Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Dinner Menu with Friends

So when life gives you lemons, make lemonade right. Well this is the party version of that. When you invite your in-laws over and they decline, long story, why not replace them with amazing friends! Two years ago when it was our last turn to be in Tennessee for Christmas, I decided that I was tired of turkey all the time. At some point after our marriage and the division of holidays, Christmas became Thanksgiving do over, last year complete with pumpkin pie which was a cardinal sin in my book. I love pumpkin pie I just don't want it at Christmas, move over pumpkin and give me gingerbread, almond flavored goodies, hot chocolate, peppermint, I could go on.
Now if this is your holiday tradition, please don't be offended, I am an equal opportunist and believe that everyone's holiday traditions (if beloved) should be carried on and honored. That being said, when in my own home, with my side of the family I want the things that we have done. It is kind of a long list, but it makes December festive. I won't bore you with the tediously long list, though I am always interested in other family cultures and their traditions. We shook up those traditions a little by planning this menu and with any luck it will become our own little family unit tradition.

The Menu

Buttermilk (Angel) Rolls
from my family's recipe index or the Greenbrier United Methodist cookbook from the 80's lol
2 cups buttermilk (I use reduced fat), 5 cups self-rising flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 cup shortening, 1/4 cup warm water, 2 pkgs yeast

The day before set the buttermilk out for 2 hours to bring to room temperature. Mix dry ingredients together then cut in shortening. Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water (making sure that it is not too hot, generally warm tap water is sufficient to not kill the yeast). Then mix yeast and buttermilk into dry ingredients until incorporated. Refrigerate over night.
The next day roll out with a rolling pin on a generously floured board, with floured hands, and rolling pin to approximately 1/2" thick. Cut out with a circular biscuit cutter and placed on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Allow to rise for 2 hours. You could also use your oven to proof them and reduce the rising time if necessary.
Bake at 425 degrees F for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden brown.

Braised Beef Short Ribs with Spinach, Pearl Onions, and Mashed Potatoes
via Smitten Kitchen from Sunday Suppers at Lucques
No horseradish cream for us, nor chives, I swapped chard for spinach more due to cost than taste, I replaced the alcohol with stock and grape juice+lemon juice

Garlic Butter Mushrooms 
from Gourmet not pictured sorry!
I omitted the capers, but was able to find baby bella 'cremini' mushrooms this year

Gingerbread Bundt Cake
via Smitten Kitchen from Gramercy Tavern
not a thing changed mmm beautiful and delicious, plus the addition of feeling like you are eating the epitome of Christmas for days after

**I am going to let you guys follow the links for the entire instructions from the pros and just let you know the slight changes I made. 

Not sure if this will be helpful, but before having any kind of dinner party I always sit down and start analyzing the trajectory of my time so that things finish around the same time and are still warm. Plus I am a complete nazi about having as much of my kitchen cleaned as possible for ease of transferring dirty dishes to the dishwasher after eating so that additional courses can be enjoyed.

Day before
Set out buttermilk to rise for 2 hours
Season short ribs, cover and refrigerate
Make gingerbread cake
Mix buttermilk rolls together and refrigerate

Day of (our dinner party was eating at 6pm)

Remove short ribs from fridge

Roast onions
Brown and braise short ribs

Chop and prep other vegetables
Make homemade whipped cream for gingerbread and refrigerate
Prep any beverages
Clean as much as possible (that would be my husband's job lol)
Roll out buttermilk rolls and allow to rise for 2 hours
Next steps for short ribs and then start on spinach
Boil potatoes
Roast mushrooms
Bake rolls