Last week I talked about the planning that goes into the holiday week, at least for me and my family. I make the menu, create a list from the menu, and begin the shopping. I buy in segments. It is economically more sound, and makes the whole thing less stressful. This maximizes the joy!
The menu on the Sunday before Christmas day includes a lamb roast for four. I may have just lost a few of my readers who are vegetarians, but remember I also discuss finding balance. Meat is enjoyed by the carnivores in the family. After Christmas, when Moose is home, I focus on high protein with less or no meat.
So, Barry and I decided to go shopping after school last evening. I took a portion of the list that was ‘buy ahead’ and copied it into a list for the trip. I wanted to get some of the big ticket meat items in this outing. And the store we were visiting is an hour away.
I called the butcher. Yup. I called the butcher and said I want a 5 pound lamb roast. He went to the cooler and found a perfect roast for me and set it aside. When I got to the store there was a perfect roast. Funny, but there was a day when I wouldn’t have thought to do this. Now I do it fairly often.
And you know what!? Butchers don’t mind. Actually, they feel that you value their opinion and their work. They are usually hidden in a back room. I love asking them to come out and talk to me.
The lovely roast is in the freezer in the basement, waiting for further planning. Now it is time to pursue the perfect recipe. You know me and recipes right? I will be reading recipes on lamb roasts everywhere that I can. As I read I will take in the ideas that reflect the flavors we enjoy, keeping in mind the four of us that will be eating it.
When I settle on a few, I will copy them into a document and begin the work of making the recipe my own.
Then the perfect side dishes. Here is the current piece of the menu for that night:
Sunday, December 23
- roasted rosemary potatoes
I am sure that rosemary roasted potatoes will be perfect and I will also read recipes on that. Now I can roast veggies, but I find when I read recipes, I sometimes pick up tips or ideas for flavor profiles I may not have tried before.
I put broccoli with this because I think the meal will need a green vegetable. But I am open to change on this piece. When I read recipes I will look for the sidebars that offer ideas on recipes to go with the meat.
One thing there will NOT be is mint jelly. I will explore ideas for gravies and sauces what may compliment the lovely meat, but no jar of green jelly. It seems this tradition may have begun because mint masked the gaminess of mutton. Well, I am serving a lovely lamb that will be prepared beautifully and no masking required. There are many options for fresh mint flavored sauces, but I will match rosemary with the lamb and the potatoes both, so I am not inclined to pursue mint sauces.
Last is the wine match. When I have the flavors/recipes ready and know the flavor profile, matching a wine will happen later. There may be a match in the wine rack already. I do need to pick up some new wines for the holiday too, so there may be a new one just for this meal.
So let me stop my little journey into foodie heaven and say this. Planning ahead allows you to plan every flavor. If you:
- Create a menu
- Make a shopping list from the menu
- Buy in segments: buy ahead, buy last minute… Don’t make yourself nuts trying to buy everything in one trip!!!
You will be well prepared. You will be less stressed. You can begin then to breakdown the menu into single meals. And each meal can get all of the love and attention you would want to invest.
Speaking of planning, I have company coming this weekend, so I have a meal to plan for that! Luckily I have planned leftovers for dinner tonight! 😉
Go plan, because the holidays are coming ! And enjoy!