Holiday Feast

Today I bring to you my holiday feast menu. This is my idea of a fitting meal for having family over and spending a whole day together.

While appetizers have been a tradition in Europe for many centuries they are relatively new in America. Around the turn of the century Shrimp Cocktail was the first to appear in American cookbooks.

Cocktail Sauce
1 cup chopped tomato
1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar or vinegar
1 teaspoon drained prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
Blend until smooth

Shrimp
1 small yellow onion (quartered)
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 fresh or frozen and thawed large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails left on
Add onion, bay leaves and salt to water and bring to boil stir in shrimp and cook until shrimp are opaque. Drain and cool in refrigerator 1 hour.

I like to have a punch for family holiday gatherings and this year I will go with a favorite of Cranberry punch.

Cranberry Punch
2 cups cranberry juice
2 cups pineapple juice
1 cup orange juice
3/4 cup triple sec (optional)
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 lime, thinly sliced
Mix thoroughly and chill place in punch bowl with ice and slowly pour in four cups chilled ginger ale or seven up.

For the must have side dish I am going with mashed potatoes. Over the years I have learned many people make mashed potatoes many different ways. Here is a sure fire decadent recipe.

Use a blend of red and russet potatoes. This combination creates a slight texture variation in the finished mashed potatoes.

Mashed Potatoes
6 potatoes
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup salted butter
Salt to taste
Peel the potatoes and remove eyes. Cut potatoes into 1 1/2 inch cubes. Place in boiling water and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until tender 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and let dry for a minute. Heat butter and cream in a small sauce pan at low temperature. Use a food mill or potato ricer passing the potato through the grate. Stir in half of the cream butter mixture and then gently stir in the rest of the cream mixture. Do not overwork the potatoes. At this point any seasoning desired may be added.

The main course is turkey and stuffing.

Stuffing
3 tablespoons butter
1 large yellow onion (chopped)
5 cups crumbled corn bread
5 cups toasted fresh bread crumbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup lower-sodium chicken broth
1 large egg (lightly beaten)
Melt butter in sauce pan and add onion and cook 5 minutes. In large bowl combine corn bread, bread crumbs, baking powder, and poultry seasoning. Stir in onion mixture and add pepper. In a small bowl mix the broth and egg and then stir it into the cornbread mixture coating it well.
Stuffing to be placed inside turkey and cooked until turkey is 180 degrees.

For dessert a New York Strawberry Cheesecake is always one of my favorites.

Graham Cracker Crust
1 1/4 cup ground graham cracker crumbs
1 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp melted butter
Grind crackers fine and mix ingredients and make layer on bottom of spring form pan.

Cheesecake Filling
4 packages (8 ounce each) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 large eggs
2 egg whites
1/2 cup heavy cream
Beat cream cheese until smooth then add sugar and corn starch beat until smooth. Add vanilla eggs and egg white beat until creamy. Slowly add the heavy cream beating only enough to make uniform and fluffy. Pour into spring form pan and bake at 350 for 60 minutes.

Sour Cream Topping
2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
Mix all ingredients until smooth. When cheesecake comes out of oven, pour mixture on top of cheesecake and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes until set.

Whole Strawberry Topping
1 quart fresh strawberries, washed and cleaned
2 cups seedless strawberry jelly
Once Cheesecake is completely chilled place whole strawberries upside down on top of cheesecake using enough strawberries to cover entire top. These should be premium grade visually appealing and fairly uniform in appearance. Heat jelly until runny and brush over strawberries and return to refrigerator.

The cheesecake is quite a bit of work and I usually prepare it the night before and serve well chilled.

While other dishes can be added to the holiday feast in our family we usually have everyone bring a favorite dish to add to the core of my holiday feast.

I share the menu with all of you so that you can begin planning your meal and check that pantry.

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