It’s been a weekend of cooking cooking cooking … with a couple of small breaks for tree trimming and kids’ recitals …
So if you’re on my Christmas list — stop reading now. Go away. Come back after your box arrives.
For the rest of you — here’s the weekend:
I made truffles for my grandmother. I made chocolate hazelnut cookies, pfeffernussen (I can’t find the recipe online — but it was a good one — with grated lemon rind and some candied citron and orange and ginger — they came out chewy and delicious, not powdery and terrible like those ones in the package), and chocolate hermits. I wanted three kinds of round drop cookies that all taste surprisingly great — and I think that’s what I got. I need to package them up this morning, but I think I now have a pile of little gifts for people like my mailman and for hostess gifts.
I also invented a Christmas Cake — it’s based on a traditional English Christmas cake recipe I found on the Guardian site. But instead of dried and glaceed fruits, I used the plums and cherries I put up last summer. I drained them of the sugar syrup I put them up in (or of the spiced sugar syrup — I did half and half) and soaked them overnight in brandy. The cake batter is a heavy, spicy batter with lots of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom and powdered ginger in it. Then the fruit, some candied orange, ginger and citron peel, walnuts and the grated rind of a lemon get folded in. I found some little bundt pans at Cost Plus, so I baked them in those — they came out great! They smell all rich and Christmassy and this morning I’m going to make some Royal Icing for them — now I just have to figure out how to pack them for shipping. I think they need to go in their own box inside the bigger hamper box.
It wasn’t all sweets around here either. I made a gorgeous version of the Pate Grandmere from Michael Ruhlman’s Charcuterie book — instead of pork liver I used half the liver from my antelope — unlike the horrifying moose liver, antelope liver is lovely. Antelope liver is not mushy, it’s just tidy and has the loveliest texture. I thought the Pate Grandmere would be good because it’s a very livery terrine — you sear the liver before grinding it, and while I don’t like slices of liver as much as the MH does, I think it’s going to make for a lovely terrine. And it didn’t break — I don’t have a fancy pate mold but I have to say, my old Pyex bread pan works really well, and it’s the perfect size to use a foil-wrapped brick as a weight. So the terrine will get cut into slices, packed with my vaccuum sealer, frozen and shipped along with the moose pate and some buffalo summer sausage I bought from a local butcher for the game portion of Christmas.
Now I just have to make a couple more Christmas cakes, pack up all the cookies, slice and pack and freeze the terrines, pack the boxes and get things shipped …. yikes! Oh, and work my day job — which is really busy this week — ho ho ho!