Christmas Trip Recap

We made some lovely meals over the course of our trip to Colorado, including both old standbys and some new recipes on the menu. I didn’t write everything down, but here are a few mentionables:

• Our favorite pork loin with leeks from Cooking Light: We’ve made this many times and it came out great, as always.
• Braised lamb shanks with porcini: This was a meal just for me and Jeremy, as my parents had a Christmas party to attend.
• Zinfandel-braised pot roast with glazed carrots from All About Braising: The meat was very tasty but the carrots were awesome and we didn’t make nearly enough of them (this coming from someone who doesn’t care for cooked carrots under normal circumstances).
• Rice-asparagus soup with pancetta and pepper from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook: This was a light, tasty soup that we served with a grating of parmesan and slices of fresh bread.
• Vietnamese braised scallops from All About Braising, served with a whole grain asparagus salad with soy-ginger vinaigrette from Once Upon a Tart: I’ve made the scallops once before, and made them here at my dad’s request. My fish-wary mom bravely ate a scallop and didn’t think it was too bad. The barley-wild rice salad with asparagus went well as a side for the scallops, though the amount of dressing called for was excessive, in my opinion. This was our Christmas Eve meal.
• Leg of lamb stuffed with feta and chard: This was our Christmas dinner. It came out so well the first time we made it that Jeremy and I both really wanted my parents to try it, and I think it was a success. We had a beautiful fresh piece of lamb, and leftovers for days. We kept the sides simple and went with mashed potatoes, fresh steamed broccoli, and the red wine jus from the lamb.

We also did quite a bit of baking, though we had planned to do more, and got cut short a bit by the abruptness of our flight on Saturday. Mostly we did Christmas cookies, but a few other items as well:

• Chocolate chip cookies: I used my favorite recipe, which tweaks David Lebovitz’s fantastic cookies with the addition of toffee bits for a subtle extra hit of flavor. These didn’t last long.
• Sugar cookies: These came from a can, but sugar cookies are really just a vehicle for frosting anyway, right?
• Pumpkin cookies: These are one of my favorite cookies of all time, and we made them partly because we had a partial can of pumpkin left from a batch of pumpkin waffles (very tasty, served with maple pecan syrup). They have chocolate chips and almonds in them, and an almost cakey texture from the moistness of the pumpkin. I’ll have to post the recipe sometime.
• Buckwheat cookies: I’ve made these a bunch of times at home, and they are one of my favorites with tea. This was the first time I’ve made them with a mixer instead of a food processor, though.
• Harvest squash bread: My mom had a butternut squash on the counter when we arrived, waiting to be made into bread. We tried it out with this recipe from the Macrina Bakery Cookbook, and it came out well, after burning a batch of walnuts and pecans based on the amount of time indicated in the book for toasting them. If I made this again, I’d used hulled pepitas instead of the whole pumpkinseeds we had on hand, as the hulls were not the greatest eating, though a good source of fiber, I’m sure.

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