Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas KitchenAid Contest!

For me, as for many of you, this time of year brings a flood of childhood (and adolescent and adult) memories.  It shouldn't be a shock to you that many of these memories revolve around food.  I go home to NL (almost) every year, and indulge in a well-stocked fridge and pantry from which to craft decadent snacks and tasty treats.

There was the time that I made my first risotto with green peas and Parmesan, topped with (dad's) pan fried cod and a luscious mixed tomato salad; a Moroccan-style stew with leftover turkey; french toast with leftover lemon-cranberry loaf and last year's lovely pancakes with apple-cinnamon topping (below) for our Christmas Brunch.  There used to be photos of all the others too, which I can't seem to locate...

Our Christmas day brunch is my absolute favorite memory because all we do - all day - is EAT!  An awesome spread of scrambled eggs, bacon, lovely cheeses, clementines, brioche, croissants, pancakes and strong coffee.  Then later, we break out the bubbly, Bailey's and rum and eggnog.  We only start to acknowledge presents at 2 pm or so!  On Christmas day, it's the food, the music (Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas), the twinkly lights and the people I spend it with that make the memory special.


Of course, there were the more indulgent memories: Christmas Fest on the Upper West and my lovely box of chocolates from The Newfoundland Chocolate Company,  Then again, to a lesser degree of exertion,  I also remember devouring an entire crate of clementines or copious amounts of rum and eggnog.

But regardless of these meals, the majority of them were shared with my family. Living away from my parents in NL and my sister in Manhattan really makes Christmas special because we get to spend time together.  Most of the best times for me are spent in the kitchen with my mother while my sister shirks any kitchen duties in lieu of practicing her viola (convenient timing) and my dad putters around with tools, stoking the woodstove, playing the...wait for it...accordion!  And I wouldn't have it any other way.  Even as I write this, I'm filled with anticipation of a nice LONG break, where I get to relieve my stress in the kitchen with those familiar sounds.  

Anyhow, I digress.  The purpose of this post is to let readers know about an exciting contest that I'll be holding through www.withbite.ca!  The folks at KitchenAid have provided me with one of their NEW 13 cup food processors to give away to a reader.  And since I love food - and memories revolving around it - I thought I might ask you to share yours with me.

For your chance to win, simply comment on this post below with your favorite Christmas food memory - EASY! I should tell you that I don't particularly like turkey dinner, so let's get a bit more creative, shall we?  And since I have so many great memories, I'm sure you all do too, so feel free to post more than once.

I'll draw the winner on Christmas Eve, so that on Christmas Day, you'll get an extra prezzie!  Don't forget to check in on Christmas Day to see if you've won!  Look how shiny - you know you want it! ;)

Happy Holidays, Happy Baking,
and Happy Memory-making!

21 comments:

stampernancy@hotmail.com said...

my food memory has to be of the year I made Eggnog Cheesecake to serve after church on Christmas eve when my husband's new boss and his family had come over. My, then 4 year old, daughter wanted the first bite - which I gave her. She immediately spit it out onto the plate and exclaimed "that's gross!" :)
nancy leb btw it was actually great and I made it many years after! Happy Holidays

Tim Gallant said...

Favorite food memory are street tacos while on vacation in San Diego. I became addicted instantly and now make my own corn tortillas and have a 'taco night' weekly.

Andrew. said...

My favorite food memory would have to be a Christmas diner with 12 members of my family. It was as traditional as you get in terms of food selection and decor, thanks to my slightly uptight Aunt who demands perfection. As she served the pumpkin pie desert which was her specialty we all dig in, only to have each person immediately start making faces at how bad it was. Something must have gone wrong in the recipe or the product had expired. Only to have my Aunt blurt out "this is shit, isn't it?" to which the entire family laughed out loud as we all realized it was the act of being together that was important, not necessarily the food.

Unknown said...

I would KILL for this!!!

My fave food memory comes from several years ago and a failed bbq. My Mom and her friend Pam decided they'd bbq rainbow trout for a few of us kids - sounds good right? Lovely evening, great company, all things I love. So Pam starts some story and the two of them get wrapped up in it. The kids and I keep suggesting that the trout was pretty thin, and it's got to be cooked by now. Minutes go by, then many minutes, and finally, about an hour later they finally agree to stop chatting and serve us hungry kids. The fish is a solid black charcoal lump, the other food is freezing, the wind has picked up making sitting outside a horrible idea, and the parents keep saying "Its not that bad...". It was that bad. Trust me. That story will forever live on as the worst meal of my life, but yet my favourite food memory.

Carly N said...

One of my fave memories was actually last year, when I brought back lobsters from Halifax to my hometown of Winnipeg for Christmas eve. We traditionally have steak and some type of seafood (usually store bought shrimp, as it's the prairies) so last year I decided to kick it up a notch and bring a taste of the maritimes back - live lobster. I planned lobster tails to go with the steak and used the rest of the meat (claws, body, etc) to make an amazing lobster stuffing - so easy; uses sherry; delicious - arranged in the shells.

This was the first time I'd cooked live lobster and my mother picked that moment to decide she was an animal (crustacean) lover and couldn't bear to be in the same room when I "killed" them, so I was all alone in the kitchen, attempting to pile four live lobsters into a pot of boiling water. I got them in, put the lid on, felt very accomplished... and then one popped back out, the lid went flying, and I may have yelled a bit (a lot).

Eventually they were cooked, after employing some tongs (and a lot of "I'm sorry Mr. Lobsters!"), and we sat down to dinner; it was definitely one of the best dinners and a most memorable Christmas eve

Kristen said...

Wow- these are all such great stories!!! Love them! Keep it up!

Could the unknown story teller please identify? Otherwise, I won't know who to contact if your story wins!

Kristen

JeH said...

Decorating sheets and sheets of sugar cookies with icing "paint", sprinkles and more.

laplam said...

Growing up in Newfoundland I have to tell you that I always remember the Blueberry or Partridgeberry steamed pudding (with rum sauce). It was (and continues to be) the perfect end to my Christmas Dinner.

Cathy said...

My mother used to make candy apples for Halloween. A thin transparent crunchy red candy coating on a crisp apple. Last count was 150. Friends would often ask to reserve one but Mom had a firm first come first served policy, no exceptions. She always ran out.I don't know how many years she did it. I don't remember her not doing it!
The best food memory ever!

marce_03 said...

My favorite food memory would have to be my nannys cranberry mousse that she would make every Christmas. It was absolutely delicious!

LittleSpoon said...

Hoorah!

So fun!
Gosh - a favourite food memory...just one?! I am lucky to have so many. But I think that one of my favourite would be the rare occasion, as a child, when my Mom would make PANCAKES for lunch. I was lucky enough to be able to go home for lunch each day in elementary school (well, me and the cohort I inevitably brought with me), and on the days when Mom made pancakes, I SWEAR I could smell them from the end of the street and I would run the rest of the way home. It always was so delicious and felt like we were getting such a treat. She always knew when we needed a pancake pick-me-up.

Thanks for the sweet contest, Kristen! xo

Kristen said...

Thanks so much for sharing! All of these memories are making me smile. You all tell great stories too - I feel like I was there with you!

Kristen

Conny Mc said...

My father was in the Air Force and thus we always lived away from family.My favorite memory is visiting my grandparents in Cape Breton and all my cousins and Aunts and Uncles coming over.My grandparents would buy so much lobster fresh from the boats at the wharf. We would eat,and laugh for hours!

Jane said...

My favourite food memory is making dill pickles with my mom every August--the hot summer kitchen filled with the pungent smell of hot brine. A mere 8 weeks later, we'd have delicious pickles to eat year-round.

Kristen said...

Hey everyone! Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories with me! I just updated the post to be more specific, because I was hoping for favorite Christmas food memories.

Of course, I'm no Scrooge, so those memories already posted that weren't about Christmas will still be counted! :)

Kristen

Diana (@SmallTownDi) said...

Growing up, once my older brother was old enough to take the reins, he would always cook our Christmas Day breakfast feast. There were only four of us but he cooked everything to order and for someone who spent exactly zero minutes slaving over the stove every other day of the year...well it was a Christmas miracle every year. :)

Of course we're grown and live on opposite ends of the country now, but one thing that I continue to serve every year at breakfast as well as throughout the holidays - hot wassail! Christmas is wassail season for me. I wish it was a more common drink.

Patricia D said...

My father is originally from a South Pacific Island, and back in the day when I was young, air travel was twice as expensive compared to the average income as it is now. That was a major reason he hadn’t visited his family in twenty years at the time. It will still cost about $2000 per person to go there today. Well, that fateful year, when I was 13 (lets just say many many years ago), it came as quite a shock that my father suddenly decided to bring our family to his old homeland for Christmas. Now imagine, I was as typical a Canadian kid as everyone who'd been here for generations, despite my heritage, because being of mixed ethnicity my parents assimilated quickly into Canadian culture and I simply hadn’t been exposed to much information about my cultural backgrounds. I had to look up where my father was from on a map because it could have been in Europe, that’s how little I knew.

So there we are on this sweltering tropical island at Christmas, surrounded by at least a hundred of our closest family (in Canada we have not one single relative and were used to being a small family of four and this was the first I knew of an extended family), and my favourite thing in the world to eat was McDonalds. Hey, don’t blame the victim! – I’m a total foodie now though, but it gives you an idea of what I was used to. So out comes the much anticipated traditional Christmas feast of my father’s people – oh I was so hungry- and they cart out this massive platter of some vile looking stuff (to my eyes) indeed. Good God what the hell is that!, I thought – such Christian thoughts on Christmas. I quickly realized it had to be pork as the treasured snout and ears were at the front of the platter and the supposedly yummy tail on the other end. And the whole dish was kind of purplish, aka cooked in blood, as they explained it. Mmmmm mmmm. Now I know this is the stuff of Anthony Bourdains dreams but we’re talking about a time when the likes of even the now ubiquitous Thai or Indian food was utterly unknown in mainstream Canada, and the Ponderosa steakhouse was considered a fine night out. I thought I was living a nightmare and didn’t know what to do as I was so damn hungry. There were other dishes of copious amounts of unidentifiable things, though I did recognize the rice as rice. To add to the ambiance of it all, for the first time in my life I also learned that some cultures eat with their hands. KKKKKrikey. Like a typical 13 year old would be, I was so appalled and bewildered but finally did manage to get a spoon at some point. Of course they quickly noticed I wasn’t eating the good stuff, and pestered me to try the snout! and I was possibly the first unofficial contestant of Fear Factor as I ate cubic centimetre portions of these fine eats buried in giant spoonfuls of rice. Thinking about it now makes me laugh so hard. Times have changed and I think many a foodie would find this sort of thing an exotic dream, a type of food experience that is quite rare, locavore, organic, spices they’d never heard of, at a time when we can experience almost any kind of food from around the world right here at home, I’m betting you can’t get this dish anywhere in North America. Now I appreciate things like lemongrass, and Kaffir lime leaves, coconut milk, and spices I can’t even translate. That experience may have opened the door to my later food experimentation. But even if you think you are an adventurous foodie, it was the equivalent of the governor general up north being offered the special delicacy of a raw seal eyeball which was reserved for honoured guests. Not for the faint of heart but sometimes in life you get called upon to… expand your boundaries.
Merry Christmas everyone!

trmacd said...

Every year, on Christmas Morning, my wife's family get together on two major occasions to celebrate the Holidays. The first is the Family BBQ. It started one Christmas when my Father in Law picked up some fresh steak from a local butcher. These were lovely t bone steaks, and they were crying to be BBQ'd, Unfortunately the weather didn't seem to fit with the plan, so we had to improvise. With a hearty fire on the fireplace, and a little imagination, we got those steaks cooking, right there in the living room. The Next year he had rigged up a special device for grilling and we did it again. Over the years it has evolved, more family comes over, some bringing food with them, others wine, others just good holiday cheer, but we still have out steaks, flame cooked right there in the living room.

The seconds tradition is at my sister in laws. Every Christmas morning we travel to their home and watch the kids open their gifts. There must be about 15 of us at the house, and we would usually enjoy breakfast and coffee. Once I noticed, however that my Sister in law was always cooking in the kitchen and missed the gifts, I quietly moved in and told her to get her butt into the room with her kids. From that day on it became my job. I love to cook for others, so It worked well for me. Sometimes it's a simple bacon and eggs, other times its eggs Benny and french toast casserole. But the Important part is always that we get together as a family and stuff our faces a little..

Christine White said...

My Grandfather's Lemon Snow (a light fluffy Meringue dessert with a custard topping) means it's Christmas time!

He used to make Lemon Snow for EVERY family function...but he passed away this past January.

For the first time ever, I tried to make it on my own this past summer. It was an epic failure. Instead of turning out light and foamy, the mixture separated with a jello like substance on the bottom and one pathetic layer of bubbly things on top - this was NOT my grandfather's lemon snow...

So last weekend I thought I would try it again for my holiday party. Take 2 was equally disappointing and turned out the exact same way...I called my grandmother (whose reply was: "oh I have no idea why it didn't work, it was your grandfather that always made the lemon snow" and "you know you should always do a trial run BEFORE a party in case things don't turn out..."). I called every member of my family - no one had ever made it before, but we have certainly all eaten it.

Apparently my brother's wife is the only one that can make it properly and I plan to pick her brain ...and get her to help me make one this Friday for Christmas Eve...I'll let you know how it turns out! Fingers crossed!

Laura said...

My favourite Christmas food memory is our annual snow pudding dessert. It's a delicious lemony meringue dessert with a custard topping (I was shocked to see the same thing described above by a different name - no one ever knows what it is when I talk about it).

Both of my grandparents are from a small town in Antigonish County and although both of my parents did not grow up there, their mothers made this dessert every Christmas for their respective families. My mom now does the same for our family. It is such a tradition that I can't imagine Christmas without it.

Andy said...

My favourite Christmas food memory (and an experience I try to repeat every year) is eating my wife's special Bourbon-soaked fruitcake while unwrapping Christmas presents, with a fire roaring in the fireplace.