Since the beginning of our time together, my partner and I have had a special dinner on Christmas Eve. We usually watch It’s a Wonderful Life, too. This week’s assigned recipe (along with a catch up from late November) was perfect for our Christmas Eve meal.
The celery root purée was almost as simple as mashed potatoes, just cubed celery root and potato boiled in a mixture of water and milk along with onion (and in my case, garlic), then puréed in the food processor with lashings of butter. I skimped a little on the milk, because I had other plans for it, but I don’t think that harmed the flavour of the purée at all.
The purée seemed like a great accompaniment for stew, so I also made the beef daube that I’d missed at the end of November. I didn’t bother tracking down beef cheek – the week before Christmas is hectic enough and I’d gotten a great deal on stewing meat at the grocer’s. I also skipped the elbow macaroni and replaced the regular flour called for in the recipe with a gluten-free all purpose blend. Beef, red wine, carrots, and a little chocolate at the end make a beautifully rich braise. Along with the buttery, slightly sharp taste of the purée, it made for an elegant supper.
This time of year, I think about how important societal rituals can be for making life meaningful, while at the same time, how hard they can be for some folks. Creating personal traditions helps to mark our passage through the year, while removing some of the hurt that many people carry through the standard holidays. At the darkest time of the year, we need all the light we can get.
This is my last post of 2012 (and it also happens to be the 200th post on this blog). I hope you ring in the New Year safely and joyously. See you in 2013.
You can find many other blogged descriptions of this week’s FFWD recipe here: Go-With-Everything Celery Root Purée
Here’s everyone else’s take on the Beef Cheek Daube With Carrots & Elbow Macaroni