Tuesday, December 25, 2007

It Takes Two, Baby

Well, this is one for the record books, folks. For the first time in history, I cooked a full meal for my mother. It's not that I was never capable of doing so, but more that I never had the opportunity or the energy to convince her to let me try. But, as luck would have it, authoring a food blog with photographic evidence of my cooking capabilities did it. That, and she had an overpowering flu and bronchial infection rendering her incapable of moving from the sofa and cooking it herself. So, we scrapped our original seafood feast idea and set off to design a new menu fit for two gals (one of which was coughing up a lung) on Christmas Eve.

Since my mother was only just starting to keep food down, we decided that the protein should be simple, maybe poultry. She remembered my saying that I make a good Cornish game hen, so we went with that (we're not turkey people--very few Spaniards eat turkey) and decided to cook the two tiny birds over a bed of soft, oven roasted potatoes. Having missed Thanksgiving for the last 5 or so years, my mother demanded cranberry jelly on the side, so I gladly rid the supermarket of their Thanksgiving overstock. I love roasting green asparagus in the oven, so we added that as the bit of green in our meal. I'd already made a seafood paté to snack on while the hens roasted, so that bit would have to stay (even if I ate it all myself).

So, while my mom showered and dressed, I began reducing the glaze, chopping the potatoes, chilling the cranberry jelly and seasoning the asparagus. By the time she was done, the house smelled of cumin, fennel and nutmeg, and all that was left was to glaze the hens every 10 minutes. I felt invincible setting out the paté aperitif as my mom commented on how great the house smelled. Sure, there were a few comments here and there about how I should be leaving the skin to crisp, or that I should mind the asparagus, but all in all, I was not harassed by mother and really had the opportunity to cook my way. The meal turned out great, she loved it, and so did I. It was warm and filling, and had a real Christmas feel to it, even if it was just for two.

I've written about the Cornish hens before, so here's the recipe for the super easy oven roasted asparagus we had on the side. I hope everyone had a great holiday, filled with button popping meals and delicious treats. I'd love to hear about what you made for yourself or your family to celebrate. Merry Christmas!

Oven Roasted Asparagus

1 bunch asparagus (about 10 spears)
olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.

2. Cover a sheet pan with aluminum foil (for easy clean-up).

3. Spread out asparagus on the sheet pan and drizzle with oil. Season liberally with salt and about a 1/4 tsp pepper. Toss to coat.

4. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until cooked through but still a bit crisp in the center. Enjoy!

**Sorry for the crappy photos, I am currently without Photoshop while I'm not working for the holidays. Also, I didn't bother to set up lighting so our food wouldn't get cold while I took a million pics. I'll get back to some decent photography in the next few entries!



Alyssa said...

I'm sorry your mom was sick! but the meal looks great! sorry about the photoshop. Reading your blog reminded me to get the disk for you. It's in my work bag now.

hope you had a great Christmas!

Kimmysue said...

I made lasagna but not layered. I rolled a big ricotta,three cheeses and seasoning ball in a cooked lasagna noodle. I baked them covered with a 1/2 cup seasoned water so they would not dry out. I had the two day slow cooking marinara sauce on the side so every one could add the amount they liked. It was fabulous!