I also help with meals on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve I always make clam chowder and salmon dip, and I like to make some of my Grandma Findlay's specialties, namely her famous sauerkraut meatballs and cinnamon applesauce jello. This year on Christmas Day we had a Greek/Middle Eastern themed meal. I made tabbouleh and helped my mom make spinach pie.
My mom and I working in the kitchen. We had 2 Kitchen Aid stand mixers going at once. Thank goodness they have 2 convection ovens and a root cellar that stays very cool in the winter. We need all the space!
My dad, or the esteemed washer of the dishes, and I in the kitchen on Christmas Eve. I made the apron he's wearing. I embroidered his favorite kitchen saying on the front: "Cookbooks are for wimps."
I'm coating chocolate mint wafer cookies here. It's my new favorite holiday cookie to make. I got the recipe from Everyday Food magazine, the December 2007 issue.
I also tried some new cookies, Almond Sweets and Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies, that will be back next year. Cranberry Jumbles turned out well and tasted good, but didn't seem like a Christmas cookie. We'll save that one for the fall.
Mom's Julekage dough getting ready to rise. This is a Norweigian holiday bread made with candied fruit and cardamom. She led me through the process - I plan to make this for an ethnic bread category at the fair.
Here's a test run of one of my fair entries - Blueberry Almond bread. So far I'm getting good reviews, so this recipe is a keeper for the fair.
The 2009 State Fair Sampler Pack: Gingersnaps*, Oatmeal Cookies, Irresistible Brownies*, Blueberry Almond Bread, and Cinnamon Rolls*. (*recipes previously posted)
Making the famous sauerkraut meatballs.
The meatballs are shaped, then chilled overnight.
My mom and I constructing the spinach pie. The phyllo dough sheets are paper thin, so you must work with them quickly so they do not dry out and tear! This is a two person job. Mom brushed the butter on the sheets, and I laid them in the pan.
Laying down the other half of the phyllo sheets on top of the filling.
The last dish I prepare on Christmas Eve is the famous clam chowder. I learned how to make this in my 9th grade Family Enterprise class at SCC, courtesy again of Ms. Monson. The recipe was a secret passed to her from a former restaurant owner. She held onto it for 10 years, then shared it with us. I've made it every year since then, so it's been about 15 years!
I have 3 pots going at once in this dish. Clams in one, milk in another, and vegetables in a third. The aptly named "Robo Stove" at Mom and Dad's house, powered by gas, has cut the prep time of this soup in half.