A Christmas Carol

Scrooge’s Hash Dinner

I can’t let the Holidays pass me by without mentioning Charles Dickens’ little nugget of joy: A Christmas Carol. I know it’s been said and done a million times, but it truly did help shape how we celebrate Christmas today. My very favorite animated version of the classic tale is this production right here. However, it seems to me that the rest world either hates it or doesn’t know it exists. But with its catchy tunes and stellar cast, it’s easy to see how I became captivated by it. I can’t even remember how the tape ended up in my house. Maybe Santa? It’s just always been here, waiting patiently for Christmas to roll around, so we can watch it over and over again.

Sure, you’d think I’d want to cook up something grand like the prize turkey, but I’ve decided to emulate pre-ghostly visitors Scrooge and make hash instead. He orders it all the time at his local tavern because it’s the cheapest thing on the menu. He doesn’t even notice when the waitress switches his order and gives him scraps while his dog, Debit, gets his meal. Yeah, hash is basically the king of leftovers and not too far from scraps, but it’s the tasty version and you can add whatever you want to it.

Recipe makes 5-6 servings.

 Ingredients

 Hash:

4 large potatoes, peeled and chopped

¼ cup milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream

Salt

Pepper

Granulated garlic

4 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 ½ cups cooked and chopped corned beef, fresh or canned

1 16 ounce can of baked beans

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

½ cup shredded cheese, optional

 

Carrots:

 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into medallions

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons honey

½ tablespoon lemon juice

½ tablespoon water

Salt

Pepper

 

Broccoli

1 large head of broccoli, cut into florets and chunks

2 tablespoons butter

Salt

Pepper

 

Directions

Hash:

Place potatoes in a large saucepan or pot. Add salt and water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes. While the potatoes are boiling, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and heat half-and-half in a small saucepan over medium heat until it simmers. Drain off the potatoes when cooked. Mash and add heated half-and-half. Stir together and season with salt, pepper, and garlic. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent. Add the corned beef, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.

Add baked beans to a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes until warmed through and it loses some of its liquid.

Spread baked beans along the bottom of a baking dish. Layer the corned beef mixture over the beans. Spread the mashed potatoes on top. Bake for 30 minutes. If adding cheese, wait until the 20 minute mark to do so. Remove from oven.

Carrots:

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan or pot over medium-high heat. Add salt and carrots and cook until carrots are tender, 5-8 minutes. Drain off the carrots and add them back to the pan. Add butter, honey, lemon juice, and water. Cook over medium heat until a glaze forms and coats the carrots. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Broccoli:

Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan or pot over medium-high heat. Add salt and broccoli and cook until broccoli is tender, 3-4 minutes. Drain off the broccoli and add it back to the pan. Melt butter and coat broccoli. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Putting It All Together:

Scoop out portions of hash, carrots, and broccoli onto a plate. Now dinner is ready!

DSC_0657 (2)DSC_0661 (2)

He tells the waitress that his “hash” isn’t fit for a dog, but I find the real thing pretty good. Maybe that’s the real reason why he orders it when he can afford a feast every night. You can’t really tell because he doesn’t seem to care about anything but his profits. But after his fateful Christmas Eve, he’s become older and wiser. He now knows that he’ll never find happiness in his stacks of money. True happiness comes from helping others and living and loving. Not just on Christmas, but every day of the year.

I wish you and yours the Happiest of Holidays!

I’ll be taking a break for the next couple of weeks.

Tune in next year for more Cartoon Cravings!

 

Advertisements

The Book of Life

 

 

Pan de muerto (Bread of the Dead)

 My house has been decked for weeks with lights, pumpkins, and every kind of dead person you can imagine. We’re on pins and needles waiting for the day we can dress up, eat half our weight in candy, and see how badly we can scare said candy out of each other. That’s fun and all, but I truly respect how other cultures still have meaningful reasons behind their similar holidays. El Día de los Muertos, or The Day of the Dead, is a beautiful tradition that I’d love to celebrate.

The Book of Life puts such a fun spin on the holiday with the Land of the Remembered. With all the fiestas, parades, balloons, and food, I could get along just fine there. That place is really hopping and they have all you can eat churros! That’s delicious but I’m going to focus on the even yummier holiday staple, pan de muerto. There were piles of these wonderful little guys all over the cemetery and it makes me want to hop a plane to see this in real life. Even though La Muerte and Xibalba asked for bread as a way to gauge Manolo and Joaquín I’m pretty sure they just really wanted the bread. It’s that good.

Recipe makes 5 breads

 Ingredients

 1/2 cup warm milk (105-115 degrees F)

1 ¼ teaspoons yeast

¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted

¼ cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons orange blossom water

2 teaspoons orange zest

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 egg plus 1 tablespoon of milk or water for egg wash

 

2 tablespoons butter, melted

¼ cup sugar

 

Directions

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 2 tablespoons of sugar in the warm milk. Let rest for 5 minutes or until foamy. Add the remaining sugar, salt, melted butter, eggs, orange blossom water, and orange zest and mix until just combined. Add flour and mix until everything is combined and dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until elastic and smooth, 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball, lightly oil, and place in a large bowl. Cover and let rest in a warm area until doubled in size, 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Punch down dough and divide into 5 equal portions. Pinch off ¼ of each portion to use for decorations. Shape a large dough piece into a slightly flattened ball. Break down the decorative dough piece into 7 equal portions. Shape one into a ball, slightly flatten, and place directly on top of the large piece. Roll out the other pieces between your hands to form long strips. Pinch the ends of each strip, so they resemble bones. Place a “bone” on the large dough piece, so the top is below the ball and it extends to the bottom of the piece. Working clockwise, attach the other 5 bones in the same manner. Repeat this with the other sections of dough. Cover breads and let rest another hour or until they’ve doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Brush each bread with egg wash and bake for 25 minutes or until golden. Remove breads from the oven and move to a cooling rack. Once the breads are cool enough to handle, brush each bread with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. All that’s left is to enjoy them!

DSC_0388 (4)DSC_0359 (2)

These breads come in a whole slew of sizes, flavors, and colors, but this is a good place to get started. (Seriously, this was my first time making them.) The Book of Life shows the importance of honoring and remembering your loved ones, so you can lead the best life you can from their examples. The decorations and food may be extra, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go all out and have fun.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!