Despite other holiday tradition differences, Big J and I both had Tom and Jerry's, and boy am I glad because it is one holiday tradition that I refuse to do without.
A few years ago I had to work the day after Christmas, so we decided to do our big dinner on Christmas eve. I can honestly say that it is one of the best decisions we made. Christmas day is so busy with gifts, phone calls, visits from friends, etc. that the last thing I want to do is think about a big dinner.
The last few years we have had a rib roast for Christmas eve dinner. Yum! This year we originally thought it would just be the three of us, so we decided to have steaks. As it turned out, our neighbor, the fabulous Ms. J, and her two children joined us so we got two extra steaks and some portabellos for the vegetarian. Big J bought delicious tenderloins from the Organic Butcher. They were amazing. I made twice baked potatoes with blue cheese and thyme, sauteed green beans and Caesar salad. Of course we began the dinner with shrimp cocktail. Here's our family recipe:
That Girl's Cocktail Sauce
Ketchup (I prefer organic such as Whole Foods brand or Muir Glen)
Celery, finely chopped
Fresh squeezed lemon juice
Prepared horseradish (not cream style)
Just mix it all together until it tastes how you like it. I prefer a little more celery and I like it pretty hot. One thing I learned years ago, it always takes more lemon juice than you think.
On Christmas morning we had Alton Brown's Overnight Cinnamon Rolls (totally easy). And, of course, Tom & Jerry's.
Now I know that many of you are asking, "What are Tom & Jerry's? And why would you have a cartoon cat and mouse over for the holidays?" Actually, a Tom and Jerry could be classified as a hot toddy. But for some reason both my family and Big J's enjoyed them in the morning. (Oh, who am I kidding! I enjoyed several in the evening as well!) Here's our recipe:
Tom & Jerry's
4 eggs separated
Approximately 1/3 pound powdered sugar
Freshly grated nutmeg
Lightly beat egg yolks with a fork. Using a hand held mixer, mix in powdered sugar gradually. You may need to add more or less depending on the consistency -- you want it to be honey-like.
Whip up the egg whites to stiff peaks in a separate bowl. Fold in egg whites to yolk and sugar mixture.
Meanwhile, heat water. Fill a shot glass halfway with whiskey and then finish with brandy. Pour in a mug. Add about 3 - 4 tablespoons Tom and Jerry mix to cup. Top with hot water. Grate nutmeg on top. Be sure to include a spoon for stirring. (These are more potent than you think, especially if you are using a small cup!)
For Christmas dinner, Big J smoked a turkey breast. We did this last year as well and it was such a great idea. We also had roasted root vegetables, tangerine and port cranberry sauce (made by little j), and a sweet potato souffle.
Oh, I forgot to mention dessert. I generally don't make pies at Christmas and this year I decided to go with a chocolate cake with whipped cream peppermint frosting. Damn! It was an ugly, ugly cake, but it was one of the best things I have ever tasted, cake-wise. And this is from someone who, given the option, would never choose chocolate cake.
So there it is: That Family's holiday meals. I know, I know, the holidays aren't over. Don't worry, I'll report on our New Year festivities in a few days!