Bored Cook In The Kitchen

Tried and true recipes, new twists on old favorites, and new dishes to expand my family's palate.

Tag Archives: Christmas

Christmas Dinner

How was your Christmas dinner?  We had a great one.  No recipes to share this morning, just a few highlights from what we ate.

This first dish captivated my attention all day long before we sat down to eat.  I saw it sitting and covered, and I couldn’t stop coming back to it, tempted to lift the cling wrap and steal a piece.  I was good though and kept my hands to myself, until dinner.   I ate several helpings of this.  Something so simple – string beans, grape tomatoes and fresh mozarella – but addictive to keep picking at! 

My brother-in-law and his wife brought this dish.  Filet of Sole stuffed with crabmeat.  Another dish I looked at all day and couldn’t wait to try.  And it was worth the wait.  Isn’t anything stuffed with crab worth waiting for?  Don’t have the recipe for this one, but I will.  Soon.  I won’t tell you that I ate two and a half servings of this.   Sorry, but you can’t put something containing crab in front of me and expect me to refrain!

A colorful salad.  I want you to know now I cut each and every olive myself.  Why would I do all that tedious work when they sell sliced olives you ask?  I could say it was because they had none at the store.  But, that would be a lie.  They did have them and I even picked them up and put them in my cart.  Then I went back and put them back on the shelf and picked up the whole olives.  Why?  I don’t know.  I was in a daze, it was Christmas Eve and the store was crowded.  It was one of those shopping experiences where you walk up and down the aisles trying to remember what it was you came to the store for in the first place.  Don’t you love salad?  I could live on it.

One of my most favorite veggies ever; asparagus.  These were roasted, and totally delicious!  I could have eaten half the dish of them myself!

More deliciousness.  Prime rib with a horseradish sauce to go along with it.  Cooked to perfection and super tender.  My brother-in-law was slicing this.  When I came up with the camera to take a picture and told him it was for the blog he immediately said;

“Wait!  Let me get the right fork first.”  Do you think blogging makes people nervous?  Not to worry, Jan.  I’m pretty sure Bon Appetit magazine ain’t reading my blog, so the “Use-of-Proper-Fork-Police” won’t be coming to haul you away.

We had some other dishes as well, but these were some of my favorites.    Too bad I didn’t get a shot of the mashed potatoes we made.   They came out good, but my husband took over making them while I was busy getting ready yesterday morning.  After I finished getting dressed I came out and saw them all made and in the pan and they looked great.  Then I looked a little closer and said; “Where did you get the fresh parsley from?”  I had fresh parsley, but used it up a week ago.  He hadn’t gone to the store, and our garden has long been dead, so I couldn’t figure where he got it from. 

“It was in the fridge in the mason jar,” he responded.

“Ummm…no” I said.  “The mason jar in the fridge has fresh CILANTRO in it.”

“Oh.  Then its fresh cilantro and not parsley.”

That’s when I got nervous.  See my husband can cook.  But sometimes he over seasons, changes a recipe too much, or like he did on Christmas, adds an ingredient that really has no place in the dish.  Let me just say now that Cilantro and mashed potatoes don’t go together.  Cilantro and potatoes in other dishes…sure, they could work.  Mixed with mashed potatoes, not so much.  But it did look pretty.  And luckily, I was able to pick off the Cilantro before it really seeped into those taters.

All in all, dinner was delicious.  The day came and went, my children have more toys right now than Toys R’ Us and my house looks like a bomb went off in it.  I can’t even find the living room floor.  And I have no energy to pick it all up.  I could try making my kids do all the work, but they are ignoring me and are too absorbed in all the loot they gathered yesterday.

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas!

Royal Icing for Sugar Cookies

 

I’ve not felt much of the Christmas spirit lately.  It’s been a long year, and honestly I feel like we were just celebrating July 4th, and here we are at Christmas.  How did we get here so fast? 

I figured the best thing to do to get into that Christmas spirit was to bake some sweet and whimsical cookies.  Considering I still have pretty much all of my Christmas shopping to do, my Halloween decorations are still up, and I haven’t gotten around to taking the kids picture for our Christmas cards yet, I needed something to get me into the mood.  And fast!

Yesterday I baked up several batches of Sugar Cookies.  I found a recipe awhile back on Allrecipes that I fell in love with, and those are the ones I use.  They mix up easily, bake up perfectly, and offer an excellent canvas for decorating.   You can find the recipe here if you don’t have your own you love.  The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies.
The royal icing recipe I use was a combination of a few different ones I found and I tweaked a little for easier results.  Most of the recipes I found were too thin or too thick.  It took a little time to get it just right, and a little bit of here and there from a few different recipes.  The one I use now is a perfect consistency for my decorating technique.  Which is nothing to jump up and down about. 

COOKIE ICING (ROYAL ICING):

  • 2 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp. Milk
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Light Corn Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. Almond OR Peppermint Extract

Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl.  Add 3 Tbsp. of milk and stir until well combined.  The mixture will be thick.  If you think you need the extra tablespoon of milk, add it in and stir well.  At this point, the mixture will be very thick but stirrable.   (Is that a word?  Who cares, I just made it one!)

Add in your corn syrup and flavoring and stir well.  The consistency you are looking for at this point is similar to the corn syrup you just poured in.  If it’s still too thick, add in more milk in 1/4 tsp. increments, stirring well between each addition to reach desired consistency.  For the cookies I made, I prefer it to be that corn-syrup-like thickness which I find easier to decorate with.  If you prefer a thinner icing, you can use milk to get it thinner.  Just do it in small increments.  If you mess up and thin it too much, add in some extra sifted powdered sugar until  you get it just right.  It’s not an exact science.  You have to tweak it and work it until you find it to be just right.

Separate the icing into smaller containers (I used disposable small plastic containers from Ziploc) add some food coloring and get ready to go!  I have used both the gel food colors and the paste, and have noticed no difference in the consistency of the icing as a result of one over the other, so use whatever you have!

Get your arsenal all set up; sprinkles, colored sugars, and assorted candies.  I usually lay the cookies out on some waxed paper.  It’s easier than anything else.

 

My technique for decorating is to use a small stiff paintbrush.  I spoon some icing into the middle of each cookie and then I use the paintbrush to smooth it out and “paint” it to the edges.  I find it’s easier to use this method than spreading it with something like a knife or spoon since you have better control.

If you are adding sprinkles or any type of embellishment, add it while the icing is still soft.  You may need to use a toothpick if they are very small, like these snowflakes I added to the tree, gingerbread man and stars.

If you plan on using layers of color, do the base color first and allow it to dry just until it gets a crust over the top.  Then come back and add your next layer of colors.  Like the snowman I did here. I painted the base of the cookie in white, allowed it to cool while I decorated a few other cookies.  Then I came back to it once it had that crust on the top of the icing and added in the scarf, hat and face, working gently to not break through the crust. 

For the candy canes, I used a different approach.  I painted on the red icing first, leaving spaces between where I would later fill in with the white icing.  After painting on the red I sprinkled them with some red sugar crystals.  I let it dry for a bit and then I painted in the empty spot with white frosting.  I didn’t have any white sugar, but if I did, I would have added that on to the white part.  Next time.

Leave the cookies on a flat service for an hour or so until they begin to harden.  Don’t move them around or shift them until they are dry or your icing will begin to run and pool.  Once they are completely dry, either 6 hours to overnight, you can then stack them and store them in an airtight container.  Wrap them up in some clear cellophane bags and tie a ribbon around them and use them as gifts. 

Now before you think I’m a terrible mother who had all this fun without allowing my children to get involved…think again. My daughter had a great time decorating and making a mess.

I think she enjoyed using all the sprinkles vs. painting on the icing.

Try these soon with your kids, or just do them yourself.   You don’t need to be talented to do these.  Trust me when I tell you I am the not even the list bit artistic, so if I could do these, so can you.  Have fun with them and don’t worry about perfection.  They are, afterall, cookies.  Before you know it you will be shoveling them into your mouth anyway, so perfection needs not be achieved!

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