please help me with christmas dinner!

Bento-ing from: › Germany
Joined: 11 Aug 2009
User offline. Last seen 7 years 16 weeks ago.

hello, everybody, and happy holidays!
christmas is a family thing and i've been making dinner for 14 years now, but usually, i start planning and asking about suggestions around october. this time stuff came up- my mom isn't well and i was busy looking for therapists and didn't plan anything, because we're all a little stressed out and not in the mood for big cooking. however, now my dad wants a pork roast for christmas, which he has asked for since i moved out, my bro is coming over from paris with his girlfriend and somehow i feel we all deserve something not just relaxed, but also really nice and festive, sooo- i guess i'll do it. whew. i'll have to think fast now!
here's the general outline:
i need to feed 5 people and keep it simple, but a little impressive. mom, dad, brother, his girlfriend, me. i've done it before. maybe my brother will bring a random friend around without telling-he sometimes does, but by now i'm prepared for that.
my dad offered to wash salad and run errants if needed.

i thought about a little salad and smoked trout with crusty white bread for a starter (nearly no work ;) ), then there'll be roast, generally grandma-style pork in a big lump with crispy, crusty skin and fat on top, because i love my daddy. to keep it interesting while cooking, i'll do it with a spicy, asian-inspired twisty thing this time- soy sauce, ginger, chili, a little citrus peel, a bit of garlic, perhaps, as a marinade-pork can take it all! i know the butcher, this'll be lovely young, tender organic piggy! i'll slow-roast it and brush the skin with something with orange flower honey and more spices.. (getting hungry..)
i plan to make some roasted sweet potatoes for a sweet side and an fruity- orangey- hot grilled red bell pepper dish (which i can do the day before), plus some lovely gravy from the pork, of course.
desert will have to be simple again, maybe some bought good ice cream/sorbet, whipped cream or cream chantilly and fresh fruit, i can usually get great pomegranates from my turkish grocers..
these are my rather hectic thought so far. now, i better stop drinking coffee and start to go shopping! i have a general idea, but i'll need a little help with thinking it through, i need ideas for wine or drinks.. i haven't counted the pots i'll be needing yet.. i'm thinking about incorporating tahini somewhere in this, because i like it very much and think maybe they'll like it, too..
most of you may be busy with holiday preparations themselves, but if anybody feels inclined to help me with ideas/suggestions/comments, i'd be very thankful!

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Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 3 weeks 2 days ago.
Re: please help me with christmas dinner!

rehfilet, i have a couple of pork roast or kind of pot-roast pork recipes on Just Hungry, but unless you are totally set on the Asian route, I highly recommend this version of roast pork. It's called Staten Island Roast Pork, and I saw it originally in a book called The I Love New York Cookbook. I have it just about commited to memory and it is always a hit, with everyone. (well except vegetarians)
It is super duper easy.


- a pork roast (one with some marbling, shoulder is good) - about 1.5 - 2 kg / 2 1/2 - 4 pounds or so
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 3-4 tbs. fresh or dried rosemary leaves, or Herbes de Provence mix
- 2 tsp. salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup Dijon style mustard
- 1/2 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 340 deg F / 175 deg C.

Cut the garlic cloves into very fine slivers. Mix the garlic cloves with the herbs and salt and pepper. Take a sharp knife and stab the pork roast all over. Poke some of the garlic-herb mixture into each stab wound. Rub the roast over with any remaining seasoning.

Mix the Dijon mustard and oil together. Smear half of this all over the roast.

Put the roast in the oven and roast for an hour. Take it out, rub all over with the rest of the mustard-oil mix, turn over and roast for another hour. This timing is good for a 1.5 kg (a 3.3lb) roast - add about 15 minute per extra half kilo or pound. Flip over again if the additional time is 30 minutes or more.

This makes the most delicious sandwiches too, so plan for extra!

Roasted veggies and roast potatoes, sweet or regular, would make fine accompaniments. I would serve a salad as a starter.


The Big Onigiri.

- Wherever you go, there you are. -

Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 37 weeks ago.
Re: please help me with christmas dinner!

If you're going to roast sweet potatoes I'd roast a heap of other things as well. A traditional New Zealand roast dinner has roasted pumpkin (or kabocha or butternut squash), kumara (sweet potatoes), parsnips, and carrots in addition to the roasted potatoes. You get a lot of vegetable variety and only one roasting pan to wash. If you can get some duck or goose fat to roast them in it makes them extra delicious.

Have you ever made a trifle? I don't know if they're well known in Germany, but they are fairly impressive looking and can be, in fact need to be, made in advance. There are a gazzillion fancy recipes for them, but simple old layers of sponge cake (usually bought) soaked in fruit juice and sherry (plenty of it), fruit, custard, and cream is as nice as anything, and it looks great in a crystal bowl.



My blog is Food and Shoes

Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 8 years 23 weeks ago.
Re: please help me with christmas dinner!

My favorite way to roast sweet potatoes is to cube them, toss in a small amount of olive oil, honey and kosher salt. It's really easy and the somewhat glazed finish to them makes them a little bit special.

I might also suggest a vegetable, I made green beans in a homemade mushroom gravy over Thanksgiving and every one loved it.

If you want a drink and some tahini lately I have been heating some soy milk with a little tahini and cinnamon in it just like you would for hot chocolate. Very rich and comforting way to end the night. But other than that I am not too sure about wines (which is a shame since I am so close to wine country).

Bento-ing from: › Germany
Joined: 11 Aug 2009
User offline. Last seen 7 years 16 weeks ago.
Re: please help me with christmas dinner!

thanks for your comments,
everything went just fine! i just got a little nervous because i didn't plan.

maki, that recipe sound very french to me! the tastes are not that far off from the traditional german way (well, one of them, at least. germans care about good schweinebraten and have lots of varieties) it's good, but i can't surprise anyone with it.
i basicallly did the bavarian style variety - fry some aromatic vegs, add liquid (beer for true bavarians, but not this time), put marinated meat into pot on the vegetables skin-side down and everything into the oven for 30 min./120-130°C.
then cut the now-soft skin into little squares, rub with marinade/spices/mustard/secret recipe/whatever again and put it back into the oven (skin side up, this time) at 80°C, until there's 60°C in the middle of the meat. then grill the skin until it's bubbly. let sit in the warm oven while you're making the sauce and sides, for about 30-40 min, and the meat will be perfect- juicy and just slightly pink.
the problem with roasting a big lump of anything is that you end up with big slices of something fairly neutral, spice-wise. the flavour comes with the gravy.. adding soy sauce, ginger and chili didn't make much of a difference, just a bit of fun.
everybody loved it, the sides turned up good, too..
oh, desert actually was something trifle-style; fancy vanilla custard, caramelized almonds and pomegranate in layers. i wanted to be careful because, two years ago, my brother's girlfriend had too much heavy food (creamy soup, roasted goose, old-style french mousse au chocolat..). or maybe it was the port my dad gave her, but it was a little too much for her stomach altogether.
anyway, i tried to keep everything a little lighter this time, stay away from the schnaps and heavy cream, put in some fruit, to balance all that pork fat.
is it still called a trifle if it doesn't have sponge cake?
well, yeah, thanks again for the answers, hope you had nice holidays, have a delicious 2010!

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