Author Topic: Holiday Menus  (Read 86219 times)

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Holiday Menus
« Reply #250 on: December 13, 2020, 11:08:12 am »
Now, moving on from Thanksgiving, I had nine people at the table for my son's birthday and, although the menu was very simple, it seemed to be a great success. It consisted of pot roast, a festive salad, garlic bread, spiced pears, and a tiramisu birthday cake.

Instead of cubed stewing beef I bought a nice roast, browned it with chopped onions and then filled the pot with broth, ale, stewed tomatoes, and gravy (adding 3 bay leaves). I simmered that overnight, and in the morning shredded it. I added the crinkle cut carrots and baby bella mushrooms, halved and put an equivalent amount of shredded beef back in the pot and simmered that all day. A half hour before serving, I added frozen peas and gnocchi. I ladled the pot roast into large bowls for the adults and cereal bowls for the children and brought them in on a tray. All those bowls were completely empty 10 minutes later, and some wanted seconds!

The salad was leaf lettuce, shaved parmesan, cucumber, pomegranate seeds, and caramelized pecans. You can now get these already caramelized. I made a simple dressing with fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper, a pinch of sugar, and olive oil whisked in. This was served on a salad plate with a slice of garlic bread on the side. The only thing passed around was the spiced pears, which also fit on the salad plate. Even with two leaves in the table, there was not enough room for more than one plate and one bowl per person. Plus a wine glass and a water glass, of course.

It felt good to sit down to a dinner of china, silver and crystal. I'm planning to do it again for Christmas!
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: Holiday Menus
« Reply #251 on: December 13, 2020, 12:45:47 pm »
Instead of cubed stewing beef I bought a nice roast, browned it with chopped onions and then filled the pot with broth, ale, stewed tomatoes, and gravy (adding 3 bay leaves). I simmered that overnight, and in the morning shredded it. I added the crinkle cut carrots and baby bella mushrooms, halved and put an equivalent amount of shredded beef back in the pot and simmered that all day. A half hour before serving, I added frozen peas and gnocchi. I ladled the pot roast into large bowls for the adults and cereal bowls for the children and brought them in on a tray. All those bowls were completely empty 10 minutes later, and some wanted seconds!

That sounds delicious! The gnocchi is genius. I'm not very experienced in making beef of any kind, thanks to all of those years of thinking chicken and fish were much better for you, which I no longer do. I'm curious about several things. 1) What kind of gravy? 2) Are you saying you shredded the simmered roast overnight and then simmered the same shredded meat again all day? Or were they two different portions of beef that you simmered and shredded separately? 3) Were you nervous about cooking something on the stove overnight, or did you do it in a slow cooker? Or maybe your stove is electric, which wouldn't be as scary as gas.

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The salad was leaf lettuce, shaved parmesan, cucumber, pomegranate seeds, and caramelized pecans. You can now get these already caramelized. I made a simple dressing with fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper, a pinch of sugar, and olive oil whisked in.

Oh, thank you!! I knew I was forgetting something. I used to make my own vinaigrette all the time (as I said in a different thread, I more or less followed the recipe in The Silver Palate cookbook -- it's the main thing I made from it; the book used to automatically flop open to the page). But now my cookbooks are packed away somewhere and I wanted to make a vinaigrette for Thanksgiving. So I winged it based on my memory of TSP recipe. But I forgot about the sugar! I used to substitute real maple syrup or balsamic syrup or even a tiny bit of jam in place of plain sugar. But that is a crucial element, just as salt is a crucial element in cookies. The Thanksgiving salad was OK, so it wasn't quite as big a disaster as when I forgot sugar in the sweet-potato pie, but it was missing that je ne sais quoi.

Your ingredients sound good, too. My go-to salad mix is leaf lettuce, pecans or walnuts, dried cherries or cranberries and crumbled goat cheese.

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It felt good to sit down to a dinner of china, silver and crystal.

I sold my silver a few years ago to be melted down. I've been trying to give away my grandmother's china and crystal, but nobody wants it. Both are/were nice enough but I hardly ever use them. So now, even on special occasions, I use my basic tableware, although the dishes my husband and I registered for when we got married serves as either fine china or everyday.


Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Holiday Menus
« Reply #252 on: December 13, 2020, 01:35:30 pm »
That sounds delicious! The gnocchi is genius. I'm not very experienced in making beef of any kind, thanks to all of those years of thinking chicken and fish were much better for you, which I no longer do. I'm curious about several things. 1) What kind of gravy? 2) Are you saying you shredded the simmered roast overnight and then simmered the same shredded meat again all day? Or were they two different portions of beef that you simmered and shredded separately? 3) Were you nervous about cooking something on the stove overnight, or did you do it in a slow cooker? Or maybe your stove is electric, which wouldn't be as scary as gas.

The gravy was a simple roux of olive oil/butter, flour, seasonings and broth. Yes, I cooked the roast overnight, shredded it in the morning, and simmered the whole thing for six hours. I have both a gas stove and an electric one, but the lowest temperature on the electric one (and on my slow cooker) is too high, so I used my gas stove. I got up once during the night to check on it but it was fine. I'm used to doing this because my mother had to have her meat cooked to the point where it was very tender. The children like it tender too. I didn't even put out knives.
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Holiday Menus
« Reply #253 on: December 13, 2020, 01:39:52 pm »
It felt good to sit down to a dinner of china, silver and crystal.

Yes, it does. I use my mother's silver on weekends. I keep telling myself I need to get my "good china" out of storage to use on weekends, also, but somehow I never get around to doing it.  :-\
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Re: Holiday Menus
« Reply #254 on: December 13, 2020, 01:46:53 pm »
I sold my silver a few years ago to be melted down. I've been trying to give away my grandmother's china and crystal, but nobody wants it. Both are/were nice enough but I hardly ever use them. So now, even on special occasions, I use my basic tableware, although the dishes my husband and I registered for when we got married serves as either fine china or everyday.

Maybe if/when your sons get married, their spouses may want the china and crystal. You never know...some young people these days are traditionalists. As everybody knows, my daughter is, and loves fine things. She has received silverware and a silver teapot, coffeepot, sugar and creamer from her dad's side of the family and china from my mother's family. My ex wanted me to give her the rest of the silver, but I have held off and now my son is engaged to a tradition loving young lady. I have another silver teapot, water jug, sugar and creamer for her too, plus silverware from my mother's side. I'd like to divide up the rest of the silver service between them, with the larger items going to my daughter's large family and the smaller items going to my son's. I need to buy a case of Wright's Silver Cream first!
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: Holiday Menus
« Reply #255 on: December 13, 2020, 03:25:28 pm »
I'm glad they're getting use and appreciation!

I offered them to my young women relatives and none of them wanted it. I took it to vintage shops and none of them would take it. The only person who showed the slightest interest was a Mexican woman I hired a couple of years ago to clean my house in preparation for my move. She goes to church six times a week and said many members of her church are immigrants who could use household supplies.

It's actually a fancy kind of old Spode china that at one time was worth a pretty penny. Now even Replacements.com would only take some of it, but the amount they'd pay was about the same as the amount it would cost to mail, so I didn't bother.


Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Holiday Menus
« Reply #256 on: December 13, 2020, 09:47:36 pm »
I sold my silver a few years ago to be melted down. I've been trying to give away my grandmother's china and crystal, but nobody wants it. Both are/were nice enough but I hardly ever use them. So now, even on special occasions, I use my basic tableware, although the dishes my husband and I registered for when we got married serves as either fine china or everyday.

So I take it your silver was sterling? Whom did you sell it to?

I know of at least one place around here that will buy sterling for the value of the silver in it, but nobody wants plate.

I've got a chest full of plate, service for eight that's really delicate, with tons of extra pieces in other patterns, and I'd love to get rid of it, but I don't want to donate it to a thrift store.

I'd thought about putting it on Craig's List, but I never got around to it. I'm sure now is not a good time to be trying to sell silverware.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Holiday Menus
« Reply #257 on: December 14, 2020, 10:24:58 am »
I need to buy a case of Wright's Silver Cream first!

I think that's part of the reason younger generations aren't interested in things like heirloom silver and china. Nobody wants to take the time to polish silver.  :-\
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Holiday Menus
« Reply #258 on: December 14, 2020, 12:06:04 pm »
So I take it your silver was sterling? Whom did you sell it to?

I know of at least one place around here that will buy sterling for the value of the silver in it, but nobody wants plate.

I've got a chest full of plate, service for eight that's really delicate, with tons of extra pieces in other patterns, and I'd love to get rid of it, but I don't want to donate it to a thrift store.

I'd thought about putting it on Craig's List, but I never got around to it. I'm sure now is not a good time to be trying to sell silverware.

For years, I thought mine was plate, so I didn't do anything about it. Then one day I looked at it with my reading glasses!  :laugh: Turns out it was marked sterling after all. I googled and found a jewelry store that buys silver. There were a few plate serving spoons and things mixed in, so when I brought it there they sorted through everything and gave me back the plate.

It was my grandma's silver, which was a sort of traditional pattern. My mom had a cool silver set with a Greek key pattern. I might have kept that, but she sold it herself decades ago. At that time, they may have still been buying silver as tableware.

I wish I'd have sold the china years ago. I would just use it as my everyday china -- it can go in the dishwasher -- but the surface has a ring of bumpy basket-weave pattern, and the edges are ruffled. The design is an elaborate floral that's pretty in a traditional way but not my current taste. In both practical and aesthetic ways, I prefer a smooth plain plate. I do have a few pieces mixed in for when I run low on regular dishes.