ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Dinner 2014 - or what to do with two turkeys, 33 Onions and a pound of Chorizo

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My mom and dad live in Tucson and we always flip flop who does Christmas Dinner and who does Thanksgiving Dinner. They had Thanksgiving this year, so Christmas is on me and Yvonne. Sometimes we make a huge turkey. Sometimes we make ham. Sometimes we have a turkey and a ham. My mom's a fan of having a turkey and a goose, but for some reason I'm never fond of the goose. One year we had a standing rib roast. It was awesome, but we discovered that we didn't then have any turkey meat for Christmas sandwiches for which my wife is famous for and one of the reasons I was tricked into marrying her.

This year we're going to have two small turkeys. How'd I come to that decision? Well, after Christmas and Thanksgiving I usually go out and buy hams and turkeys the stores put at ultra-cheap prices, trying to get rid of them before they go bad. We have a full size upright freezer that is packed with food. We decided this summer that we need to start eating some of the food from it instead of our normal store and forget policy. So I noticed that I'd bought a small 12 pound turkey last year after Christmas. Well, 12 pounds is about enough to feed my nephew and too small for six people and the planned leftovers we're looking forward to.

Then it came to me. Let's have two small turkeys!

So we're having two small turkeys. One is going to be traditional, probably with rosemary and lemon flavors. The other is going to be southwestern so I think I'm going to baste it in chipotle butter.

The cool thing about the way I cook turkeys is that it only takes about 90 minutes. You see, I crank the oven up to 500 and they cook very quickly. They still stay moist and their skin is nice and crispy. I think it was in the food network magazine or one of those that detailed exactly how to do it. I've been using it now for 5 years and it has worked perfectly every time. If anyone needs me to, I could probably make a copy of the pages from the magazine that provide this magical advice.

I also cook the dressing(s) at least a day ahead. Not only does it make things easier the morning of, but it gives me time to warm them up while the meat is resting and I am carving. One of my staple dressings is a Southwest Cornbread and Chorizo Dressing with Butternut Squash and Fennel. Not only is it good with turkey, but it makes an amazing breakfast hash. I've been known to make it throughout the year, just so I can have some of the hash. Incidentally, I got the dressing out of a November 2005 Sunset Magazine where it won the Best Dressing Contest. A lady named Victoria Johnson really needs the credit for this. It was her recipe.

The other dressing is going to be more traditional. It's a sausage and rye dressing, made from scratch, of course. I'll make these the day before which will allow for  time for cooking other things and won't make the morning such a rush. We traditionally have dinner at 2 PM and open presents at about 11 AM, so we need the time.

The only other thing I'll make a day ahead is the little amuse bouche I like to make. It's a very small portion of cold coconut and corn soup that awakens the tastebuds and gets them ready to disco through dinner. I like to have this waiting in the middle of everyone's plates to start the meal.

So, enough blathering. One important point before the list, though. You see, I'm very thankful for being able to put out a spread like this. There were many times growing up where we were so poor we only ate pancakes for every meal for weeks at a time. There were many holidays in the military where I had to get a turkey and fixings from the Chaplain, which is something that still goes on in the military. So I appreciate now being able to afford such fare... much of it thanks to my fans.

Christmas Dinner 2014

  • Deviled Eggs
  • Corn & Coconut Soup
  • White Cheddar Cheese Marinated in Honey
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • 2 Young Turkeys (one traditional and one southwestern)
  • Southwest Cornbread and Chorizo Dressing with Butternut Squash and Fennel
  • Sausage and Rye Dressing
  • Lumpy Mashed Potatoes
  • Gravy
  • Brussel Sprout Slaw
  • Roasted Onions with Lemon
  • Kings Hawaiian Dinner Rolls
  • Orange Cake
  • Vanilla Ice Cream with Pistachios and Thyme
Yvonne makes a great Christmas Sandwich with turkey, cranberry sauce, dressing, and cream cheese on white Italian bread. I'm almost looking forward to that more than the big meal.

And of course there will be drinkage. 

Probably lots and lots of wine.

I hope everyone has a terrific Christmas. 

I'll snap food porn for you all later.

Now it's off to a Christmas Party.

Laters.

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