There are several kinds of gingerbread cookies, from the soft, chewy type with large cracks in the surface, to the very smooth, brittle sort used to build houses and men. This post is about the latter.
Below is a very simple gingerbread recipe that I wanted to post on Button Soup for the sake of completeness, as I use it to build my gingerbread houses. I like to cut the excess dough into other traditional shapes, like men, Christmas trees, and dinosaurs.
Tips and Tricks
- The key to getting this dough to hold its shape during baking is to roll it quite thin, about 1/8″, and to chill it thoroughly before baking.
- This is one of the very few instances
… Continue reading.
It’s advent, which means there will be a post on Button Soup every day between now and Christmas.
The Button Soup advent calendar lets me write at length about important holiday traditions. It also forces me to complete the dozens of half-written, unpublished posts that have accumulated on my computer and in my brain.
It’s gonna be good. Stay tuned.
I say this without exaggeration: I hold stuffing as one of the greatest culinary traditions of the New World. I know the British and French and many others make similar dishes, but stuffing, or dressing, is an indispensable dish for the Thanksgiving table. Technically it is an accompaniment to the turkey. I often have to remind myself of this.
So. What is stuffing? Stuffing is bread. As the name implies, it was originally crammed into the cavity of poultry, absorbing the juice and fat exuded from the bird during cooking. While this method is still common in Canadian homes, it is giving way to “stuffing” that is prepared in a casserole instead of a bird. There are two reasons for … Continue reading.
Thanksgiving is the only truly and completely North American feast that my family celebrates: all others have their roots deep in European ground, and are either specific national dinners like St. Patrick’s Day, or broader Christian celebrations like Easter and Christmas.
Thanksgiving dinner is the most rigidly traditional meal that most North American families share. For Easter and Christmas, families choose between ham and turkey, or possibly roast beef. They may serve scallop potatoes, or mash. Dessert could be any number of pies or cakes. The specifics depend on the family, where they are on the continent, and where their ancestors came from. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is more uniform, and centres on a few distinctly New World ingredients … Continue reading.
I think I remember scallop potatoes more fondly than any other form of the tuber. Maybe French fries were more highly prized when I was a child, but truth be told I ate them much more often than scallop potatoes. Scallop potatoes, being a casserole dish, was reserved for large dinners, especially Easter.
At its core the dish is potatoes, cut into rounds (scalloped), then baked in cream and cheese. There are obviously countless variations; I know some mothers who bake their scallop potatoes in mushroom or onion soup mix. There is a classic French dish called pommes à la dauphinois that is identical to scallop potatoes. The addition of grated cheese to the top of the dish would make … Continue reading.
Scotch eggs are hard-boiled eggs that are wrapped in sausage meat, then breaded and deep-fried. They’re eaten cold, ideal for picnics and packed lunches. Actually if you watch the original British version of The Office you’ll see that Keith always has a Scotch egg for lunch.
Tonight is Burns Night, and we’re going to be serving little Scotch eggs made with quail eggs, instead of the traditional chicken egg, as savoury bar snacks.
Have a dram for the bard tonight.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Happy New Year from Lisa and Allan.
Sugar plums are one of those items that are common in Christmas carols and stories and yet are basically unknown to modern revelers. (Other examples: wassail, yule, and figgy pudding. Furthermore, I’ve never seen mistletoe before, and I just saw real holly for the first time a few weeks ago, at the farmers’ market. I got excited, grabbed the leaves, and stabbed myself.)
My dictionary defines a sugar plum as a small ball of candy, and nothing more. There are not necessarily any plums in sugar plums. The word “plum” is associated with dried fruit, and good modern dictionaries still give one of the many meanings of “plum” as “a raisin.” The most common manifestation of sugar plums is … Continue reading.
How to Incorporate the Eggs. There are several different ways to put the “egg” into “eggnog.” For a few years I used this method:
- whisk egg yolks with some sugar until pale and foamy
- whisk egg whites with some sugar until soft peaks form
- fold the two egg foams together and stir into milk and cream
- add rum and nutmeg
The problem with this method, first of all, is that if it sits for even five minutes, the eggy foams separate from the milk and cream. I wouldn’t mind a bit of head on the nog, but the foams make up about 90% of the volume. Even during the brief moments in which all the ingredients are properly incorporated, … Continue reading.