Holiday mania tightens its steely grip

If I'd been getting some of this clickbait email a few weeks ago, I might be in even more crafty trouble than I already am.  This morning I am completely lost in ideas for dyeing plain paper in tea baths and producing cunning paper bows with sprigs of this and that from the back yard. (Also, fringe scissors.  But I already have some of those.)  Luckily, I have no more presents to wrap and only two days remain before Christmas.  But oh, my goodness, who could resist trying to make these woven stars?  Especially, who could resist who actually has vast great quantities of long paper strips in stock just at the moment?

Last night neighbors joined us for a holiday dinner of oysters Rockefeller, standing rib roast, Yorkshire pudding, pureed peas with mint and cilantro, and a salad with grapefruit, pomegranate seeds, and Stilton cheese.  Our guests arrived with a fresh loaf of sourdough bread, a grapefruit pie, and killer wines.  I was particularly taken with my husband's Yorkshire pudding, which is something like a croissant and dangerously easy to make, judging as a spectator:

I see this as a future breakfast food, a worthy competitor to biscuits.

We're bang on trend this year with "foraged" holiday decor.  (To be truly on-trend, we'd have to work "bespoke" in there.)  I found last week that greenbriar makes a good wreath or garland late in the season after its leaves have turned red, but its stems are still flexible:


Elise said...

Ooh! I don't even craft and I want a pair of fringe scissors - how cool are those?

Grim said...

I made julkage and Danish pastry dough last night. Does your husband’s Yorkshire pudding recipe exist online?

Texan99 said...

I'm not sure which one he used, but they're pretty standard.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup pan drippings from roast prime rib of beef

The first several I looked on online agreed on these proportions. Try If you don't have beef pan drippings, you can substitute another oil or butter.

Elise, the fringe scissors are cheap on Amazon and sometimes are billed as herb scissors. Also, I'm on my second Inspector Bruno audiobook. Talk about books that will make you want to cook.

Texan99 said...

A friend tells me there's no real difference between a Yorkshire pudding and what most Americans just call a "popover."

Assistant Village Idiot said...

My wife just looked and say "yeah, those are popovers," she went on to mention that she had tried them once and set the oven on fire.

We are having regular flat-bottom, raised sides Yorkshire Pudding today.

Texan99 said...

I've just read a series of articles about popovers vs. YPs. Traditional YP uses a flat pan and the drippings from a beef roast. Putting them in a muffin pan (as we did) or the subtly different popover pan (straighter, taller sides?), especially with butter or another oil makes them more of a popover. Adding sugar and apples moves you into Dutch baby territory, while a sausage makes it toad-in-the-hole. As one commenter said, "toad in the hole, innit." Everyone agrees that there is no good reason not to fill them with all kinds of things like jam and butter or cream cheese or a variety of meat products like pate. The one critical point is that they don't keep: like a souffle, they have to be consumed fresh out of the oven. Which is not to say that I haven't been enjoying the leftovers this morning.

Elise said...

Elise, the fringe scissors are cheap on Amazon and sometimes are billed as herb scissors.

Oh, goody! I can totally convince myself I need herb scissors. Or better yet, convince my husband they'd make a great gift. Thanks.

Also, I'm on my second Inspector Bruno audiobook. Talk about books that will make you want to cook.

Honestly, they more make me want to eat. :+) I'm glad you're enjoying the books.

Texan99 said...

Today I'm continuing an off-again-on-again years-long quest for a kind of skillet bread my North Carolina grandmother used to make. I thought it had some cornmeal in it, but it's possible it was only AP flour. It was closer to a flour tortilla than to cornbread. I've looked at zillions of recipes, photos, and descriptions over the years.

My mid-90s neighbor, who doesn't think she contributed enough calories with her signature grapefruit pie (don't laugh, it's fabulous) that she brought to dinner last night, is coming over now with peanut brittle. Goodness, this time of year.

Elise said...

So I did an Internet search for grapefruit pie and there seem to be various kinds: like a key lime pie; slices topped with gelatin; with marshmallows and coconut. The first one I found called "Texas Grapefruit Pie" says: The texture is that of a key lime pie with the appearance of a lemon chess pie. What kind does your neighbor make?

After making cookies with a friend and ODing on sugar, I was determined to find something for next Christmas that is makable, eatable, gift-able, storable, possibly freeze-able, and not a sweet. It turns out I have a recipe in my "To try" file called "Sociables Cheese Truffles". I'll give them a try after the first of the year and see how they taste and how they keep. The recipe calls for cheddar cheese but I imagine I can try various cheeses for various tastes. (For example, I also found a recipe that uses pimento cheese - and then rolls the little balls in crumbled bacon bits. Everything's better with bacon.)

It occurs to me that looking for non-sugary treats and asking for the grapefruit pie recipe is a little incongruous. Good intentions and all that. :+)

Texan99 said...

This grapefruit pie uses a Jello mix, with lots of supremed grapefruit sections in it. It sits on a standard pie crust and is topped with whipped cream. I must have asked Modena for the recipe at one point, and this is what I wrote down: "Cook until thick and clear one cup water, one cup sugar, 3 T corn starch. While still hot, add 3 T of strawberry jello and chill. Use 4 medium grapefruit. Supreme and drain well. Single pie crust, baked. Cover crust with layer of glazing. Arrange fruit slices on glaze and finish with the rest. Chill and top with whipped cream."

I like to make little cheese cookies that are basically like unsweetened shortbread with cheddar cheese and a little cayenne pepper. Really addictive.

Elise said...

Thanks, Tex - whipped cream and strawberry jello, what's not to like? I learned to supreme grapefruit for a salmon recipe (of all things) and am inordinately proud of that skill so it sounds like the perfect recipe to show off with. (Plus we've got pile of satsumas so I'm wondering ... Although we'll probably just eat them. :+)

My cookie-making friends makes those kinds of shortbread-like cookies in a couple of different flavors. Makes logs of the dough, freezes it, pulls it out when appropriate.

A very Merry Christmas to you, Tex, and to everyone here at Grim's Hall.

E Hines said...

to supreme (grapefruit)

I had to look that one up; having grown up thinking that, compared to other fruits, citrus already were pretty supremo; it never occurred to me that supreme could be a verb in this context.

Philosophy and culinary skills--what's not to like in the Hall?

Eric Hines

Texan99 said...

I have supremed so many thousands of citrus fruits that I could do it in my sleep at the rate of about 15 per fruit!

Texan99 said...

15 seconds

Anonymous said...

Cookies? Check.
Cranberry salad? Check.
Turkey? Arrived this AM.
Mincemeat pie? Today's project.

A very merry Christmas to all about the Hall!


E Hines said...

All I need for my sugar high is a Quaker Oats recipe for cookies executed with plentiful additions of chocolate chips and raisins.

And as the chiefest cook of such, of course I had to sample the dough after each ingredient was added, to ensure I'd gotten the mix right. A 90-cookie recipe generally produced around 45 superb cookies....

Eric Hines

douglas said...

"Philosophy and culinary skills--what's not to like in the Hall?"

Concur, Mr. Hines, Concur heartily.

Now then, I'm hungry...
and I contend that colder weather justifies more calories to stay warm...