Dec 24, 2009

Merry Christmas, my friends!

Yesterday, I did the last (hopefully!) of my Christmas shopping. I went with my daughter, who's 24, and very sensible and organized, to the grocery store to finally get what we needed for our Christmas dinner and everything else that I'd forgotten.

This year, we're having a traditional German dish, Rouladen. Rouladen is a beef roll made from a large thin steak flavored with bacon and mustard. Now, that's not a picture of my dish, but ours will look just like that - yummy, yes?  My mother is from Berlin, and her rouladen has always been a family favorite. I know I can never match her recipe, but mine still come out pretty tasty.  In fact, this year in honor of making it an easy and no hassle, we are going to make our rouladen in the crock pot. After the beef rolls are browned in a pan, they go into the crock pot on a bed of carrots, the beef stock is added and the rolls braise for several hours. Then they are removed and the stock is made into gravy. Oh, I'm already hungry.

We're also having the traditional red cabbage (rotkohl) as a side dish and just like in the photo, potato dumplings. I love potato dumplings with a passion. Those are really the easiest things ever. I use a mix that comes in a box where you just ad water to the mix and let it sit, then form balls that you drop into hot water. These taste just like the ones you make by hand. They are divine with rouladen gravy.

Now for dessert. So many things to choose from, but we decided this year to have Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce. There are so many recipes out there that it's impossible to find the best one. Really, we're taking the best from many recipes and tweaking it for our family. I'm leaving out the raisins (yuk) and instead of using just the recommended french bread, we're also using  cinnamon breakfast bread. I think it'll be great.

Anyway, we still have tons of wrapping to do, and I need to get in the kitchen and make breakfast. My kids bugged me for homefries. They love my homefries and are always disappointed when we go out for breakfast and they get a bland plate of dry cooked potatoes. Here's how I make them - ( I don't really write recipes, so I hope it's not too hard to understand):

Golden Homefried Potatoes
4 medium sized new, red, or gold potatoes
1 large onion
3 slices bacon
peanut or canola oil
salt, pepper
Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning or other spice mix if you have it

1.) If you have leftover boiled potatoes:  cut potatoes in 1/4 inch slices or 1/2 inch cubes. It's not important to be that accurate.
1A.) If  using raw potatoes: With skin on, slice potatoes in hald lengthwise, then in half again so you have 4 long strips. Slice these no more than 1/4 inch thick.
2)  Cook bacon till crisp. While bacon is cooking, dice onion into 1/2 cubes (approximately)
3) Add 2 or 3 tbs of oil to a non stick 12" skillet. If your potatoes were boiled beforehand, add the onions and cook over medium heat until yellowed and lightly caramelized, then add the cooked potatoes.  If you're using raw potatoes, add onions and potatoes at same time.
4) Now the hard part- Cook slowly and over low to medium heat for about 20 minutes - longer if your potatoes were sliced thickly or you used the raw potatoes. Turn the potatoes with a spatula occasionally. You want to allow the potatoes to get a nice, browned crust. Add oil as needed to keep from sticking.
5) When the potatoes have cooked for a few minutes, add the bacon, crumbled. Add salt and pepper, a shake of paprika and a dash of Tony's seasoning or other spice mix you may like.

I think this dish is really super easy (despite my wordiness), so I don't understand why so many restaurants make the worst homefries ever. It's a great way to use up leftover boiled potatoes, too.Try making them like this, you'll love it.

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