Our Holidays this Year: Chop, Slice, Stir, Sip, Nibble, Cook, Eat, Relax. Repeat.
[Some of the spoils of the 25th.]
Hope you all had a fantastic holiday! Over here in the DDD household, we’ve had a wonderful time the past few days, what with the HH on holidays between Christmas and New Year’s.
(“Yes, Mum, we’ve loved it, too! It’s great to have those extra trail-walks. . . and play time. . . and. . . ooh, whatever that yummy food is called! Um. . . do you think I could have some more of that stuff?”)
After scrambling at a cougar’s pace (that would be the feline kind, not the Courtney-Cox kind) the last few weeks to complete my work at the college (ie, marking last-minute assignments and over 170 exams within the space of 4 days); keep up with writing commitments; and buy gifts for my loved ones (then wrap and give said gifts to their intended recipients)–on Christmas Eve, finally, I began to unwind, think about some serious chillaxing, and prepare for a fabulous festive feast (including triple alliteration, no less).
“Yeah, Mum, chillaxing is great this time of year! I’m feeling toasty warm over here by the fireplace. Oh, and by the way, I’m happy to help with leftovers. . . you know what I’m talking about.”
This year, the HH announced once again that he would like a tradtional turkey dinner. As regular readers of this blog likely know, my honey is a devoted carnivore. Most days, this state of affairs presents no problem at all: we coexist peacefully; he eats his meat at lunch time, or orders off restaurant menus when we dine out; or he cooks his own steaks or hamburgers and consumes my dinner as his side dish. (For a good description of how another vegan-omni couple works it out in a similar way, see JL’s recent post). A huge turkey, however, is another matter entirely.
“Yeah–turkey–that’s what it’s called! So, did I hear you say, ‘turkey,’ Mum?”
One thing I love about the HH is his full acceptance of me–quirks, blemishes, and all, including aspects of myself that even I find difficult to tolerate. Neurotic tirades about germs, disease, airplanes, strange noises in the house at night, having to wash the dishes just so–et cetera–are all met with (mostly) patient, even responses or calm rebuttals. In the nearly-15 years we’ve been together, my sweetie has witnessed my physical proportions vacillate wildly a half dozen times, bouncing between an initially svelte, mini skirted physique to that of an engorged beach ball (nearly 200 pounds at the height of my candida woes in 2009). And not once–not even in a whisper–has he ever uttered a negative word about my weight, acted less affectionate, or suggested that I might like to go on a diet.
And so, on Christmas Day, after sleeping in and chasing the lethargy with a shot of coffee (the HH) and matcha tea (moi), we opened our presents in front of the fireplace. And then the HH got to work cooking his turkey.
After he popped it in the oven, he played sous-chef for me, chopping veggies, sautéing onions, slicing potatoes and trimming brussels sprouts.
[Perfect gluten-free stuffing waiting to go into the oven.]
. . . or wine (he, courtesy of Casillero del Diablo). . .
. . . while reading (he: The Absolute Sound; she: The Blue Notebook and a few new cookbooks), playing with the Girls, doing the mega-crossword in The Globe and Mail (that’s a week-long project, I suspect) and listening to The Nutcracker, Buena Vista Social Club, Peggy Lee, Chopin and Zacharia.
["That's pretty nice music, Mum! Perfect for listening while waiting for more turkey. . . "]
Throughout the day as we reclined and prepped, we snacked intermittently on this cranberry-crusted cashew goat-cheese log I’d made (simply whir about half of them in a blender to create a paste, then mix with the remaining whole berries and press the mess into your cheese; bake at 250F/120 C for 20 minutes to set). Heavenly!
[Cranberry-Crusted Cashew Goat Cheese on oat crackers. . . almost made me forget about the meal!]
My final menu included Fava Bean Balls (I loved the flavor but not the texture–I’ll keep working on it and post the recipe once I perfect it) with Apple-Cranberry Sauce; Creamy Whipped Kabocha (processed with soaked raw cashews and a splash of lemon juice for a sour-cream effect); Scalloped Potatoes adapted from Alta’s recipe; our favorite brussels sprouts; gluten-free stuffing (loosely based on this recipe); and onion gravy. It was an incredible, indulgent, celebratory meal, and we relished every bite. In fact, I even enjoyed it again the next day for lunch:
The HH savored his turkey, too, alongside all the same sides as me. And because it was far too much for the HH alone, he shared amply with The Girls, who, it seemed to me, reacted much the way Marilyn Monroe did to a moving camera, or William S Burroughs did to a bag of cocaine on the table, or a gas stovetop element does to a lit match. In fact, I’d say that Chaser still gets that “crazy eye” look any time someone utters the word, “turkey.”
["What? What's that you say? Oh, no, Mum, you're totally wrong about that. No way, Mum. Oh, I can stop any time I want. Really. No problem. No worries. It's just that I like turkey. I choose to eat turkey. I mean. . . hey, by the way, is there any more? I mean, I wouldn't mind some turkey. . . I'd actually love a little turkey. . . just a little. . . just one piece. . . . "]
For dessert, I attempted my very first Sticky Toffee Pudding, combining recipes from both Angela and Lexie. The result was a thick, dense, spiced cake rendered gooey and sticky from soaking in toffee sauce, with a hefty scoop of Caramel Ice Cream alongside, also doused in more sauce (sorry, no photo–we lapped it up pretty quickly). While The HH loved the dessert, I would have been happier with just the ice cream and sauce.
By this morning, I was ready to revert to lighter fare and more of my regular routine. Ever since you all weighed in on what you’d like to see here, I’ve also been thinking about quicker, easier dishes for the Flash in the Pan series of recipes.
This breakfast is a hybrid of a classic chia pudding and a breakfast smoothie. It can be prepared the night before and left in the fridge to soften and plump up overnight. The pudding combines some of my favorite smoothie ingredients (rice protein powder, avocado, rice milk, cacao) with the texture of a pudding, resulting in a high-protein, high Omega-3 meal-in-a-bowl that provides a whole host of other health benefits as well. Pillowy soft, luxuriously creamy and rich tasting, this breakfast is a quick way to acquire a full serving of protein in what tastes like a dessert. It’s a great way to use up those ripe avocados on your countertop, too.
I can’t think of a better way to cap off the holiday feasting. Can you?
“Well, Mum, if you really want to know, I’s say that another slice of that turkey would do just fine. . . but chances aren’t looking too good at the moment. I may as well just give up on it for now. . . *Sigh*.”
And finally. . . your opinion, please!
I loved learning what you’d like to see on the blog in 2012 (and please feel free to keep those ideas coming in the comments!). For now, I’ve got a more immediate question for y’all (I already asked this one on Facebook, so if you answered there, thanks!): The HH and I have been invited to the home of a friend of a friend for a New Year’s Eve bash. All I know about this gent is that he’s a true gourmet who loves to cook and eat. I’ve been asked to bring a sweet treat and am considering the following three (note that they’re not ACD friendly or gluten free–but then again, these are for a crowd of conventional eaters).
Which one would you choose?
The Classic Chocolate Fudge (with a hint of orange zest):
The quirky Spiked Sweet Potato Truffles:
or The elegant Matcha Chocolate Truffles?
I’ll be back next time with some musings on the end of the year, resolutions and health in 2011!
Chocolate Chia Breakfast Smoothie-Pudding
Suitable for ACD Stage 2 and beyond
A great no-cook, prepare-ahead breakfast that you can pack up and bring to the office for those mornings you have no time for a nourishing meal as you rush out the door. It makes a great light lunch, too, alongside a crisp, fresh salad.
1 small ripe avocado
1 medium ripe pear (you can leave the skin on)
2 heaping Tbsp (40 ml) raw cacao powder
2 heaping Tbsp (40 ml) hulled hemp seeds (or hemp hearts)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) plain or vanilla rice protein powder (I use Sunwarrior)
30-35 drops plain or vanilla stevia liquid, to your taste
2 tsp (10 ml) mesquite powder, optional
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
2 cups (480 ml) unsweetened plain or vanilla rice or almond milk
1/2 cup (120 ml) whole chia seeds
Place everything but the chia seeds in a strong blender and blend until perfectly smooth. Pour into a container and stir in the chia seeds. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then stir again to ensure that all the seeds are submerged. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator overnight. Stir again before serving. Makes 2 servings. Will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
I’m sharing this recipe at Amy’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday event.
Three Years Ago: Apple Noodle Pudding (kugel) with Tart Dried Cherries (not gluten free; ACD maintenance only)
Four Years Ago: A Joy: Pot Luck Club
© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs