The lowly, modest turnip. I’ll admit I rarely (if ever) give it a second glance in the produce section. I’m guilty of passing it up hundreds of times in favor of more attractive veggies like a bunch of fresh carrots or a head of bright green broccoli.
Yet when I saw that turnips are one of the few prominent side dishes in Wuthering Heights, I knew I needed to find a way to make them enjoyable. For me, this means ROASTING. I am a firm believer that if you’re having trouble getting yourself to eat your vegetables, a little olive oil and salt with some time in the oven goes a long way.
This recipe I found from Kalyn’s Kitchen takes it a step further and adds some balsamic vinegar for extra oomph. She suggests tossing the roasted turnips in a light coating of balsamic at the very end as well, and I highly recommend it. Turnips are mild little guys, so I think they benefit from just a bit of zing from the extra balsamic.
Goose: it’s a dish I’ve put off cooking for years because of the horror stories I’ve heard about how hard it is to make. It’s thrilling to finally step up and tackle something you’ve always found intimidating, and even more so when your first attempt goes really well.
When I decided to make roast goose as my Wuthering Heights entree, I began the hunt for a recipe that was both manageable and reliably successful. This was surprisingly difficult. I saw recipes that insisted you must sear and flip the goose in a roasting pan to get a brown color without overcooking, others that called for multiple extra recipes like glaze and stuffing, and still more that claimed it was impossible to evenly cook a whole goose (and that the only solution was to carve it before cooking). I felt discouraged and more than a little fearful. Goose can cost upwards of $60, and I did NOT want to screw this up.
Then I found this wonderful recipe from The Woks of Life. It had more steps than some of the recipes I’d seen, but it was easier to follow and didn’t require anything weird like searing the bird in a separate pan. It was an orange five-spice goose recipe, which sounded delicious. The seasoning also caused it to roast darker than the average goose, helping to avoid the issue of a finished birth that’s too light on top. The only downside was that the flavor profile was a little inaccurate for Victorian England, but given the circumstances, I think we can overlook it. 😉
The bird turned out beautiful on my very first try. It was seasoned perfectly, and the meat was tender and rich. I felt so proud when I pulled it out of the oven, and although it’s a little pricey for a regular weeknight meal, I would have no problems making this if my family ever wants to give Christmas goose a try!
Here it is: the pièce de résistance of our Grimm’s Fairy Tales menu! When you all voted in December on which fairy tales you wanted to see in our Grimm menu, Hansel and Gretel easily snagged the most votes. Since I knew this particular recipe would be highly anticipated, I wanted to make sure it was something special. Luckily, gingerbread cottages are about as special as they come. 😉
This was actually my first time making a gingerbread house as an adult, and my very first time ever making one from scratch. Since I’m planning a gingerbread house for another menu coming up as well, I decided to use this gingerbread cottage as a chance to test out cookie and icing recipes, along with tips and tricks from the pros. I wound up using Sprinkle Bake’s gingerbread recipe, which I loved. It was flavorful with a pleasant texture, while still sturdy enough to make a structurally stable house. I used Make It and Love It’s icing recipe, which came together in a snap. I also relied heavily on the gingerbread expertise of Katharina from Pretty Cake Machine, who shares a lot of her gingerbread tips and tricks here.
Time for our Little Red Riding Hood recipe! Unlike Rumpelstiltskin, which required me to get a little creative with finding a recipe, I knew from the beginning what I wanted to make for Red’s recipe: the bread she brings her grandmother! Of course, plain old white sandwich bread wouldn’t do. I wanted something different, something special. I decided to make 3 kinds of bread rolls—all of them German, since that’s the kind of bread the Brothers Grimm version of Red would be carrying. I gathered a list of traditional German breads and chose the three that I felt were the prettiest, most distinctive, and most iconic of the culture. Pretzels, cinnamon raisin braids, and kaiser rolls made the final cut! Kaiser rolls are technically Austrian, but since they’re served in Germany too, I decided to give them a pass. 😉 And since I was totally new to making pretzels, I used the baking instructions from Sally’s Baking Addiction as a guide.
When the idea occurred to me to make 3 kinds of bread, I was a little intimidated at first. That’s a lot to get done in one week. Still, I loooved the idea and didn’t want to abandon it. I decided the best way was to use frozen dough as a base for all 3 bread rolls and prepare the dough differently for each one. This would allow me to cut down on prep time and dishes, and as an added bonus, it would be a great way to showcase the versatility of a basic white dough.
I had a blast making these bread rolls, and they were a hit at our house (especially the pretzels!). The Little Mister loves bread in any form, and when he realized you could put raisins in it (one of his favorite snacks), the kid just about lost his mind. Maybe we’ll throw some in a basket and take them to grandma’s house this weekend!
Entree time! I was a little surprised when Rumpelstiltskin beat out classics like Snow White and Cinderella in our Grimm’s Fairy Tale poll in December, but I was also excited. It meant I was gonna have a chance to get creative!
While I was trying to decide what to make for my Rumpelstiltskin recipe, I kept fixating on the idea of turning straw into gold. It made me think of spaghetti and how the stiff, unappetizing sticks of uncooked pasta can be turned into something delicious with just a little water. I don’t have the chance to make pasta on the blog very often, so I took the idea and ran with it!
I knew I wanted something simple but elegant, something that showcased the pasta itself while still appealing to the tastes of someone as discerning as Rumpelstiltskin (I imagine someone with the ability to spin gold whenever he wants can probably afford to have refined taste). I found this brown butter Parmesan pasta recipe from The Kitchn and LOVED it! I tweaked just a few things to make it my own and served it with dinner the same night. It was a big hit!
In December, I asked you guys to vote on which fairy tales you wanted to see in my Brothers’ Grimm menu this month, and “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” was in one of the top spots. I was thrilled, since this was one of my favorite stories growing up, and I had a great idea for a recipe: white chocolate-covered strawberry ballet slippers! I’ve seen them done in pink on Pinterest, so to make them more my own, I did them in a variety of colors and set them up as 12 distinct pairs of shoes. I love how bright and cheery the final slippers looked!
I normally do an appetizer as my first dish each month, but even though these are a little too sweet to be a true appetizer, they were just too fun to pass up! In fact, they’re easy enough that I’d recommend them as a fun activity for older children (maybe 8 years old and up). It makes me wish we had a little ballet dancer in the family so I could make them for a birthday party! 🙂
I was bummed when I saw that December doesn’t have a fifth Thursday this year, which meant I wouldn’t be able to do a Grinch Who Stole Christmas bonus recipe. Still, when I sat down to decide whether I should make Who Pudding or Green Grinch Hot Chocolate as my dessert this month, I simply couldn’t choose. So I made both!
The pudding is based on a delicious homemade chocolate pudding recipe from Moms Need to Know (I also used some tips from Bunny’s Warm Oven). Of course, you can just add some food coloring to instant pudding if you want, but what kind of a food blog would I didn’t give real, from-scratch chocolate pudding a try? As for the hot chocolate, it’s a peppermint version of the white hot chocolate that’s going to appear in my cookbook next year!
So if you’re not quite ready for Christmas to be over, cook up some rich, chocolatey Who pudding and steaming Green Grinch Hot Chocolate for a sweet winter treat. 🙂
Is this more of an appetizer than a side dish? Probably. As soon as I started planning my Grinch Who Stole Christmas menu, I knew I wanted to incorporate Grinch hearts, but I wasn’t exactly sure how. It wasn’t until early this past week that I decided on making fruit skewers with dip, and by then I’d already made Who Hash for my appetizer. So here they are as a side dish! In the end, all that matters is that they’re delicious, right? 😉
And they definitely ARE delicious—easy too! Just cut your strawberries into shape with a small heart cookie cutter and slice the ends off your grapes at an angle. Slide them on a skewer, and you’re done! The fruit dip is easy too. It’s got a tasty coconut yogurt base blended with cream cheese and honey for added creaminess and sweetness. It’s a sweet snack you can feel great about eating, Grinch or not!
Ah, the roast beast! This wouldn’t be a Grinch Who Stole Christmas menu without it, right? When I first started planning this menu, I instantly knew we’d have roast beast for an entree, but I wasn’t sure what form it would take.
My first goal was to figure out exactly what kind of beast we’re talking about here. In the book, it’s drawn with what could be a hoof or a trotter, which had me thinking beef or pork. However, it also has what could be a tuft on its tail (or a chop holder like you see on lamb shank crown roasts). It DOES say the beast is rare, though this could be in reference to it scarcity, rather than its cook time. I’m sure all this vagueness was a deliberate choice on Seuss’s part, since the Whos would most likely be eating an imaginary animal, but it wasn’t super helpful from a meal-planning perspective. Since the source material left it pretty open-ended, I decided to go with beef, since it’s a hooved animal like the picture and can be cooked rare.
Instead of a pot roast recipe (which I’ve done before), I decided to try something different: roast beef sandwiches! I was intrigued by the idea of making French dip sandwiches in the slow cooker, which I hadn’t tried before, so I tracked down a great recipe from Celebrating Sweets and whipped it right up.
It was delicious and super easy! The broiled provolone drapes the juicy beef and tender onions in a blanket of cheesy goodness, and the French rolls soak up the au jus perfectly—making them soft and flavorful without falling apart. I am SO making this again soon! 🙂
Hey, all! December is here at last and with it our final Book of the Month for 2017: The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. I’ve been looking forward to this menu for a long time, so let’s get started!
Our appetizer for this menu is Who Hash, which the Grinch steals from the icebox on Christmas Eve. Dr. Seuss doesn’t give a description of it, so I decided to use it as a chance to get creative!
It seems a little strange that a few months ago I’d never made hash in my life, and now I’ve made TWO hashes in as many months (you can check out my Stranger Things Pumpkin Hash here). I decided to make a pepper and sausage hash this time, with an eye towards making it different from the hash I made last month. This hash features juicy Italian sausages that have been cut into disks and sauteed in an iron skillet with onions, red potatoes, and Christmas-y red and green bell peppers. It’s bright and satisfying with a bit of a kick—I can see why the Grinch would like it! 😉