and lemon juice in a sauce and heat thoroughly.
Reduce the heat and stir in the sour cream.
Beet and Onion Salad
1/2 pound cooked beets, thinly sliced
1/2 pound sweet onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
salt and pepper
Combine all the ingredients and chill for several hours before serving.
I ended up using almost double the amount of beets and loved the way it turned out.
I hope you all had a wonderful week and were able to spend time with family and friends.
Happy New Year!
I love the holiday season. I love staying home and cooking and playing games with my family, watching all my favorite Christmas movies. I remember as a child waiting for my favorite movies to come on TV, How The Grinch Store Christmas, Peanuts Christmas and Garfield. I kind of miss the drawn out anticipation of that era, having to wait not just for presents on Christmas morning but to have to wait just to be able to watch your favorite movies, planning your entire day over the show you wanted to watch. It's fun to be able to watch your favorites when ever you feel like it but I wish my children could have a taste of what my childhood Christmases were like. I think that is one of the reasons Christmas cookies are such a huge part of the holidays for me, a tradition I can pass on to my girls and hope they pass them on to their children.
The cookie I am most obsessed with is Springerle and have recently been buying more molds. I
had to share them.
I have a handful of recipes that I make every year without fail, but I always try to make one or two new ones too. I had heard of Pfeffernesse but had never made them. I love the combination of dried fruit and spices so when I saw this recipe I knew I was going to have to make them.
Makes 180-250 cookies
2 cups sugar
zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup citron or another candied citrus peel
6 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon mace
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts
a couple tablespoons brandy
Beat the eggs until light and foamy. Add the sugar a little at a time beating well between additions.
Add the lemon zest, juice and citron.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cloves, nutmeg, mace and cinnamon. Add this mixture to the eggs.
Stir in the nuts.
Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour.
Roll out the dough 1/2 inch thick and cut with a circle cuter approximately 7/8 inch in diameter.
Place the cookies on sheets and leave out overnight to dry.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Flip the cookies over and dot the bottoms with brandy. Bake upside-down for 8 minutes.
Allow to ripen before eating.
I have been sharing more recipes and picture on my Facebook page so be sure to follow me there.
My finished mid century masterpiece.
My older daughters monster house.
My younger daughter decided to make the ultimate gingerbread house. Note the intricate chimney work and melted candy windows.
I enjoy making gingerbread houses but it's not something I do every year. There is so much work involved and it seems like such a waste since you cant really eat them after Christmas. I have only done them a couple of times with my daughters which I feel somewhat guilty about since I have fun memories of making gingerbread houses as a child. But, my mother wasn't the one who introduced me to gingerbread houses, my aunt was. She showed my how to make trees out of ice cream cones and how to make gingerbread villages out of graham crackers. My mother made candy trains. She barely remembers them but I would give anything to find a picture of them so I could make them with my daughters. Until then, I have gingerbread houses to keep me busy.
(Suitable for cookies or houses.)
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
5 cups all purpose flour
Cream together the shortening, sugar, egg and molasses. Mix in the vinegar.
Add the salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and cloves, mix well.
Add the flour.
Chill for a few hours until firm.
That's it for the dough. If you want to make cookies, bake them at 375. If your working on a house I would recommend 350.
Rolling out gingerbread houses is just about the only thing I use rolling pin spacers for. They ensure all your walls are the same thickness making it easier to bake and to assemble.
I strongly recommend them for this project.
I would love to see your results. Tag me on Instagram or Twitter with your projects.
As many of you know my goal was to make my gingerbread house recipe of the week. I was going to hurry and get it finished so I could have it for you today, but I really want to be able to take my time and enjoy decorating it so it's going to have to wait. I promise to post as soon as it's finished. The recipe is retro not modern.
Since I had to decide on a new recipe to share with you today I chose one from my book Retro Recipes: Cookies. The recipe is for Mincemeat Cookies. Yes, I know mincemeat is that scary brown goop in the jar, but that scary brown goop is actually delicious, especially in this cookie recipe. If you are someone that already loves mincemeat, but have a family that doesn't agree with you, try these cookies out on them, you can probably convert them to be mincemeat lovers too.
The cookies are buttery and crunchy with a spoonful of spicy, sweet mincemeat in the center, they are a cookie that I will be making every year from now on.
If you like this recipe don't forget to buy a copy of my book for even more delicious retro cookies.
3 dozen cookies
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
8 ounces mincemeat
Cream together the fats and sugars, add the eggs and vanilla.
Mix in the flour and baking soda.
Chill dough for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Form into balls the size of walnuts. Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Using a teaspoon measure make depressions on the back of each cookie and fill with mincemeat.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.