Jan Norris: Food and Florida

Food, Restaurants, Recipes and Pre-Disney Florida

Jan Norris: Food and Florida header image 1

Shrimp, Cookies and Dumplings for Christmas

December 27th, 2010 · 1 Comment

A lot of us were busy cooking this Christmas. Family and friends all contacted me at some point about cooking this or that – getting help and wanting recipes.

We trust it all came out pretty tasty since we heard no complaints.

Christmas shrimp

My son Jason decided to cook the fabulous fat shrimp we brought home from our Thanksgiving Pensacola trip. They’d be set out for snacking before my sister’s prime rib dinner. That’s the work in progress in the pot photo above, with a bunch of spices bubbling to perfection.

Here’s the result, filling his colander, even after he picked off a few to make sure they were worthy.

(It was good of him to cook on his birthday – he was born one Christmas day at 8:17 a.m. – only an hour after I arrived at the hospital. Seems I’m always doing last-minute things on Christmas morning. He’s the best thing I’ve ever pulled off, however.)

Jason forgot the cocktail sauce, and so John Korf, my sister’s partner, made a homemade cocktail sauce – killer – to go with them. The pink crustaceans were so fat, you couldn’t eat but two or three and you were already spoiling your dinner. But they were so good, everyone kept sneaking back to the platter for just one more.

Just-right stuffed celery

We don’t skimp on food at Christmas – Pepper Jones, my boyfriend’s sister, made stuffed celery: a little mayo, cream cheese and big chunks of chopped green olives piled into crisp celery sticks. It’s been years since I had this old-fashioned relish tray treat. They went like wildfire, too, as did my sister’s pickle-free deviled eggs.

I had showed up with tins of the required-for-family-status Orange drop cookies. (And some chocolate brownie cookies that were ignored.) Before I could set them on the counter, quite a few had disappeared.

If I made 100 dozen, it still wouldn’t be enough.

As for the prime rib, my sister hadn’t read my post on how to cook a prime rib, and figured 2 hours would cook an 11-pound rib roast. Not. We were carving ends and eating from the outside in, while it went back in the oven for more cooking all during dinner. It was super tasty, however, with all the herbs she rubbed on it. Perfect mashed potatoes, my bacony green beans and corn casserole completed a fairly simple, but filling meal.

Lila’s chicken and dumplings

Over at the house of my friends Ken and Lila Steinhoff, Lila was making chicken and dumplings – her grandmother’s recipe.

They differ from my mom’s with the addition of garlic, carrots and celery. I simply can’t remember whether my mom used an egg in the dumplings, either, but she rolled them out the same way, using an iced tea glass as a rolling pin. Lila doesn’t leave the cooked dumplings in the broth as my mom did, either, but I’m sure the results are quite similar.

Ken shot a video of Lila’s method – and has posted the recipe as well. Read it all on his Cape Central High blog where other stories of the family, and his coming-of-age in Cape Girardeau, Mo., make for great reading.

Oysters and Champagne for Susan; duck for Robin and David

For my friend who loves all things French, it was oysters and Champagne for Christmas Eve with a new French guy friend, then on Christmas dinner, ham and a rib roast and haricot verts.

Over at friend Robin’s house on Christmas Eve, we enjoyed some late-night lamb chops, organic sausages, a spinach quiche and a magnificent berry salad – with a Champagne toast to friendship. Looking at her always-beautiful tree was a highlight.

We are anxious to hear how their Christmas dinner, a grilled duck that David was deboning and preparing for the first time worked out. He was a bit nervous about tackling it; the deboning isn’t something I want to mess with, even though it’s really not so hard – Julia says so.

All food connected to family and friends

Throughout all the food and festivities is a connection – to family, friends, good times, traditions – old ones and those in the making – and all the things that can’t be measured in tangibles.

How rich we are! Happy holiday season to all.

Tags: Holiday cooking

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Natalie Chernow // Dec 28, 2010 at 2:38 am

    Can you give me the recipe for your son’s Shrimp. AND for your sister’s partner John’s cocktail sauce??????? please.

Leave a Comment