For the past 2 years I’ve been learning to cook simple dishes, inspired by food blogs or random recipe suggestions triggered by quick searches. Christmas dinner was the first time I’ve cooked
multiple side dishes in addition to a main entree and was excited for the challenge of reducing the ingredients for 2 people instead of 6 or 8. On the menu: cornbread stuffing, candied yams, roasted Brussels sprouts and duck with raspberry sauce as the main entree. Neither my boyfriend nor I have ever prepared duck and I was a little unsure of what grocery store carried them. I ended up at Citarella where duck breasts are $14.99/lb, which seems to be comparable to the frozen version at Whole Foods. I personally think that $40 for 2 duck breasts is astronomically high, but was later convinced after they were finished–they grew to twice the size! I found the recipe on another blog after searching “Christmas dinner for 2.”
My mother had shared her stuffing recipe, which is an improved version of StoveTop. She adds wild rice, celery, olives, mushrooms and onion. Instead of StoveTop, I used the cornbread
stuffing mix from Trader Joes, which is double the size of StoveTop, and included 1 cup of wild rice, 4 stalks of celery, an entire can of pitted olives, 8 mushrooms and 1 full onion.
and delicious. My mother has never in the past added marshmallows, but I began to as a result of trying them a few Thanksgivings ago in college. One thing to note is that the yams recipe suggests placing them in the oven for 25 minutes; however I would recommend leaving them in for less time if the recipe is reduced to 2 – 3 servings, probably for 15-20 minutes instead. The marshmallows expand and then literally evaporate for a patchy appearance once out of the oven.
Preparing the Brussels sprouts is pretty straightforward and the one amendment to the recipe is that I used garlic salt to add more flavor without actually mincing garlic.
Overall the dinner was a success. I am lucky to have my boyfriend work on the duck as I focused on the side dishes. The great thing about these recipes is that they all require the oven at 400 degrees and can be staggered. I would first start off with chopping vegetables for the stuff, then work on the Brussels sprouts and then once in the oven, the yams. The stuffing takes the least amount of time and should be done 15 minutes before the duck is ready.