brisket

Christmas Eve

I had a nice long weekend–it started with Friday off from work, I went swimming and then met a friend for a pedicure. It was really nice to see her and catch up with her after a few months of us both being swamped with life. The weekend wasn’t awesome, honestly–lots of chores and errands and trying to frantically get ready for Christmas. BUT Christmas Eve was nice!

We got to sleep in a bit and then I took Logan to daycare and went to the gym and then Michael and I went out for breakfast.

I got the special. It was a decadent treat and not something I’d normally order but since I knew I wouldn’t be eating lunch I figured, why not? It was a cheesecake french toast! I got the half order (which was the RIGHT amount) and it was topped with a tart cherry compote. The cheesecake filling to die for. Seriously good. And I also splurged and got the habanero peach mimosa! SPICY!

Then home and Michael started the brisket and I continued the sourdough process (and started the rosemary raisin sourdough I was making for Christmas dinner). My parents were driving down from Seattle to spend Christmas Eve with us. We decided to do a new tradition this year and host. It’s been harder trying to travel and fit everything in on one day with Logan.

My parent arrived after lunchtime (about the time I had the sourdough rising in the banneton basket and laying on the couch watching Die Hard. Then I we went to pick Logan up from daycare. Unfortunately, for some reason, he didn’t nap at daycare. I have no idea why (slightly annoyed by this) so of course he finally fell asleep at like 4:30.

Anyways. Our friends joined us this year for dinner. They brought a delicious kale and spinach salad and homemade fudge! My sourdough turned out fantastic!

And Michael’s brisket was great, too.

And he made his famous mac n’ cheese. It all went perfectly and everyone got seconds. There was still a lot of leftovers so people got to take some home with them.

I got some new holiday napkins at Target and some napkin rings (a black Friday splurge):

And Logan’s holiday placemat was a find from World Market:

Dinner turned out so nice. I was glad everyone was able to come and join us and help celebrate Christmas Eve. Even though hosting is kind a lot of work, it was still nice being able to immediately get in my PJs after everyone left. 🙂

The food turned out great!

Oh and my mom made chocolate brownies from scratch, topped with vanilla ice cream and homemade raspberry sauce. It was so decadent but good!

After dinner and dessert Logan got to open a few presents from our friends. Then bedtime!

Logan fell asleep almost immediately!

Smokin’ Weekend

Over the weekend we got to try out our new Traeger smoker!

Saturday

We had another couple over for dinner to have ribs. Michael started the ribs at about noon and then we ate at 7-ish.

Michael has been really good at BBQing ribs, it’s one of his specialties, but smoking them for several hours first made them out of this world!

He used a combination of a BBQ seasoning rub and a recipe that the Traeger book recommended (honey, mustard, brown sugar) and then for the last hour of the cooking he added the BBQ sauce.

The ribs were absolutely perfect! The meat fell off the bone. The flavors were so rich and smokey. It was like nothing we’d ever had before. Smoking the ribs was sooo good.

Michael said next time he does ribs he’d do the timing a little different. I think he was saying it was a 3-2-1 process where you smoke them for 3 hours then cook them in foil for 2 hours then the last hour is cooking uncovered on the grill and using BBQ sauce. He said he wanted to play with the time a little bit next time.

Our friends brought a delicious Asian-inspired cucumber salad. The cucumbers were from her garden. The salad was really tasty and went so well with the ribs.

Sunday

Michael bought a giant hunk of brisket at Costco and started the Traeger at 7am. He followed the recipe in the Traeger book for the first time. A few years ago I bought him Franklin’s BBQ book so I think he’ll use that in the future, too.

This was definitely an all day process and he said he should have started it a bit earlier in the morning.

I picked the first batch of jalapenos from the garden and Michael pickled a bunch and then saved a few and made poppers as an appetizer. SO TASTY!

Michael’s mom and stepdad, sister and friend Jeremy came over to be guinea pigs for the first ever brisket.

Once the brisket was done, we wrapped it in foil to rest for almost an hour.

More wine:

And the unveiling!

Michael’s mom made potato salad from scratch and Michael’s sister made a delicious salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. It was all really tasty and went perfectly with the meat.

For a first attempt, the brisket was really, really good. There were a few tough pieces but for the most part it was great! The flavor was outstanding. We are all super excited to try again!