Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Chessman Family Christmas

Christmas is a magic time for Americans.  Unless you're a doctor or a plumber, you're pretty much guaranteed a day off from work.  So, as a family of Jews who aren't stressing over trees in the living room and gifts for the neighbors, it's the perfect time for a family get-together.  And what does any good family do when they get together?  They eat!

We started our festivities backwards - with home made cake and ice cream to celebrate my niece Zivah's first birthday.  Zivah will turn one on December 30th, but since her parents are abandoning her in favor of warmer weather, we had a party early.  Her mother made her an adorable lion-faced cake (which she had absolutely no idea what to do with) and we made Peppermint Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream from scratch.  This was my first foray into the world of making ice cream from scratch, and I found it to be pretty easy.  Not so easy that I want to make it every night though, which is a bonus for my waist line.

After a lovely Christmas Eve dinner of sushi, we all tumbled off to bed to awake early the next morning.  This had less to do with hopes of gifts from Santa and more to do with the fact that small children seem to think that 6 a.m. is an appropriate time to wake up during vacation.

On to prepare Christmas dinner!
On the menu this year:
Herb-rubbed Prime Rib Roast
Roasted Root Vegetables
Balsamic-Honey marinated Ostrich Fillet (yes, you read that right)
Dry Rubbed Steak Tips
Broccoli Souffle

Treacle Sponge (see below)
Apple/Pear/Cranberry puff pastry pie.

You'd think we live in some sort of dystopian society in which you only get meat one day a year, huh?  Actually, there was a coupon to a butcher involved.


Here is my resolution for next year: LEARN TO FOLLOW DIRECTIONS.

For example, when the recipe for the roast says to cook at indirect heat for 1 1/12-1 3/4 hours and after an hour and a half it's still not to temperature, DO NOT listen to your mother when she says to turn on the middle burner.  Why not?  Because the GRILL WILL CATCH ON FIRE.  And with the grill, the meat will also catch on fire.  This will all cause me to stare at the grill, holler at the house, and when I realize that nobody can hear me and therefore is coming to rescue me, turn off the grill and remove the still flaming prime rib.  I put it out with the pot holder. 

Amazingly, the roast turned out ok, a little more cooked than I might have wanted and not with the exact kind of crust I wanted, but it was pretty good.  The rest of the food was as well.  The ostrich even grew on me.  My favorite were the steak tips though, which goes to show that anything dry rubbed with chipotle chili powder is the way to my heart. 

OK, the Treacle Sponge.  I've wanted to make a treacle tart since Harry Potter came out ten years ago.  Of course, until about five minutes ago, I didn't actually know what treacle was.  I now know that treacle is the burnoff from molasses, but the stuff you make treacle tart out of is really golden syrup. 

I couldn't find golden syrup, but, at the last minute, in the British food sections of the Mashpee Stop & Shop, I did find Treacle Sponge Pudding in a CAN. 

That you cook IN A CAN.  Although I have been raised to be wary of things you boil in a can for 35 minutes, I have to admit, it was pretty good.

All together, it was a nice Christmas dinner.  I have now eaten enough to not have to eat again for a week.  Or until later.  Where is that goat cheese...


  1. Hard to beat a story of flaming steaks on the home grill--and is that the first time you've prepared ostrich? Balsamic-honey's an intriguing mix for red poultry.

  2. Matt, I found a recipe on the American Ostrich Association website. I figured they knew what they were talking about...