A few years ago, I wrote about our Christmas Eve menu and how much I love all the thing we eat on Christmas. The menu is still the same, but this year with our new addition, I had to be a little bit more structured in how I got everything together. I had to adjust the roasted chicken recipe, forgo the roasted potatoes, and be a little bit less precious about the cake. My cooking-guru over at Smitten Kitchen, advises that, for a dinner party, choose one thing that you’ll spend time on. If you’re making a labor intensive main course, don’t feel like you need to also bake a fresh loaf of rustic bread as well. Normally, I do subscribe to that idea because it helps me feel good about having people over and serving hummus from a plastic container. On Christmas, though, I don’t mess around.
So, how did I do it? Well, it helped that Asher was in day care for half the day yesterday, of course, but I still could have gotten this all done had he been home (with Evan’s help, of course. I’m not a super hero!). It also helped that I’m a planner and nothing brings me more joy that fitting together the puzzle of my day. I even got it all done after starting an hour later than I thought I would because my grandfather was in town and I wanted to have coffee with him first.
The components of the menu are: challah bread, roasted chicken, brussels sprouts, and a chocolate frosted cake. I had most of the day to work with, but the added challenge was cooking everything so that it was ready and hot or cold when it was supposed to be (for example, cold roasted chicken is gross unless its the second day, and you can’t frost a cake that’s just out of the oven).
Here was my day:
10:30 – Make challah dough. I get the dough together in the kitchen aid with a dough hook and then knead it the rest of the way when I start to worry my kitchen aid is going to break again.
11:00 – The challah’s first rise is an hour. I made the chocolate cake and baked it for 30 minutes. It cooled on wire racks for the next few hours.
12:00 – Punched down the challah dough to prepare for the second rise and got in a quick phone chat with my sister.
12:30 – Braided the challah. I get better at this every year! Let the challah rise for another hour.
1:00 – Made a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup and watched How I Met Your Mother.
1:30 – Set Evan to get Asher from day care (I couldn’t go with him. See above re: coffee with grandfather) and baked the challah.
2:00 – Watched How I Met Your Mother.
2:30 – Showered and waited for the baby to come home.
2:45 – Baby came home, but was sleeping. Cleaned the kitchen for the 400th time.
3:15 – Played with Asher and gave him a bottle. Listening to him laugh is pretty much the best part of my life these days!
4:00 – Went outside! Did you know it was like 75 degrees in New York yesterday? So weird!
4:45 – Made pear puree for Asher.
5:15 – Frosted the cake (and tried to not lick the bowl completely clean!) (only sort of succeeded…)
5:30 – Presents! I’m now coming to you live from my new Macbook!
6:00 – Fed Asher dinner. He ate like a champ!
6:30 – Bathtime!
7:00 – Chicken goes in the oven! I use a recipe from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook, where I spatchcock the chicken so it cooks in about half the time and is doubly delicious. Chopped up the brussels sprouts to be ready to be sauteed.
7:50 – Chicken came out of the oven. Brussels sprouts went in to the pan with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. I just mix them around the pan until they’re a little bit browned and also bright green.
8:00 – Sparkling Rose is poured, table is set, dinner is served!