My in-laws food desires are fed by a Scandinavian background: my father-in-law's family is from Sweden and mother-in-law from Norway. Some of what we ate is inspired by that background, but some just comes from a love of food. We began the day with a few deliciously Scandinavian selections. There were two food options and one drink that were put out early.
First was Swedish coffee bread, which is a dense semi-sweet bread infused with cardamom and sprinkled with shaved almonds and sugar. The other is gravlax, sugar and salt cured raw salmon served with dill and accompanied with hovmastarsas, a dill mustard. We also had an interesting drink called Glug. While the name suggests a vile concoction originating from the middle ages, it is actually quite good. It is a lovely combination of one beer, a gallon of port wine, whiskey or vodka, almonds, raisins and cloves. During the process, it is flambéed to burn off some of the alcohol, but it remains fairly potent. It is on the same traditional line as wassail, but not mainly fruit juice. It is served warm and is ideal for opening gifts.
This was simply something to keep people happy until the main event rolled around. As is often the case, the meal with my in-laws centers around a huge amount of meat. This time, it was around a nine pound, four rib, bone-in ribeye. It was accompanied by several sides, which included dill carrots, mashed potatoes, roasted Brussel sprouts with shallots, Asparagus, creamed leaks, and three sauces- creamy horseradish, hollandaise, cream cabernet with mushrooms and shallots, and a true pan gravy.
The meat was cooked to a perfect medium on the outsides and a slightly less cooked medium-rare in the middle of the roast. The creamed leaks, however, stole the show. My father-in-law used simple ingredients to create a delicious side dish. He cooked the leaks in butter, white wine, and cream, then topped with homemade whole wheat bread crumbs. The leaks were tender, but not soggy, which can happen even though leaksare tougher to overcook that onions or shallots. The meal concluded with a ridiculous spread of cookies, almond bars (which will be in a future post) and after-dinner drinks (which will be another post soon).
All in all, it was a great holiday, topped off with a great holiday meal. I hope that you all who read will post some comments about the meals your families cook during the holidays. For now, have a good few days and have a great New Year.