It's just DH and me so we're pretty relaxed about the whole thing. Other than ham and baked sweet potatoes (NO marshmallows, lol), we haven't decided what else we'll have. Whatever dinner will be, we'll do most of the work the day before so we can both take it easy on Christmas day. As for table settings, we'll probably have candles and a nice bottle of wine. We're kind of simple like that!
Here is my recipe. These are great for a mini and light dessert.
Chocolate Orange Truffles
1 package (11-1/2 ounces) milk chocolate chips
1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
zest of one orange
2-1/2 teaspoons orange extract
1 lb dark chocolate melting wafers
Pour milk chocolate chips and semi-sweet chocolate in a large bowl and set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix together cream and orange zest and bring to a boil; immediately pour over chocolate chips in the bowl. Let stand for 1 minute then mix until the chocolate is completely smooth. Add in orange extract. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for about 45 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken.
With a large wooden spoon, stir mixture for 10-15 seconds or just until it lightens in color (do not overbeat or it will not be the right texture). Spoon rounded teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper-lined baking sheets (they don't have to look pretty). Place baking sheet in the fridge and let chill for at least 10 minutes.
Using your hands, gently roll each spoonful into a ball.
Follow the directions on the candy coating packaging and melt chocolate (I melted mine in the microwave according to the package directions).
Dip each chocolate orange ball in the candy coating and push around until completely covered; allow excess to drip off (I use two forks when I dip these truffles and that way the excess chocolate can drip through before I remove it from the bowl). Place each truffle on wax paper; let stand until set. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.
Loins are very lean so it is important to smoke them to a critical Internal Temp (IT). The addition of a Brine adds flavor, helps maintain moisture during and after cooking and tenderizes the meat. Pork Loins are the muscle that center cut Pork Chops are cut from and though internally lean, usually come with a thin layer of Fat on the top. This can be removed easily, if desired. Pork Loins are Roasted at 325°F and depending on the thickness, usually 3 to 6", will take no more than 1 to 3 hours to get to an IT of 140 to 150°F. It is important to understand that Pork is very safe and and if not fed trash, is parasite free compared to what Grandma ate and cooked to Death, an IT of 165°F or more! The USDA says pork is fully cooked at an IT of 140 to 145°F because the Trichinae parasite is killed at 137°F. It is fine to roast to 140° then let the meat rest 20 to 30 minutes. This time lets Carryover Cooking let IT rise to 145°F. At this temp the meat will be slightly Pink which may freak out some people but is a juicy and perfectly cooked. For those that refuse to eat pink meat, smoke to 150°F with a rest and the Pork will still be moist but no pink.
2-12oz.Cans Apple Juice Concentrate
1C Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2C Kosher Salt
2T Pickling Spice (optional)
1T Sage, rubbed
Combine all and Brine the meat at least over night, 24-48 hours would be better.
Mild Seasoning Rub (All Purpose)
1/2C Sugar in the Raw (Turbinado)
2T Sweet Paprika (Hungarian)
1T Kosher Salt
1T Chili Powder* (contains some Cumin and Oregano) Ancho Chile is same without cumin, oregano etc.
1T Granulated Garlic
1T Granulated Onion
1tsp Black Pepper, more if you like
1/2tsp Grnd Allspice
For more heat add Cayenne or Chipotle Pwd to taste, start with 1/2tsp and go from there. Makes about 1 Cup
Apply your desired amount of Rub to the meat. Place in a Sprayed Roasting Pan and go in the preheated 325 Oven..
Note*...Some Chili Powders can be pretty Hot. McCormick and Spice Island are Mild...
Apple Pork Topper
3C Apple Sauce
3T Dijon Mustard
3T Brown Sugar
2T Apple cider Vinegar
1tsp Rubbed Sage
1/2tsp Black Pepper
Optional: 2-3 Apples, peeled, diced and sauteed until golden brown and tender in 2T Butter.
Place all in a pot and simmer on low until thick but still pourable. Adjust sweet/salt to taste. Spoon over Pork Roast, during last 30 minutes of Cook time or when an IT of 110° is reached. The high oven temp will caramelize the topping. Remember to.Pull and rest the meat, Uncovered, when the IT reaches 140°F. The hotter surface will cause a 5-10° Carryover rise and overcook the meat if you go to a higher IT. Serve the remainder, hot, over the sliced pork at the table...JJ
Care to partake of a little Holiday Cheer? This is a favorite of my family and adds a Sunny Summer touch to the Cold nights!
Smokin' Great SANGRIA!
In a Pitcher large enough to hold a Gallon plus Fruit, combine...
1C Brandy or more...cheapo E&J, Christian Bros.
1C Triple Sec...orange liqueur.
2C Apple Juice or Cider
2C Orange Juice...Fresh or Simply Orange
1-2 Sliced Oranges...Lemons and Limes, Optional.
1-2 Diced Apples
2 1/2Qt Red Wine...Riunite Lambrusco is my fav.
*NOTE* You will use most of the 3 Liter Bottle, add more after a couple of glasses are served. Or if you have room, dump it all!
Additionally, if you choose a really Dry Red Wine, you may need to add a bit of Sugar. The Lambrusco is on the sweet side so no additional sugar is needed.
Mix and CHILL WELL. I stick it in the Freezer for an hour or more. When serving No Ice. Just Sangria and some Fruit...A Scoop of Fruit Sherbet is tasty and keeps it cold...
"CAUTION" This goes down smooth and as Grandma liked to say, " This will kick your Duppa! "