Days of festivals; nights of feasting

I don’t know about you, but I am enjoying the heck out of Christmas in Europe. I finally made it to a real Christmas market, in Annecy, France. The weather is so spectacularly beautiful I wish I could gift wrap it for you. This was our weekend:

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We wandered through the markets lining the canals, which offered your typical farmer’s market wares, as well as Christmas-y inspired foods and decorations. Z and I’s favourite booth was a Quebecois one. We indulged in poutine in the park, as well as some authentic Beavertails.

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Oh my goodness, you cannot understand the joy I got out of these simple things. I miss you, fatty Canadian foods!

That night, I whipped up a bit of a feast. It was Sunday dinner, after all. I delved into my Atco Blue Flame Kitchen Holiday cookbook. Do you know Blue Flame Kitchen? Do you love them? Some of these recipes are from there, other are cobbled together from odds and ends around the internets.

PorkTenderloin

Apple Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients

1 cup (250 mL) apple juice

1 tsp (5 mL) grated fresh ginger

1 tsp (5 mL) salt

1/2 tsp (2 mL) freshly ground pepper

1/2 tsp (2 mL) cinnamon

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 pork tenderloins (1 lb/0.5 kg each)

1/4 cup (50 mL) apple butter
 (recipe below)

1 tbsp (15 mL) balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp (15 mL) honey

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground pepper

1/4 tsp (1 mL) cinnamon

1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground ginger

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp (15 mL) oil

To prepare marinade, combine first 6 ingredients (apple juice through crushed garlic) in a heavy zip-lock plastic bag. Add pork and squeeze bag to coat pork with marinade. Seal bag and place on a plate. Refrigerate, turning bag occasionally, for at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours.

Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Line a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil. Remove bag with pork from refrigerator and let stand for 20 – 30 minutes.

To prepare glaze, combine next 8 ingredients (apple butter through chopped garlic) in a small nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; set aside.

Heat oil in a large frypan over medium heat. Remove pork from marinade; discard marinade. Add pork to frypan and brown on all sides. Transfer pork to prepared pan. Brush pork with glaze, rotating to brush all sides.

Bake, uncovered, for 20 – 25 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 160ºF (71ºC). Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

Apple Butter

Ingredients

4 pounds assorted apples, peeled and chopped

2 cups apple cider

1 cup packed light brown sugar

Kosher salt

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Combine the apples, apple cider, brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large ovenproof pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, partially cover and cook until the apples are soft, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla and cloves. Puree the mixture in a blender in batches until smooth (or use an immersion blender).

Return the mixture to the pot and bake, uncovered, stirring every 30 minutes, until thickened and deep amber, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours (the timing will depend on the kind of apples you use). Remove from the oven and let cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 5 days.

Rosti

Rosti is a Swiss recipe! I’m glad I finally tried it, and it came out somewhat successfully! Only a few minor mishaps when it comes to flipping it over onto the plate. And no burns (this time).

Rosti

Ingredients

2 large russet potatoes, peeled

1/2 cup (125 mL) thinly sliced green onions

3 tbsp (40 mL) oil

3 tbsp (40 mL) butter, melted

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground pepper

Cook potatoes in boiling salted water for 5 minutes; drain. Cool immediately in ice water; drain. When cool enough to handle, shred potatoes. There should be about 4 cups (1 L). Add green onions, oil, melted butter, salt and pepper to potatoes; toss gently to combine.

Heat a large nonstick frypan over medium heat. Spoon potato mixture into frypan, flattening to form a large cake almost the size of the pan. Cook, uncovered, flattening occasionally, until underside is golden brown, about 5 – 7 minutes.

Place a plate upside down on top of frypan. Wearing oven mitts, invert Rösti onto plate. Gently slide Rösti, without breaking, back into frypan browned side up. Cook, uncovered, until underside is golden brown, about 5 – 7 minutes.

Place a serving plate upside down on top of frypan. Wearing oven mitts, invert Rösti onto plate.

BrusselSprouts

The age old question: How to make brussel sprouts appetizing? Answer: Add bacon.

Brussel Sprouts Leaves with Pecans and Bacon

Ingredients

1 lb (0.5 kg) Brussels sprouts (about 26)

2 tbsp (25 mL) butter

1 tbsp (15 mL) maple-flavoured pancake syrup

1/4 cup (50 mL) crumbled cooked bacon

1/4 cup (50 mL) coarsely chopped pecans

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground pepper

Cut Brussels sprouts in half lengthwise; cut out and discard cores. Separate Brussels sprouts into leaves. There should be about 8 cups (2 L).

Melt butter in a large nonstick frypan over medium heat. Add syrup and stir to combine. Add Brussels sprouts leaves and stir to coat with butter mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, until leaves are tender crisp, about 7 – 8 minutes. Add bacon, pecans, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Serve immediately.

And let’s not forget about dessert. I decided to do it the Swiss way and instead of baking, I visited the local patisserie. A traditional French dessert at this time of year is a chocolate Yule Log. I bought a mini one to be shared. It was perfect.

YuleLog

With this post, I’m signing off for the next week and a half-ish. Because, well, I’m going to Italy. Why not a last minute trip to Italy? Yes, am definitely getting used to European Christmas! Much love from my family to yours and have a very Merry Christmas. See you in the New Year with more travel posts, book reviews, and recipes good and bad.

 

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