Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Dinner

Christmas Eve actually. Since this is only our second year having Christmas on our own, we've had the freedom to do what we want for dinner. The Chinese and Pizza options crossed our minds a time or two, but it just wouldn't seem like Christmas without a homemade Christmas dinner. We've been eating our big meal on Christmas Eve. That way on Christmas we can snack on leftovers all day.
Our menu today is
Honey Glazed Ham
Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole
Carrot and Raisin Salad
Raspberry infused Pears

For a homemade meal full of comfort foods, it really isn't much work. Everything is pretty much throw together and cook. Even my stuffing is simply Stove Top. Isn't that the best stuffing anyway? The Green Bean Casserole is in the fridge ready to pop in the oven, Ryan's whipped up his Carrot and Raisin Salad and I have the potatoes boiling and pears poaching almost ready for the raspberries to go into the sauce. Here's that recipe:

Poached Pears with Caramelized Sauce and Raspberries
(we usually serve this with dinner as a side dish, but it's also great for dessert)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water, champagne, or dry wine or red wine (I've used champagne once, but I ususally just use water and it's yummy enough!)
  • 1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 8 large firm-ripe Bose or Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and left whole with stem on (I always cut up the pears in halves or thick slices)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

~in large sauce pan, deep enough so pears can stand up with lid on, mix sugar, water, vanilla, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil over high heat.
~reduce heat to low and add pears. cover pot and let simmer about 25 minutes, gently turning the pears once or twice to make sure they're coated with the sugar syrup. (I usually end up letting them simmer for more like an hour, the pears are done when they feel tender throughout when gently tested with a fork or sharp knife)
~remove from heat; if using frozen berries, add them to the sauce at this point. cover and let sit 5 minutes.
~remove the pears and the berries with a slotted spoon and place in a serving bowl or deep plate. Strain the syrup and pour over the top of the pears and let cool.
~refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
if using fresh berries, sprinkle them over the bears before serving.

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