We went shopping on the 23rd and bought three "hero proteins" to cook over the holidays.

I left it to the last minute, but trusted in Big Lou's or Pete's Meats to have something delicious.

This time it was Big Lou's. We got a young goose breast, rolled & tied in fat, a giant porchetta, and some beef short ribs.

December 24th

First up is the goose, for just the four of us. I didn't find much in the way of recipes, but mainly just got inspired by flavours.

I put together a marinade of fresh thyme, bay leaves, orange zest, crushed garlic, onions, salt, cracked pepper, olive oil, and white wine.

We found some leftover fresh cranberries, and Rachael remembered a very tasty cranberry relish.

The very simple recipe is fresh cranberries, a whole orange, a couple of teaspoons of chopped fresh ginger, and sugar to taste (1/2 cup or more). The whole thing gets run through the food processor until minced fine.

And after (should sit for 3 hours or so for the sugar and flavours to meld):

Next up, roasted veggies - carrots, beets, parsnips & onions. With fresh rosemary, salt and pepper, and some oil.

Here's before roasting:

Now I'm cooking some cauliflower. Going to make a Mark Busse inspired "smear".


So, it's Christmas morning and time to log the rest of last night's meal. The cauliflower smear? I forgot it in the microwave and it didn't make it to the table last night.

These are pine nuts, cumin seeds, and green peppercorns toasting in sesame oil.

Cauliflower boiled until soft, then placed in the food processor.

As well as the sesame oil & spices, I added a 1/4 cup of goat cheese, zest & juice from one lemon, some honey and salt to taste.

The toasted spices have just the nutty flavour I wanted to complement the cauliflower.

When the goose was pretty much done, I added potatoes to the pan and covered the whole thing in aluminum foil and cooked for 30 minutes until the potatoes were tender.

Going back to how I cooked the goose. I put the marinade into a pot, added some more white wine, some water, and salt. Chicken stock would have worked as well.

The hot marinade was poured into the dish with the goose placed into it, the bottom inch covered in liquid.

I put the oven on convection broil and did the top of the goose.

Then I flipped it over and broiled the other side. This I left too long and the goose fat got a little dark. As well, there was a lot of spatter from the fat.

For next time, I might even pan sear the fat, or otherwise watch the broil. The fat spatter cakes on the pan and wastes the lovely goose fat ;)

I topped up the stock with water + wine as I went. For next time, covering with aluminum foil so that the fat renders is a better idea -- maybe even broiling at the end.

The potatoes in pan liquid were pretty delicious.

My dad giving the veggies a thumbs up. Parsnips, beets, carrots and onions. Fresh rosemary, a little bit of oil, and salt.

Potatoes in the foreground were roasted with the veggies. Background were the pan juice soaked ones. Sieglinde potatoes from Helmer Farm in Pemberton -- my parents buy 100lbs to last them through the winter.

I'm pretty happy with how the gravy turned out. While the goose was resting, I skimmed off goose fat from the pan juices, added some butter, and added flour to make a roux.

I poured in the pan juices and added white wine and red currant juice to thin the sauce. Red currant and berries in general are a good fit for the dark meat of goose. Even red currant jelly might have worked -- I'm lucky that my mom has a juicer and regularly has berry & fruit juices around the house.

Here's the final plate. Missing the cauliflower, and probably could have used some green ;)

The goose breast was a little over done. Being wrapped in fat, it was still juicy.

For dessert, Rachael made trifle. The cake is a basic flan made by my mom. Custard, whipping cream, lemon zest, and sherry are the other ingredients. The fruits were strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, plus some kiwis.

I call it fruit smash, and it's delicious.

Dec 25th

The plan is porchetta, Brussels sprouts with bacon, mashed potatoes, and some sort of steamed vegetables and salad that my mom is making. Stay tuned!

The only way to make Brussels sprouts is pan fried with bacon! If the sprouts are small, you can just quarter them like I did here. The bacon is cubed double smoke bacon. Pancetta is good, so is guanciale, and regular bacon works fine, too.

Once the bacon has crisped and rendered, removing most of the fat, leaving about a tablespoon behind. Add in the sprouts and sauté over medium heat. Add lemon zest and juice of half a lemon, several tablespoons of capers, and some fresh cracked pepper.

Nothing fancy here. Sauerkraut from a can, plus some carrots, onions, apples, and bacon.

Porchetta from Big Lou's was delicious. On roast until the skin crisped, then on bake. Water poured into the drip tray.

Final plate. Hiding underneath the pork is the cauliflower smear. My mom's traditional red cabbage. Rachael's cranberry orange ginger relish went great with the pork, too. The mashed potatoes were cooked with fresh rosemary and had a couple of sweet potatoes mixed in, plus half a log of goat cheese. A lone piece of butternut squash was sweet and tasty as well.

Not pictured: salad. But it was tasty and all got eaten. Thanks, mom!

Another shot of Rachael's trifle. That liquid? Sherry & fruit juices and deliciousness!

Tomorrow, Korean-style beef short ribs!

Dec 26th

We've got lots of leftovers (refrigerator Tetris!), but those beef ribs still need cooking.

I was inspired by this Korean short rib recipe http://www.koreanbapsang.com/2013/10/slow-cooker-galbijjim-korean-braised.html?m=1 , but ended up with a different mix of ingredients.

I cut the ribs between the bones, added a bit of oil to this big cast iron enamelled pot, and browned the ribs.

Here's the other ingredients that went into the pot - celeriac, minced ginger, garlic, a leek, and a dried hot pepper. I actually ended up skipping the onion. The measuring cup has sesame oil, soy sauce, and white wine in it.

Everything mixed together before going in the oven. I added two cups of large quartered white mushrooms. For spices, I added cracked black pepper, a teaspoon of Chinese five spice, 2 bay leaves, and three tablespoons of honey.

The lid went on and the oven is set to convection bake at 100C.

100C was a little low, so I increased it to 120C.

Here's the final view of the beef. It was in for about 6 hours. It was falling off the bone tender. The flavour was great -- the hot pepper added a little kick that was nice.

Here's the final plate from tonight. We used up lots of leftovers from last night. My mom made spaetzle and we steamed some broccoli.

And that's it for Christmas cooking this year!