Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Day Eats

Against some pretty good odds, I finished all the prep work required and was able to have a relatively stress-free Christmas day. I worked all day Christmas Eve. Seriously. All day. But it was totally worth it. Everything was prepared and ready to go when we arrived at my parents' home Christmas morning and we enjoyed a day of family and constant grazing. Ahhh, Christmas.

We started the festivities with my Mexican Bread Pudding which came out so much better than I ever could have imagined. I have yet to write down exactly what all went into it, but am committed to doing so because it was too good not to recreate. It was sweet and rich with apples and raisins and lots of cinnamon. Even my "Ewww, it's vegan?" parents loved it. Hooray!

After that we all sat down to watch The Boy rip open gifts which was great fun. Santa was good to him though the man in red is on my shit list for bringing him one of the most annoying toys I've ever had the misfortune of trying to tolerate. It's a German Porsche Police Car complete with blinkie lights, shrieking sirens, and orders to, "Pull over and put your hands up!" ... in German. Loud German. I have a sneaking suspicion this toy will soon mysteriously lose its batteries.

Once there were toys, clothes, and DVDs everywhere and the living room was littered with wrapping paper and sad-looking bows, we were ready to begin preparing dinner.  Fresh chips with Cranberry Guacamole kept everyone's fingers out of the cooking pots.  This turned out to be a great combination - the tart cranberries and the creamy avocado were awesome together.

My part of it was easy since I'd done the majority of the work ahead of time and the most complicated thing I had to do was steam the tamales. We made two different kinds:
  1. Roasted Tomato Seitan Tamales with golden raisins and capers
  2. Butternut and Acorn Squash Mole Tamales with pepitas
They were both fantastic. The Husband preferred the seitan tamales while I liked the squash ones better. The refried beans were creamy and delicious. If you have How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, I highly recommend giving this recipe a try. We cooked a double batch using both the coconut oil and butter (Earth Balance) variations for extra naughty deliciousness. And tons of cumin. I love cumin. It's probably my favorite spice right now.

And finally, the Cilantro Sour Cream from Veganomicon was a big hit! Everyone thought it was "real" sour cream that I had doctored with cilantro and lime. It was quite refreshing and helped balance out the spice in the tamales. We'll definitely make it again and even use it as a salad dressing.

After a long time allowance for digestion, we tore into dessert. My Margarita "Cheese"cake came out really great. First off, I was just happy to have it set since it was my first attempt at a vegan cheesecake. The texture and flavor were good, though I think I can improve on it a bit. But the lime zest, tequila, and orange liqueur really made it taste margarita-ish and the candied lime peel just pushed it over the top.

It was a great Christmas. It rained all day which always adds atmosphere to winter holidays and justified the fire in the fireplace. Everyone was on their best (well ... nearly so) behavior and there was not much family drama to moan about on the way home. We were back in our own living room just after dark in time to get The Boy to bed and we fell asleep on the couch watching A Christmas Story by the light of our holiday tree.

I hope your holiday was happy and full of laughter and hearty food!


jessy said...

that's too funny on the german car toy - i would be annoyed with that a bit, too! i agree on the batteries - they do seem to wander off often! tee hee! ;)

your mexican bread pudding sounds delightful, and has me drooling onto the laptop! mmmmmmm! and i'm so glad you got everything all prepped up so you could relax and really enjoy the holiday. that rocks! cranberries in guac sounds like such a tasty addition - and the tamales sound super stellar. i think i would have dug the acorn squash ones the most as well. hot damn!

hooray for no family drama and a wonderful & relaxing holiday, Marni! superw00t!

allularpunk said...

well done marni! everything looks and sounds completely delicious. glad you had a very happy holiday celebrating with your family :)

Jeni Treehugger said...

Sounds like you had a truly wonderful day Marni. All the food looks delicious, as always. I wonder how long the toy police car lasted..........