Suzy Says
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Christmas Eve’s Eve
December 23rd, 2010 by suzy in Cooking,Family,Special Occasions

Kitten proof Christmas tree!

Yesterday morning, I heard the pantry door close and went to investigate. It was around 8:00 in the morning, so I figured it was Rob. But it was Megan, bearing bags of Christmas groceries. We divided up the list on Monday, and on Tuesday I braved the crowds to get my part on a day when all the other shoppers appeared to have had their brains removed or somehow become zombies while simultaneously equipping themselves with an outsize number of screaming kids. Megan shopped at 6:30 in the morning, when there are few shoppers, but the shelves are being stocked and there are huge carts and stockers everywhere you want to be. Also she was shopping after twelve hours of work.

I think I know who had the worse shopping experience.

While I was decanting bags in the pantry and feeding the cats, Megan put the gel tree you see above on the sliding glass doors in the living room to surprise me. “Now you finally have a tree the cats can’t mess with,” she said.

I have the best sister ever.

In the spirit of Doing Things Ahead, which I firmly believe is the key to surviving the holidays with a modicum of sanity left, I made Thursday night’s turkey chili on Wednesday (chili is always better the next day) and am starting the lengthy process of Christmas Eve’s parsnip vichyssoise today. We have had this soup for Christmas Eve dinner for many years, going way back to the halcyon days when Dad spent every other Christmas with us. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Parsnip Vichyssoise

2 large leeks, white part only, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise, 1/2 inch thick
2 & 1/2 pounds parsnips, peeled and cut into two inch chunks
3 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into two inch chunks
8 garlic gloves, peeled and lightly crushed
1 onion, halved and sliced thinly
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
6 cups chicken broth
4 ounces butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 cups milk
2 cups cream (I use half and half)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
12 whole chives, plus 2 tablespoons, snipped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large, shallow roasting pan, combine the leeks, parsnips, potatoes, garlic, and onion. Sprinkle with cardamom and brown sugar and stir to combine. Pour two cups of stock over the vegetables and dot with the butter. Cover tightly with foil and bake for two hours, until the vegetables are very tender, stirring occasionally during cooking.

Transfer the vegetables and any liquid to a large saucepan. Add the remaining 4 cups of stock and the lemon juice. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Working in small batches, transfer the vegetables and liquid to food processor and puree until smooth (I like it a little chunky). The soup can be prepared to this point up to two days ahead. Let cool, cover, and refrigerate. It may be necessary to thin the soup with a little stock before reheating.

To finish the soup, add the milk and cream and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed through. Do not boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with whole chives and snipped chives for garnish.

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One Response

Love the tree and yes you have a great sister and friends. Merry Christmas to all, enjoy the family time.

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