Friday, December 16, 2011

Two Favorite Traditions at our House...

"The merry family gatherings - the old, the very young; the strangely lovely way they harmonize in carols sung. 
For Christmas is tradition time - traditions that recall the precious memories down the years, the sameness of them all".
- Helen Lowrie Marshall

Christmas is such a joyful time!
I am amazed every time, when I pull out my Christmas boxes, the wonderful memories that flood into my mind from yesteryear... memories, that I hadn't thought about all year, until I saw or smelled something from our Christmas boxes.

Such is the case for these ornaments
My Grandfather lost his wife my Grandma Laura when I was eight years old and shortly after she died, he remarried a wonderful lady named Ruth. We called her Grandma Ruth
She was VERY Victorian in her decor 
and these ornaments remind me of going to her house and seeing similar things at her house.

She also LOVED my Christmas Croissants and was SO excited when we would visit during the holidays and bring this tasty treat. She LOVED them and always asked me about how I made them, wanted the recipe, etc..

Clam Chowder and Croissants...
that's what you'll find us dishing up to eat on Christmas Eve at our house.

Christmas traditions and treats
at our house are usually pretty decadent and not very frugal, but they are only enjoyed during the holidays and the holidays wouldn't be the same without them. 
So, this is the one time of the year that we splurge on goodies and calories!

With a little bit of work and planning
you can ENJOY some flaky, delicious croissants at YOUR house during the holidays!  

They are worth all of the work it takes to make them!
(Recipes below the instruction photos)

for rolling out and baking them...

Croissants (we eat these every Christmas eve with Clam Chowder)
1-1/2 cups butter
1/3 cup flour
2 tbsp. Yeast
½ cup warm water
¾ cup milk
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 ¼ to 4 ¼ cups flour
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk

Cream butter with 1/3 cup flour. Roll mixture between two sheets of waxed paper into a 12x16 inch rectangle. Chill at least 1 hour.

Soften yeast in warm water. Heat ¾ cup milk, sugar, and salt until sugar dissolves. Cool to lukewarm, turn into large mixing bowl.

Add softened yeast and 1 egg. Beat well.

Stir in 2 cups of the flour. Beat well. Stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can mix with a spoon. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough. Continue kneading til smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes). Let rest 10 minutes.

Roll into a 14 inch square. Place “chilled” butter on one half of dough fold over other half and seal edges. Roll into a 21 x 12 inch rectangle. Seal edges. Fold in thirds. Roll into a 21 x 12 inch rectangle. Fold and roll twice more: seal edges. Chill after each rolling.

Fold in thirds to 12 x7 inches. Chill several hours or overnight.

Cut dough crosswise in fourths. Roll each fourth into a 12 inch circle. Cut into 12 wedges. Roll up each edge loosely starting from wide edge. Place on ungreased cookie sheet; point down, curve ends.  
Cover, let rise until double. (30 to 45 minutes). 
Beat egg with 1 Tablespoon milk. Brush on tops.  
Bake at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Clam Chowder
2 (6 ½ oz.) cans minced clams
1 large onion finely chopped (I sometimes put in 2 chopped onions)
4 large diced potatoes 
3 carrots diced
3 stalks celery chopped
1/4 cup butter
¾ cup flour
1 quart half & half cream
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Drain juice off clams and pour over vegetables in medium saucepan.
Add enough water to barely cover veggies and simmer in covered pan until veggies are tender. (about 20-25 minutes).
In the meantime, melt butter. Add flour , blend and cook for 1 minute. Add cream and cook. Stir until smooth and thick.
Add un-drained vegetables and clams. Heat through. Season with salt and pepper.

(it even tastes better if you cook this up the day before as it tastes better the second day after the flavors have seasoned)

I enjoy SO much the traditions that come 
with this most wonderful time of the year!
I've got my butter and flour rolled between waxed paper, chilling, 
ready to be made into yummy croissant dough tomorrow. 

Hope this finds all of you enjoying 
the wonderful traditions of your families 
and savoring and cherishing the 
"Merry Family Gatherings" 
that are abundant during this 
happy and joyful month of December!


Garden of Egan said...

We always have Clam Chowder on Christmas Eve!!!!
............I guess this year we'll be trying a new recipe from my fabulous friend Kimmie.
Croissants. Sounds a little intimidating, but with your wonderful instructions "I think I can!"

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas Week!!!

Thank you for everything. You are a treasure!

Connie said...

Oh, my goodness! The croissants are heavenly, not sinful! (I'm going to keep telling myself that while eating them) I am going to make them. Yum!

I love opening my Christmas totes and having the memories come flooding out! Many times, I sit and cry as I remember those who have passed on, or times that I will never see again. But the tears are good, refreshing tears.

I hope you enjoy this week before Christmas with your awesome family!
Sure love ya!