Unique eats for holiday table
By Michelle Blackley Glynn
This year's Christmas dinner doesn't have to feature the same old turkey and ham. Instead, let the influences of the foodie revolution seep through your television and onto the holiday table.
As chefs have revealed themselves from the kitchens and into popular culinary and travel shows, at-home cooks have tried to keep up.
Instead of going broke buying every specific ingredient, or becoming intoxicated drinking every time one of these celebrities use heavy cream and butter, go back into time this holiday season and dig out age-tested recipes that are also crowd pleasers.
Here are a few suggestions that will surely wake any palate from a Christmas routine.
If you're Italian, then no doubt the Feast of the Seven Fishes will be on your Christmas Eve menu. But how about lasagna as a side dish? Unable to reveal personal family recipes, the Italian families in Western New York are sure to have their own.
For the main course, goose was the meat of choice for many American families long before Dickens wrote of its succulence in "A Christmas Carol." A recommended recipe comes from Sam Sifton, founding editor of New York Times Cooking.
Rinse and dry the goose, rub it inside and out with salt, and refrigerate uncovered for at least six hours, or overnight. The next morning, rub goose well with paper towels, then allow it to sit on a rack in the kitchen for about an hour, to come to room temperature. Trim wing tips and excess fat from goose and reserve for another use.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using a clean needle or sharply pointed knife, prick the skin of the goose all over, to allow the fat to run when it roasts. Stick the skin at an angle, so as to pierce just the skin and not the meat of the bird. Season the goose with salt and pepper, then place the rack in a deep roasting pan, and cook for one hour.
Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for approximately three to five minutes, then drain and reserve the potatoes.
After an hour's roasting, remove the goose from the oven, and pour off the fat from the pan, reserving for another use. Put the goose on its rack back in the pan and add the potatoes. Roast for another hour.
After the goose has roasted for two hours total, reduce oven to 275 degrees and continue roasting approximately 30 to 45 minutes - about 15 minutes per pound total - or until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees at the center of the breast. Remove goose to a carving board and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. The bird may be served at room temperature if you like.
Remove potatoes from pan and keep them warm under foil until ready to serve.
Prime rib and roasts are also a popular choice when trying to be different but, in Western New York, pierogies filled with something sweet or savory are a crowd pleaser. Like the Italian families, a good Polish family is not going to give away a family recipe. Time-consuming to make, these Eastern European dumplings are worth it.
Last but not least is the American or Hungarian goulash. There are all sorts of variations but, on average, the recipes are easy, affordable to make, and sure to please a hungry crowd.
Michelle Blackley Glynn is the owner/chief creative officer at Full Plate Publicity and adjunct instructor at Niagara University and Buffalo State College. She is also the host of "Pearls, Plates & Planes" on LCTV, and can be found on Twitter at shellblackley.