Boxing Day Dinner

I volunteered to cook Boxing Day dinner for the family, and it went reasonably well, but I made two frustrating mistakes — cooking in someone else’s kitchen is a little stressful, trying to figure out where everything is and how to use unfamiliar appliances, and I guess I don’t always think so clearly in those circumstances.

Appetizers — tried to go easy and kid-friendly here:
• two kinds of cheddar (basic and more interesting) with mango-ginger chutney and crackers (Ritz crackers continue to be wildly popular with the kids and go incredibly fast), put out with some cut-up watermelon and pineapple

• carrot sticks and sliced bell pepper, with ranch dip

Entree:
• chicken marbella (for some of the grown-ups)
• sautéed chicken thighs in béchamel (for everyone else)
• buttered egg noodles
• roasted asparagus

• sautéed broccolini

Dessert:
• lots of leftover Christmas cookies

• mango fluff

The two mistakes I made? Well, one was a simple error with the mango fluff — I forgot that fresh pineapple will keep the gelatin from setting; usually I remember and use canned, but they had fresh on hand and I just didn’t think about it. Sigh. So it was more mango dessert soup? Still tasty, but a little frustrating.

The bigger mistake was with the chicken marbella. I haven’t actually made it before, and while it’s a simple enough recipe (marinate together: garlic, green olives, prunes, capers, red wine vinegar, oregano, bay leaves, salt, pepper, brown sugar, and white wine with chicken pieces; bake; sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve), the timing was off.

I’m honestly not sure why, but we brought it to the table and served it, and some of the chicken on the bone was still pink near the bone. Argh. We put it back in the oven to finish cooking, and it was totally fine the next day, but frustrating.

Lessons:

• try not to cook in a hurry, especially in an unfamiliar kitchen
• remember relevant chemical interactions
• always check that meat is cooked through before serving, esp. meat on the bone, which takes longer

• don’t try an unfamiliar recipe for the first time for a big party!

Oh well. Everyone ate well anyway, because I made too much food per usual, and we had enough for leftovers the next day, and it’s all fine. Just a little irritating!

Here’s a recipe for chicken marbella, which I really do like a lot. Just watch those cooking times!

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