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December 23: Tying up Loose Ends

Tomorrow’s the last day of the 24 Days of SWAK, but I thought I’d take the opportunity today to tie up some loose ends.
So far we have given away lots of prizes and gift cards, shared useful techniques, free patterns, and delicious recipes. We discovered grinchy people who don’t like people who like bacon (and who don’t use a coaster). Shame! But we primarily enjoyed cheerful comments from happy readers.

I do read and enjoy everyone’s comments, but one in particular caught my eye. Jamie, this is for you.

I’m happy to report that our gingerbread house was a success!

I managed to skip the first round of the dreaded Dirty Santa, but unfortunately it was because Mason was sick. I did send one of my bottles of vanilla and it was the hit of the event. I think someone’s wishing he hadn’t brought back all that vanilla for gifts from Mexico after all (I told him I was making my much more fabulous vanilla, but did he listen??) Now I have people groveling for my remaining batches. It’s a good position to be in!

mostusefuldishcloth.jpgMy new and most useful dishcloth has been through several rounds of cooking mania (and rides through the washer/dryer) and is holding up well. I am thrilled with how it is functioning and hope to make several more. A snowstorm after Christmas would be most useful so I can find time for this task.

And inquiring minds might be wondering what delicacies I’ll be serving for Christmas. Perhaps I can inspire you a bit (or at least make you really, really hungry). Since we’re stuck eating “holiday” food on Christmas Day, I have taken over Christmas Eve. Here is what is on the menu:

Filet of Beef au Poivre (most delicious beef tenderloin à la Ina Garten)
Gratin Dauphinois
Fresh Croissants
Cheese Straws (one of my favorite foods on earth)
Keely’s World Famous Cheese Ball
Crème Brûlée (I do have 2 kilos of fresh vanilla beans after all)
and whatever else the rest of the group decides to bring
You may be wondering why I’ve linkeyed all of the recipes except for the croissants. Well, my little treat for you today is this most delicious recipe. They can bit a bit tricky and require a lot of rolling, but the end result is well worth it.

    French Croissants
    4 cups bread flour
    2 tsp salt
    1 tbsp active dry yeast
    1 1/4 cup milk
    5 tbsp grapeseed oil
    1 cup unsalted butter (straight from refrigerator)
    1 beaten egg

    Heat milk in saucepan until it is very warm. Add grapeseed oil, yeast, and salt. Whisk together until yeast is dissolved. Pour milk mixture into a large bowl. Add flour to the milk mixture, combining little at a time until you have a smooth dough. Stop before elasticity develops. Do not try to force all of the flour into the dough, you may have some left over. Cover bowl with greased plastic wrap and leave until doubled in size (1-2 hours).

    Punch down dough, knead briefly, then roll out on a floured surface to a 10″x16″ rectangle. Divide butter into quarters, and work first quarter until pliable with a metal knife. Dot first quarter of butter on top 2/3 of pastry, leaving a margin. Fold unbuttered 1/3 onto middle, then the top buttered 1/3 over this. Seal open sides with edge of hand. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Place open edge at right angles to table edge, roll out to same size rectangle and repeat until all butter added.

    Roll out and fold again. Cut in half, then roll each half to a 1/8″ thick square. Cut each square into four, then quarter into two triangles. Roll each triangle loosely from the base and place on a greased baking sheet with ends curved inward to form a crescent, tucking the point underneath the croissant. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise (2-3 hours). Brush with beaten egg and bake at 425º for 10-15 minutes. The croissants will be risen and golden brown.

You can make the dough the night before, and begin with the final rolling and shaping of the croissants the next day. This makes it a bit more manageable if you have an early afternoon feast.

ffood.jpgThe most challenging part can be finding grapeseed oil. Crest used to have it, but after their last remodel they quit carrying some of my “real” food items and replaced them with more processed food. Fortunately I discovered Forward Foods and I am in love with this store. They have grapeseed oil in the bottle and on tap. You must go check this place out!

Don’t forget to stay tuned for tomorrow. I’m not sure what I’m going to do at this point, but I’m toying around with all sorts of crazy ideas in my head at this point. Don’t miss out!

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5 Responses to “December 23: Tying up Loose Ends”

  1. Machelle Says:

    Keely, the croissants sound delicious. I have enjoyed the 24 days of SWAK and wish you could do it all year! Merry Christmas to you, Sherry and all of the gang at SWAK. Hope everyone has a great holiday.

  2. Judith Smith Says:

    I have grapeseed oil. I always have lots of unusual foods on hand. Thanks for telling me about Forward Foods. I will visit next time I am in OKC. I was wondering where I would find a local place to replenish my supplies.

  3. Marie Says:

    It looks like I’m going to have to jet to Guthrie since you’ve learned to cook! Sounds wonderful.

    We’re having lobster this year with lots of butter!

  4. jamie lawson Says:

    I love it! how funny, thanks for the tissue papper class online, your shop is the best!

  5. Sherie Says:

    Keely - thanks for all of the prizes, fun, patterns and recipes.

    You can also find Grape seed Oil at Gourmet Gallery (Northpark Mall and Edmond) and the International Pantry (Norman). Seems like Crescent Market at Nichols Hills also carries it.

    I’m off work tomorrow, but will try to remember to check the home computer for the final day of fun. Merry Christmas to you, your family, and the SWAK staff.