Not a white Christmas

Texas ya’ll! No white Christmas.

As always we spend our Christmas at my mother in law’s.

We eat, open presents and then game while having our dessert and coffee. As the kids are older, teenager stage here, I found gifting is a challenge. It’s not as easy as before. Well when they were young Santa bring them presents. We don’t have to do anything right? 😉. Now they want certain type of clothing brand, shoes, etc etc. Hard to shop for them. Good part which make it easy is..just give them gift cards or cash. Less headache. But I have to admit that I miss helping Santa with presents.

I was asked what I want for Christmas. Honestly, I don’t have an answer for that. I don’t know. Nothing important I need. Of course there are so many things I want, but I don’t feel like I actually need it. So, no I don’t have the answer.

I enjoy cooking. Watching people enjoying what I make for them, that’s what I love.

This Christmas is ham in the menu. I think every Christmas actually. We always say, well since we have turkey for Thanksgiving, let’s have ham for Christmas. Lol. we do have Turkey for Thanksgiving. So definitely ham for Christmas hahaha no doubt about it.

I had been doing my ham in Instant pot. On a rack with 1 cup of liquid, wrapped in foil, rub with brown sugar, pineapple and 20 minutes high pressure. Tender, melt in your mouth, moist ham every time.

Don’t know why I don’t have a picture of the whole ham 🤔. Maybe we were too hungry that day.

I made creamed spinach, scalloped potatoes, Brown sugar carrots glazed in Instant pot for 4 minutes, Stuffed mushroom, and rolls. Tiramisu for dessert and apple strudel with vanilla ice cream. My in laws made her vegan sides, kale, gnocchi with mushroom and chickpeas, Spanish rice and dessert banana pudding.

The based for the cream spinach, scalloped potatoes and stuffed mushrooms are basically roux. A happily marriage between butter, flour and milk or cream. I like adding shallot and garlic, saute with the butter before adding the flour and cream. Seasoned with salt, pepper, nutmeg. Adding thyme for the stuffed mushroom.

That’s it. Creamed spinach, I mixed in the squeezed frozen spinach into the roux, add shredded smoked gruyere, add more cream to the right consistency and add some grated parmesan cheese. Pour into buttered casserole dish. Topped with more shredded gruyere. Baked in the preheated 350° oven for about 30 to 40 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.

Next, scalloped potatoes. Steamed 3 large russet potatoes (in Instant pot 6 minutes). Peeled and sliced with mandolin. In the casserole dish, buttered and spread some of the prepared roux, arrange the sliced potatoes, topped with more sauce sprinkle with some shredded gruyere, you can add more seasoning, salt pepper nutmeg, then arrange the potatoes again, sauce and cheese until all used. The top should be the sauce and gruyere. Baked 30 to 40. I like steamed the potatoes first so the cooking time is reduced.

Stuffed mushrooms. Cleaned, take the stem off some large white mushrooms. Chopped the stems, sautee with shallot, garlic, thyme and add flour, cream to make roux. Add cream and cream cheese. Mix well, add a can or 2 crab meat. Seasoned with salt, pepper. Add shredded cheddar if you like. Filled the mushroom caps with this mixture. Arrange on the pyrex dish. Topped with panko and grated parmesan cheese. Pour 1/4 cup white wine into the pan. Baked in 350° oven for 30 minutes. Creamy filling, cheesy, crunchy top and the mushroom absorbing the wine, the flavor is just exploding in your mouth. So good.

Glazed carrots. Now this is seriously dumped and walked away meal. A bag of baby carrots, brown sugar, butter 2 tablespoons, water 1/4 cups, press manual 4 minutes high pressure, quick release and done. Sprinkle with some chopped parsley for color.

I wasn’t planning on making rolls that day. But I kept thinking something is missing. Thankfully I have breadmaker. So into the pan, 1 cup warm milk, 2 eggs, 550 grams bread flour, 8 gram yeast, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 stick of butter. Run the dough cycle. Let it rise and then divide them into 16 rolls. Arrange in buttered pan. I usually brushed the top with egg wash. Not this time. Baked i. 350° for 15 minutes and brushed with butter while it’s hot. Shiny soft and fluffy rolls.

Dessert. I made tiramisu, unplanned. Shortcut way, the way I have been making them for 10 years. I don’t look at recipe anymore. 2 tubs mascaporne, 1/2 cups sugar, vanilla and some rum. Use handheld mixer, mix until softened. In another bowl whipped 2 to 3 cups heavy cream with a little sugar whipped until firm. Fold in whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Add more rum if needed. Set aside.

Make your espresso ahead and let it cool. Add rum to the coffee.

Time to arrange the lady fingers. Dip both sides in the coffee mixture, arrange in pan, topped with cream cheese mixture, covered with grated chocolate or dust with dark cocoa powder. Repeat with another layer of lady finger, cream and chocolate. Covered with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge overnight, the longer the better.

Last but not least, Apple strudel.

You know the drill, sliced or diced the peeled and cored apples. Toss in lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, cornstarch.

Grind some almond and mix with bread crumb. This is for the based on the puffed pastry before we pour in the apple mixture. That way you won’t get soggy pie.

Grabbed one puff pastry, rolled to stretch them out. Spread some almond bread crumb mixture, pour the apple filling, wrapped them up, sealed the edges. Brushed with egg washed and baked in preheated 400° oven for 30 minutes. Served warm with vanilla ice cream or creme anglaise.

We like it so much we made it again the next day after our ham mac and cheese dinner. Which made in Instant pot. I had post how to make this in my previous post.

Yepp we made another one for dessert after Christmas, adding fresh blueberry to the mixture. This time with creme anglaise I made in Vitamix for 6 minutes.

Perfect for after our leftover makeover dinner that night. Ham mac and cheese in Instant pot 6 minutes.

I toss the kale with a cranberry vinaigrette i made using my homemade instant pot cranberry sauce, olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Toss some sliced apples and pineapple. Topped mine with sliced almond for crunch.

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