So, we’re not exactly traditional folks around casa del Queso, but we do love to cook, and an excuse like Christmas is not to be passed up. Although we really enjoyed going out for sushi last night, we’ve been looking forward to cooking this dinner all week.
We started shortly after noon, with the brisket, which needed to be trimmed, and put in the oven, to roast according to my step-mother’s mother’s recipe, a lengthy four-plus hour process. J had even started the night before, soaking three different kinds of beans, red, white and pink, and began to cook them down with some salt pork and onions.
He spent the greatest portion of the afternoon working on making more chocolate raspberry cake for our dessert, as well as a second one as a gift for our neighbors, tapping into our store of black raspberries from our garden stored in our deep freeze.
When we lived in the Lower Haight of SF, we used to enjoy going to a restaurant called Pasta Pomodoro, that was once quite good, before it became a regular occurrence to get food poisoning free with every meal; so we stopped eating there. But, not before figuring out how to make our favorite dish there- a braised radicchio wrapped in prosciutto with a Gorgozola cream sauce. It’s been a while since we’d given it a try, but we decided it was time, and the results were spectacular. Gorgonzola is one of those cheeses that starts out smelling like feet, but if you cook it properly, and long enough, it develops into a rich, nutty, rewarding flavor, that really complements the flavor of the proscuitto and radicchio nicely.
To go with the brisket, we had fresh sweet potatoes that we first boiled then baked with a little butter and orange juice and orange zest- just right. I know I keep saying citrus goes well with sweet potatoes, and I like to practice what I preach. Also, by request from T, I made a dish with zucchini, combining them with fresh roma tomatoes and bell peppers, onions and garlic, as well as some absolutely fantastic black chaterelle mushrooms, and a splash of red wine, and cooked them down until the squash was tender.
J also fixed some baby collard greens, using a super-special technique which I couldn’t begin to explain, but that was magnificent, and left them tender and flavorful, but still very rich and hearty, and hopefully still full of good luck for the upcoming year. He also baked a fine loaf of bread which was well-needed for sopping up the juices of all the various dishes we enjoyed. We had a Merry Christmas, indeed, and a fine dinner, and sooooooo many leftovers to come. Yes, you may have some.
G&T were responsible for our libations, and brought over a couple of red wines that we enjoyed with dinner, as well as crackers and cheese and Asian pears that we enjoyed as a snack while we were cooking… which, as always took a little longer than anticipated. Holiday cooking, y’know. They also provided a lovely bottle of ’00 Dom Perigon that we opened with our presents… that is definitely the way to do the holidays right!