Since D and I aren’t going to be together for the holidays (he’s going to Nashville, I’m going back to Southern California), we decided to celebrate Christmas on the Sunday before we left each other. We fantasized about a sumptuous feast on Gchat in the days ahead — a roasted bird, a Christmas trifle and a decadent gratin of potatoes — and then worked to make it a reality on the big day.
A Christmas Feast for Two:
- Gouda, crackers, chili jam (which we ate with beer while preparing our meal)
- Roasted chicken stuffed with lemon, garlic and herbs
- Green beans and cherry tomatoes tossed with homemade Parmesan-balsamic dressing
- Gratin of sweet potatoes
- Raspberry cream trifle (and a glass of Champagne)
D was nervous that I would be stressed out in the kitchen, but I promised him that this meal would be pretty easy to make. Once we got everything in the oven and the trifle chilling in the fridge, we watched The Santa Clause (yes, the one with Tim Allen), stopping once every 20 minutes to baste and rotate the chicken. By the time we were done with the movie, we had a beautiful bird waiting for us to eat.
1 free range bird, about 4-5 lbs
1 head of garlic, sliced in half
1 lemon, sliced in half
a handful of savory herbs — sage, parsley, thyme, rosemary
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Clean the bird inside and outside and pat dry. Season the cavity with liberal amounts of salt and pepper. Stuff the inside of the bird with lemon, garlic and herbs. Truss with kitchen twine. Season the outside liberally with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Stick in the oven for about an hour and a half. Rotate and baste every 20 minutes. Let it rest for 10 minutes, cut away the kitchen twine. Reserve the pan grease and use a gravy separator to skim off the fat.
Gratin of sweet potatoes
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced very thinly (1/4 inch)
salt and pepper
Toss sweet potatoes with liberal amounts of salt and pepper. Arrange neatly in a baking dish. Add enough cream until you can see it peeking through the top layer (not over the layer, that’s too much!). Dot the top with little pats of butter (however much you like — I would say eight pats).
Green beans and tomatoes with Parmesan-balsamic dressing:
1 lb green beans, cut into 2 1/2 inch pieces
1 container cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 c olive oil
3/4 c balsamic vinegar
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
1 tbs mustard
Cook the green beans in boiling water. Drain well and toss with tomatoes. Whisk together the remaining ingredients and toss with the veggies. You may not need all of the dressing so use caution.
Raspberry and cream trifle
1 container raspberries
1 package vanilla pudding
1 pound cake
Get four wine glasses. Cut up the pound cake into slices, then cut them in half. Dip in a bit of Marsala wine, then put one or two slices at the bottom of each wine glass. Add a dollop of whipped cream and another of pudding next. Then a few raspberries. Repeat until filled. Chill for about 3 hours before serving.