Roasted Christmas Goose

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6-8 Servings

8 lbs. goose, best a free range goose

Salt, spiced salt – I used salt that I had mixed with some Italian herbs, but not too much of the herbs

Pepper

Broth

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 Onion, halved

2 Celery stalks, cleaned, halved and cut into pieces

1 Carrot, peeled and cut into pieces

2 Garlic gloves, chopped

Other root vegetables are optional

Bay Leaf

Marjoram, dried

Filling

2 Apples (Golden Delicious), washed, cored, quartered and cut into medium sized pieces

1 Cup pitted prunes

Optional to be added: chopped walnuts and other dried fruits and a bit of rum or cognac

2 Tablespoons of butter

Salt

Pepper

Marjoram

Heavy saucepan

Strainer

Oval roaster w. lid

Open roasting pan with rack

1 Large sauté pan

Copping board

Tweezers

1 Fork

Utility Knife

Cook’s Knife

2 strong meat forks

1 Spoon

Carving board and carving knife and fork

2 ½ days before dinner:

Take the goose out of the freezer, remove the foil and place the bird in a roasting pan on top of a rack. Let the goose defrost for 1 ½ days.

24 hours before cooking the dinner:

Remove the bag with the giblets, cut off the end of the wings and dry the goose with paper towels. Remove all excess fat and pluck out any remaining quills (by using the strong tweezers). Salt and pepper the goose generously in and outside and place it on the cleaned rack in the roaster. Place back into the fridge for the next 24 hours. We call this dry brine, it does not add any water to your roast and the skin will be really nice colored and very crisp.

Heat up the olive oil in a heavy sauce pan or the oval roaster and brown the wings and the giblets. Add the vegetables and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil and cut down the temperature. Close the pot and let simmer for 2 hours. When cooled down strain the broth trough a cheese-cloth and strainer; keep some of the vegetable pieces and store everything in the fridge.

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Dinner day:

Calculate your needed cooking time: 40 minutes steaming time, cooling down time 20 minutes, 20 minutes per pound roasting time (2 hours and 40 minutes for 8 lbs.) and another 30 minutes resting time. All together you will need some 4 hours and 10 minutes.

Take the goose good 5 hours before serving time out of the fridge.

Prepare the filling; I did it this time after the steaming time. But I would suggest to briefly sauté the filling first; it taste a lot better. Heat up the butter in the sauté pan; add the apple pieces, sauté for some 2 minutes on medium heat. Add the prunes, marjoram, salt and pepper to taste and add a little bit of cognac or rum. Take the pan from the heat and let the filling cool down.

Fill the oval roaster 2 inch high with the broth and place the goose if possible on a rack, but it works also without a rack in the roaster. Bring the broth to a boil, cut down the temperature and let it simmer for some 30 minutes. This moist heating phase will help to melt away a good amount of the goose fat and will make the meat even more tender.

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Carefully remove the lid and let the goose cool down some 20 minutes before further roasting of the goose in the oven.

Heat up the oven to 325 degrees.

With two strong meat forks remove the goose from the oval roaster, be careful to let all liquids drop back into the oval roaster. Lift the goose on the roasting rack; with the spoon stuff the filling loosely into the cavity. Skim fat of the broth and add two soup ladles of the broth into the roasting pan and placed the roasting pan into the oven. Roast for another 2 hours and 40 minutes. Try to remove as much fat as you can during the roasting time and in the last 30 minutes baste the goose often with some cold saltwater.

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Be sure to keep the goose fat, it is one of the best fats for cooking.

If you are using a thermometer, the tight meat should be about 180 degrees, if the goose is stuffed, then the stuffing should reach 170 degrees.

If the skin should be not brown enough you could increase the heat to 425 degrees and let the goose roast for another few (5 -7) minutes on higher temperature. Keep an eye on the goose; you do not want to ruin the goose in the last moment.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven and cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil. After 20 minutes lift out the goose – again with the help of the two meat forks and place it on a carving board.

Prepare the gravy, fill 1 cup of broth into the roaster and loosen up the drippings. Pour the liquid into a measuring cup; try to separate the fat from the rest of the drippings, either by using a sauce separator cup or you have to scoop off the fat first. Add some of the kept vegetables and if you like 1 or 2 tablespoons of the filling, place this all into a blender and puree the mixture. Spice the gravy to taste with salt and pepper and a bit of cognac. The gravy should be very silky and rich in flavor. I stopped adding flour and even sweet or sour cream. We love it like it is. And do not worry, you will always think that the sauce is messed up, but at the end the gravy will be great – like the rest of this feast.  And by skipping the flour or starch you are escaping one big problem with the sauce, nothing is worse than a lumpy flour sauce.

I served the duck with red cabbage – cooked with apple, a handful of fresh cranberries and the usual spices and seasoned it at the end with a good tablespoon of black currant jelly. Furthermore I was unable to resist cooking scalloped sweet and Idaho potatoes with heavy cream and some grated parmesan. The oven is already hot and it is easy to prepare and cooks while the duck is resting. Those potatoes are my favorite comfort food – at the moment.

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What a feast, enjoy it.

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Where is the time gone

Today is the 4th Advent, and I am wondering where the time went. I baked a lot, but have not found the time to post the recipes. But now the Christmas Dinner, we enjoyed our feast one week early, just to be able to make the pictures and write everything down. And I must admit that I had my perfect guests available. They loved it.

Good luck with your Christmas Dinner.

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Christmas Cookies

It’s December, high time for some serious baking. Forget to look for some fancy decorated cookies on my blog site. I do not make those, but my cookies are still very good. Some of my recipes are from Home and Garden magazines and other ones are from my family and some I do not even remember where I found them. And it is all still a work in progress.

I often try to get more than one recipe done in one afternoon; therefore I will try to keep the cookies that could be done at the same day together.

I always work with butter, no shortening or margarine. Never ever. By the way, every American recipe will say that the cookies will be good for up to 2 or 3 days. Hm, man, I am so lucky that I am still alive! That would not work for me. I am therefore happy to call a strong and well trained stomach my own that allows me to eat cookies several weeks after baking them. While now living here in the tropics I often store them in the fridge.

And here are now the first 2 recipes.

Pumpkin-Spiced Balls

Recipe Home & Garden

Ingredients:

1 cup softened butter

½ cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla sugar

½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup pecans

For the glaze:
¾ cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Half-and –half cream or milk

Utensils: Kitchen machine, spatula, bowl, teaspoon, cookie sheet and cookie rack, for the glaze a small bowl and a wire whisk

Preheat the oven to F 325°. Spread the pecans evenly on a cookie sheet and roast them for 8-10 minutes until they are slightly golden brown, stirring once or twice. Cool completely. Chop the nuts.

(You might want to roast the double amount of pecans, there will be another recipe below asking for the same amount and with a similar dough and very yummy too.)

Preheat the oven to 325°. Place butter into the kitchen machine and beat the butter on medium speed with the wire whip for some 30 seconds. Add the sugar and vanilla until combined, scraping the inside of the bowl.  Blend in the pumpkin spice and as much flour as you can with the machine. Cut off the machine and manually work in the rest of the flour. Blend in the pecan nuts.

Form small 1 inch balls, place them on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake them for 16-18 minutes or until bottoms are slightly brown. Let cool on a wire rack.

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For the glaze with a little whisk blend the sugar, pumpkin pie spice and milk together, it should not be too liquid otherwise the glaze will run down on the cookies. Dip the tops of the cookies into the glaze, place them again on the wire rack, glazed tops up and let them stand until set, at least for 1 hour.

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Chocolate Balls

Recipe Home & Garden

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened

1 ¼ cups powdered sugar

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups all purpose flour

Additional ingredients for the coating mixture:

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup pecans

Utensils: Kitchen machine, spatula, bowl, teaspoon, cookie sheet and cookie rack, for the coating mixture a small bowl and a wire whisk

Preheat the oven to F 325°. Spread the pecans evenly on a cookie sheet and roast them for 8-10 minutes until they are slightly golden brown, stirring once or twice. Cool completely. Chop the nuts.

(You might want to roast the double amount of pecans, there will be another recipe above asking for the same amount and with a similar dough and very yummy too.)

Preheat the oven to F325°. Place butter into the kitchen machine and beat the butter on medium speed with the wire whip for some 30 seconds. Add the ½ of the powdered sugar, ¼ cup of the cocoa powder and the vanilla until combined, scraping the inside of the bowl.  Beat in as much flour as you can with the machine. Cut off the machine and manually work in the rest of the flour, ½ teaspoon of the cinnamon and the pecans.

Form small 1 inch balls, place them on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake them for 16-18 minutes or until bottoms are slightly brown. Let cool on a wire rack.

With a little whisk combine the remaining ¾ cup powdered sugar, ¼ cup cocoa powder and ½ teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Roll the cooled cookies in the sugar mixture.

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Happy First Advent

Today we celebrate in my home country Germany the 1. Advent. And with every of the 4 Advent Sundays we are moving closer towards Christmas. I always enjoyed the Advent celebrations. As little kids we did created our gifts for the parents and grandparents. My mother must had the most terrible memory, every Christmas she was so surprised about the gifts while having helped us a few weeks earlier to create them. On those Sundays we enjoyed often oven baked apples, the smell is just too good.

I started early on to help my mother with the Christmas bakery. Let me tell you, you need plenty of cookies if you have 3 brothers and the tradition in the family that you have to feel sick on Christmas eve otherwise it is not a real Christmas. And a few years later we started with our Advent Teas. The first Stollen from my step dads mom arrived just in time. Grandma was from Dresden and made the very best Stollen. I think she made some 20 Stollen per year each of them with a weight of up to 2kg. I have never tried to make Stollen myself, I do not even dream about to get it done properly.

Anyway, we enjoyed coffee and tea together with the Stollen, our homemade cookies and sometimes also the Bremer Klaben, a very special cake-bread from my hometown. Sure enough with 4 kids at the table there was a lot of stress involved, often with tears, but today I must say, I loved this time. The smell and the candle lights and good music in the background. And that is exactly the reason why I will go now into my kitchen again and continue to bake some more Christmas cookies and I should try to make a Klaben this year.

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An Advent Wreath is the usual table decoration and the wreath holds for each Sunday one candle. On the first Advent we light up one candle, on the second Advent 2 candles and so forth. Today I found the pictured advent wreath with candles in red mugs. I just love it.

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Posted in Recipes

Smoothie Time

Boost your energy and stay fit over the winter season.

Prepare yourself for smoothies

There is almost nothing else that can boost up your energy like a good solid smoothie. Prepare yourself a good morning drink filled with vitamins, proteins, minerals and fiber and you will be ready for the day.

What you should have in the freezer:

Buy the larger bags with frozen fruits; I have a bag with mixed fruits like mango, strawberries and peaches and another large bag full of blueberries.

When I am able to find very ripe bananas I will buy 10-15, let them ripe a little bit more at home until they are turning black. I peel and break them into larger pieces and place them into a large zip lock bag and freeze them.

Look into the freezer display of your supermarkets and search for ginger in little portions. The ginger adds some extra kick. With all those fruits I have a great foundation for my smoothies and no extra ice and no store bought fruit juices needed. But fruits are not all what you should add.

What you should have in the fridge:

My favorites are the green or red smoothies. Therefore I do buy a bag with young spinach or kale, wash and dry the greens and keep them in the fridge, easily accessible. I do have a salad-spinner with a stainless steel bowl and a lid. I just pour the water off after spinning and leave the greens in the strainer and close it with the lid; this will keep the greens fresh and crisp for a few days.

You can furthermore add other greens and even herbs.

The red smoothie is made with red beet. I buy 4-5 red beets, wash them and wrap them tightly into aluminum foil and roast them by 425 degrees F for 45-60 minutes, I then carefully open the foil and poke with a knife to see if they are done.

When they are done I let them cool down. I fold one paper towel and hold with that a beet, fold up another paper towel and while holding the beet in one hand you I can rub off the skin with the paper towel. Even if I still end up with red hands, after washing them the hands will soon look clean again. I will cut off the bottom of the beet and cut them into quarters. Store them in the fridge in an airtight container.

I moved away from using yoghurt, milk and soymilk and use instead almond or flax milk. I love flax milk! Avoid buying milks with added sugar or flavors – that translates also into sugar, trust me the smoothies will be sweet enough. By the way, if kids are screaming for more sugar in the smoothie, take honey and give them less and less until they are fine.

What you should have in your cupboard:

Flaxseeds, oatmeal or any other healthy oatmeal, seeds and nuts mix. Avoid raisins, too many calories and they are difficult to blend in a blender, very uncooperative indeed.

And now we can make our smoothie

Pull out your blender and per person fill it with

1 cup Flax milk

¼ red beet or one good handful greens

1-2 pieces bananas

1 tbsp blueberries

2 tbsp mixed fruits

1 piece ginger

1 tbsp oatmeal, nuts or seeds

Start slowly blending, add some liquid if needed, increase the speed to 2 or 3 and let it run for 2-3minutes.

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Enjoy

After making smoothies for while you will get more confident and start playing around with the ingredients. You might be shocked how much money you will spend on your smoothie ingredients, but you will fast recognize how far you will reach with the big fruit bags and at the end you will save a lot of money. You will feel better and have a lot of energy.

Most store bought smoothies are loaded with sugar and other useless and high calorie ingredients. Some of these smoothies have easily over 600 calories, more than a double cheeseburger! So, make it yourself, safe a lot of money and calories.

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Potato Gratin

2 Garlic Glove

1 Tsp Butter

2 Pound white potatoes

2/3 Cup whipping cream

1/4 Cup milk

Salt

White Pepper

Nutmeg, grated

1/2 Cup grated Gruyere

1/2 Cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan

1 Tbls Butter

Cutting board

Utility and Chef’s knife

Basting brush

1 Sauce pot

1 Ovenproof baking form, preferable porcelain

Heat the oven to 400 degree F.

Peel and cut the first garlic glove in half and rub with the cut side all over the inside of the baking dish. With the basting brush butter the dish.

Carefully heat up the liquids on low heat in the small sauce pot, peel and crush the other garlic glove with the chef’s knife and put the crushed glove into the liquid. Let it steep there for a while, stir in the nutmeg and take off from the heat.

Clean and peel potatoes and slice into very thin slices. Layer the slices into the baking form, salt and pepper the potatoes and pour over the liquid. Spread the cheese over the mix and place some very small butter pieces on top of the gratin.

Bake for some 40 – 50 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly. To be sure check the potatoes if they yield easily when poked with the sharp utility knife.

Take the form out of the oven, let stay for some 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

(I do cook often with white pepper, basic rule is always: light color of vegetables, sauces and meat/fish use white pepper and for darker vegetables, sauces and meats black pepper)

Variations

You can add some chopped herbs like fresh thyme and rosemary while layering the potatoes.

Take yellow and sweet potatoes and alternate between them when layering them into the form.I always loved a good potato gratin, but the combination of yellow and sweet potatoes is just giving the gratin the extra kick. It is indeed a very delicious dish.

Potato Gratin

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Posted in Recipes

Mashed Potatoes?

Please allow me a word or two in regards to mashed potatoes. You might have wondered about the missing recipe for mashed potatoes. I assumed that if you want to tackle a Thanksgiving Dinner we can assume that you indeed know about the always loved mashed potatoes. I recognized over the years the increasing amount of advice regarding some finishing touches for this staple dish. Might some other cooks have recognized that the potatoes are indeed lacking flavor and some overall substance? Perhaps we should start thinking about why everybody wants to add garlic, cream cheese, herbs and I do not know what else?

While watching my mother I learned to add butter: 1 -2 tablespoons and not sticks, some milk and nutmeg. Salt to taste. Today I do need to add more butter: at least 3 tablespoons, whipping cream, nutmeg and mostly also 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, yes it helps or a bit of cream cheese.

At the end it will all boil down to the quality of your potatoes, like with the meat, if the product is good and fresh you will not need to assist much with the taste.

Less is always more and more is just more and confusing the senses.

Posted in Recipes
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