Winter Holiday Help Desk

As mentioned in this space yesterday, a re-booked flight back to Seattle kept me from hosting the final What's Cooking chat of 2008, right smack in the middle of Hanukah, Christmas and Kwanzaa. Sorry! The last thing I want to do is leave y'all high and dry, so today is my way of making it up to you. Here's your chance to get your last-minute holiday feast questions answered and conundrums resolved. I'll be checking in hourly until 6 p.m. ET. Meanwhile, what's a gal to do about Christmas Eve supper at the 11th hour? Should we scrap our plans to thaw a turkey and make a pizza instead? I await your insight!

And if we miss each other today, I'll see you next Monday, Dec. 29 after the long holiday weekend. AMA, as are many other blogs on the site, is going dark for a few days. Happy, merry holidays to you all -- be safe and eat well.

By Kim ODonnel |  December 24, 2008; 7:00 AM ET Winter Holidays
Previous: Baking for the Troops | Next: Meatless Monday: Hoppin' John, Hold the Ham Hock


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Go for pizza!!! Tonite, Christmas Eve, we're trying for festive but lowkey. Hubby will grill a pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon. I'll do scalloped potatoes, sauteed 'shrooms, something green, and homemade yeast rolls inside. I've got bought cookies and spiced cider for later on in the evening. Tomorrow, Christmas Day, we're grilling a big ole ham so that's the "Big" meal.

Posted by: betterbegood4 | December 24, 2008 8:02 AM

Hi Kim - Hey, forget the turkey and go with something light...

My vote would be vegetable soup and homemade bread or rolls. Warm, satisfying, homey, and low-enough-calorie so that you can eat hearty tomorrow.

Or, alternatively, I got a recipe from a Jewish friend for sweet potato latkes. Wow!!

I'm doing your veggie pot pie for dinner tomorrow. Thank you again for that one, and for all that you do.

Have a wonderful, relaxing holiday. L

Posted by: lsgc | December 24, 2008 8:16 AM

Seafood pizza sound good! Crab and shrimp and maybe a few bites of salmon...yum!! Find a good beer to go with and lights the candles!

Posted by: justhere | December 24, 2008 8:30 AM

Hi Kim! I am stuck in the same situation that you are. Flight got cancelled and I will spend my Christmas in DC. Not have planned for this earlier, all I have in my fridge is some lean ground beef and some veggies. I am spending most of today doing some last minute shopping for Christmas and was hoping to scrap together something for dinner tonight with what I have. My roommate suggested making some Argentinean meat empanadas or some meatballs out of the beef. Both sound difficult. Do you have any other suggestions?

Posted by: Krizia | December 24, 2008 9:05 AM

For us, it's traditional Latin American fare, highlighted by home made tamales (a project in and of itself). Also on the menu will be heart of palm and ceviche.



Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 24, 2008 9:34 AM

Trying to come up with a good substitute for cornbread dressing that has no: gluten, eggs, nuts (dairy is OK). What is a good substitute for the eggs? Leaving them out makes it dry, adding some extra oil or butter makes it gooey. If it helps, we're using some special cornbread that has a perfect texture.

Posted by: LawDancer | December 24, 2008 9:59 AM

'Morning Krizia et al: After a much-delayed flight out of San Francisco, Mr MA and I made it to Seattle last night -- to discover that no one plows or de-ices roads in this town!! And forget about shoveling sidewalks!!! And as I sip on my first cup of coffee, it is snowing. There will be a white Christmas in the Emerald City after all. Sigh. This is not what I had signed up for. Something happened in the fridge; we've got a lot of 'meat cake' to dispose of. Empanadas could be fun. I'll pull up link to Jamaican beef patties. You could also do Joe's special. Hang on, I'm going to do some link retrieval.

Posted by: Kim ODonnel | December 24, 2008 11:09 AM

Justhere, the way things look here we may be hoofing it to the grocery store with a coupla backpacks and stocking up. Pizza is looking better and better!

Posted by: Kim ODonnel | December 24, 2008 11:13 AM

LawDancer, so I'm to understand that you've got the cornbread already made? I would use stock to moisten. You planning on sauteeing celery, onions, etc?

Posted by: Kim ODonnel | December 24, 2008 11:37 AM

Is there a difference between active dry yeast and instant or rapid-rise yeast?
ADY seems to rise pretty fast. Can substitutions made in equal quantities? Thanks, and happy holidays.

Posted by: lgdc | December 24, 2008 12:58 PM

Lgdc, Instant and rapid-rise are pretty much the same thing, depending on marketing and labeling. You might also see it labeled as "bread-machine yeast." You do not need to activate it with water before adding to other ingredients -- it is quite fine and actually more concentrated than active dry. For active dry, which is granular, you must mix yeast with warm water (about 100 degrees) before adding to dry ingredients.

Posted by: Kim ODonnel | December 24, 2008 1:16 PM

We always do a traditional Italian Christmas Eve, which means fish for dinner. It also means dinner after the kids go to bed because they'll have none of it. Just like me when I was their age.

Another option is to steal a page from the George W. Bush handbook. No, not roast quail with the Cheneys... The Bushes always enjoy a "traditional" Texas enchilada/taco dinner on Christmas eve. I think for ease, you should keep it veggie. Ole!

I have no idea what the Obamas are eating. Perhaps next year it will be deep dish Hawaiian pizza for all of us.

Posted by: mdreader01 | December 24, 2008 2:17 PM

LawDancer - Post-Christmas &/or for futures, soft tofu (a.k.a. silken) works well to replace eggs where their protein and binding qualities are needed, in both savory & sweet recipes. Tofu does not, alas, give the same lift as beaten eggs or whites.

Posted by: imashalom | December 26, 2008 10:39 AM

Hey, Kim, Happy Holidays!

Mr. Gay and I were going to go to a movie and dinner yesterday (Christmas Feast was with the in-laws on the 24th). But we ended up doing movies at home and I hadn't shopped and the market was closed. What to do?

Searched the freezer and found several packages of mixed veggies (one with potato). No obvious proteins, but I found a full package of turkey lunch meat. No stock! But at the very back of the spice cabinet, found just enough bouillon granules to make 2 cups of gravy. A quick Google later and I was making your cheddar dough.

We thought it was a great Christmas dinner for 2. As I tend to stop by the market each day for what we need, YOU saved the day by always drilling us with "what's on hand?".

Posted by: ArlingtonGay | December 26, 2008 12:42 PM

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