Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Dinner At The Hawthornes. Sans Oven.

Mr. Hawthorne is doing most of the Christmas dinner. The only thing I did was a green bean casserole, but not yo Mama's green bean casserole. A quick google search produced the requisite recipes using 2 cans of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup, canned (Quel horreur!) green beans, and a can of fried onions. Did you know that this has 530 milligrams of sodium per serving? This sounded a bit excessive to me so I did a little research. Daily sodium intake needed for basic physiological functions is a scant 1/8 tsp or 250 mg sodium. The American Heart Association recommends limiting our intake of sodium to less than 2000 mg/day. The upper limit of 2400 mg/day is equivalent to 6 grams of salt or 1 teaspoon salt/day. Armed with this knowledge, and the fact that I can't stomach Campbell's anything, I decided to come up with my own recipe for a green bean casserole.
First, I brought my pan of water to a boil, then added my green beans to the steamer basket.. Cover and steam for 3 1/2 minutes. No longer. Immediately plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and set the bright green color. Mr. Hawthorne is simmering his sweet potatoes for a sweet potato casserole.
Heat a tablespoon each of olive oil and butter and saute sliced mushrooms until brown, then add sliced onions and cook about 2 minutes.
Season with freshly ground salt and pepper and set aside. Next, you make a roux.
I melted two tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat, added two tablespoons of flour, and cooked for about 2 minutes to get the raw taste out of the flour. Slowly pour in about 1/2 cup of milk, whisking.
Whisk and cook until slightly thickened.
Next, I added in about a 1/2 cup of sour cream.
Slowly stir in heavy cream and cook until you get the consistency you want.
Sherry to taste.
Pour mixture over beans, mushrooms, and onions.
I wanted a little crunch in the casserole, so I chopped up one stalk of celery ...
... some water chestnuts and ...
... and some toasted almonds.
There is both a Cheese Camp and ...
... and a No-Cheese camp. Can you guess what kind of camper I am? Hint: One half is bigger than the other.
Crumble a good layer of Ritz crackers over top.
I threw the No-Cheese Camp a bone. They got butter.
This went into my microwave/convection oven. I was unable to use this oven for my Christmas baking since it can't handle anything larger than an 8-inch square pan. There is a pedestal that you use inside on convection heat that rotates. Plus, I was uncomfortable changing a recipe that has worked for me in a 9 x 13-inch pan or 10 x 15 baking sheet to something that may or may not work in a smaller pan. Also, whenever you put in the temperature and time for the convection oven, say, 350 degrees 25 minutes, it will lower both temperature and time, to, say, 325 degrees and 20 minutes. I really do need to learn to bake in that oven, but I'm concerned about the imposed changes on time and temp.
I forgot to take a picture of the turkey breast before wild dingos and wombats descended upon it. Since we didn't have an oven to bake a turkey we bought a turkey breast. Hurricane Irene took out my crock pot so Mr. Hawthorne slow-cooked the bosom on the stove top.
Mr. Hawthorne prepared individual ramekins of sweet potato casserole. 2 sweet potatoes, peeled, sliced, and cooked 1/2 stick of butter (He only put in 2 TB but I sneaked in 2 TB more.) 1/4 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup brown sugar freshly ground salt and pepper He topped all the little casseroles with marshmallows and added chopped pecans on selected ramekins for the Nut Camp. I imagine you can figger out which Camp I'm in- Nut Camp or No-Nut Camp.
Sweet potato casserole top left. Green bean casserole top right. Peas and mashed potatoes. Turkey.
I liked the lone pea in the front.
The Hawthornes' Merry Christmas dinner.


SweetPhyl said...

OOOOOh, love your take on Green Bean casserole--gonna have to try that one! It looks delicious, but what bout dessert, or did you have any of those delicious goodies left after making all those deliveries?

We had a very disappointing prime rib roast...more gristle than tender meat. But my taters and brussel sprouts were heavenly!

Happy Holidays Hawthornes...all the best for 2012!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

SweetPhyl, I'm not much of a dessert person. But we do have a communal basket of cookies in the fridge for those so inclined.

Sorry to hear about the prime rib.

How did you do your brussel sprouts?

Anonymous said...

Rosie, have you ever fried brussel sprouts? I saw that on one of those cooking shows and folks were raving about them.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Anony, I've never fried brussel sprouts, but that's on my list now.