On the Ninth Day of Christmas

My true love gave to me Nine Ladies Dancing. The Nine Ladies represent the Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit – Charity (love for fellow human beings), Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faith (fidelity), Mildness (gentleness), and Contingency (self-control). As people of faith, we are taught that these attributes grow within a person or community living in accord with the Holy Spirit. These attributes are will worth cultivating. Let harmony define us.

For the Nine Ladies Dancing a dessert with Ladyfingers immediately sprang to mind. A trifle made with ladyfingers layered with fruits would have been perfect – a play on ladies and fruit. While the ladyfingers remain as a key component of my dessert, the idea of a trifle was abandoned as an entire menu evolved.

Up until this whole pandemic situation, Christmas has always meant gathering at the family farm. Thanksgiving has been either at my sister’s house our our house, but Christmas was the farm. This year my sisters and I had suggested Thanksgiving be held at the farm, making things easier on Dad. He refused, even after we said we’d do all the cooking for our big Thanksgiving meal.

While Thanksgiving is a sit-down supper, Christmas is more laid back with cold cuts and salads. Once upon a time people would come and go throughout the day. While the gathering itself in no longer a caravan of guests, the informality of the day has remained unchanged.

When Dad declined to host Thanksgiving at the farm, we didn’t think much of it. It wasn’t until Christmas that we realized Dad was afraid to have people in his house. He feared that we would leave our cooties behind and those cooties might get him sick. His fear was so great that Dad actually wanted to cancel Christmas. We compromised with a White Elephant gift exchange at my sister’s home. Dad’s reasoning was that if we didn’t celebrate in his house, he could minimize the risks. While it really didn’t make sense, it was better than canceling Christmas.

Anyway, I realized that changing our traditions gave me an opportunity to share part of the Twelve Days of Christmas with Dad. In all the years I’ve been on my own, he has never seen my home decked out for the holidays. This year Dad will join us to celebrate the Epiphany. I know, it’s not until January 6th. I really don’t think we’re going to hell for celebrating an early Epiphany as a family. Afterall, the Church now celebrates it on Sunday. If the Church can change the date as a matter of convenience, so can I.

I feel like a child on Christmas Morning so excited to have my Dad joining us today. Naturally, I had to create an entire festive menu around my Ladyfinger Dessert.

Ninth Day of Christmas Supper
Appetizer

Creamy Garlic Shrimp

Main Entrée
Festive Sausage Macaroni Bake
Olive Garden Salad with Copycat Dressing
Biscuit Garlic Knots

Dessert
Death by Chocolate Mousse


Creamy Garlic Shrimp
1 lb Shrimp, Jumbo
4 Garlic Cloves
3/4 tablespoon Olive Oil
Sea Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup White Wine
1-1/2 cups Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Cheese, Parmesan
Italian Parsley for garnish
1 or 2 Baguettes, sliced

Peel and devein shrimp. Remove tails, pat dry and set aside. Peel and finely mince garlic cloves. Set aside until ready to use.

Heat oil a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season shrimp with salt and pepper and fry for 1-2 minutes on each side, until just cooked through and pink. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.

Melt the butter in the same skillet. Sauté garlic until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Pour in the white wine or broth; allow to reduce to half while scraping any bits off of the bottom of the pan.

Reduce heat to low-medium heat, add the cream and bring to a gentle simmer, while stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

Add the parmesan cheese and allow sauce to gently simmer for a further minute or so until the cheese melts and sauce thickens.

As the sauce thickens, chop the parsley and set aside.

Add the shrimp back into the pan, sprinkle with parsley. Taste test sauce and adjust salt and pepper, if needed.

Slice baguette into 24 half-inch slices. Brush with olive oil, roast under the broiler until golden and warm.

To serve, ladle sauce on a rimmed serving plate or shallow bowl. Arrange shrimp on top of the sauce. Place baguettes around the platter and serve.


Festive Sausage Macaroni Bake
1 loaf frozen Garlic Bread
10 oz Frozen Spinach, chopped
16 oz Elbow Macaroni
1 lb Italian Sausage, bulk
1/2 whole Onion, Yellow
1/2 whole Onion, Red
6 pressed Garlic Cloves
1 jar Spaghetti Sauce
2 (15-oz) tubs Cheese, Whole Milk Ricotta
1 Egg
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 tablespoon Basil
1 tablespoon Oregano
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
2 cups shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
3 Roma Tomatoes
12 Basil Leaves

Remove garlic bread and spinach from freezer and let thaw.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Cook Pasta according to package directions, about 10-15 minutes, drain and keep warm.

While water comes to a boil, chop onions and peel garlic. Set aside until ready to use. Heat oven to 400-degrees.

In a large skillet, cook sausage, onions and garlic over medium-high heat until sausage is browned, breaking into small pieces. Remove from heat; drain if necessary and stir in spaghetti sauce; set aside.

While sausage is cooking, combine ricotta cheese, eggs, Italian seasoning and black pepper; mix well. Set aside until ready to use.

Place cooked pasta in a large casserole or lasagna dish. Add half of the sauce to mixture, mix well.

Layer spinach over pasta, then spoon ricotta mixture evenly over spinach; spread evenly. Top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with half the Mozzarella and half the Parmesan cheese. Place bread slices on top of dish. Dip tomato slices in olive oil, place on top of bread slices. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses.

Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is golden.

Remove from oven, place fresh basil on top of tomato slices and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Olive Garden Salad with Copycat Dressing
The Salad

1 bunch Lettuce, Romaine, torn
1 cup Grape Tomatoes, halved
1/2 can Whole Black Olives
1/2 small Red Onion
4 to 6 whole Pepperoncini
Italian Croutons as desired
Shaved Parmesan Cheese as desired

In a large bowl, combine the romaine, tomatoes, olives, onion and pepperoncini. Chill until ready to serve.

Just before serving, add croutons, drizzle with salad dressing; toss to coat. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese and dressing on the side.

Copycat Dressing
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1/3 cup Vinegar, White
1 teaspoon Vegetable Oil
2 tablespoons Light Corn Syrup
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese
2 tablespoon grated Romano Cheese
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Salt
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Parsley Flakes
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice

Mix all ingredients in a blender until well mixed. Transfer to small serving pitcher and chill until ready to use.

Biscuit Garlic Knots
1/2 cup Butter
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese
1-1/4 teaspoons Roasted Garlic Powder
3/4 teaspoons Dried Oregano
3/4 teaspoons Parsley Flakes
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 (16 oz) tubes Refrigerated Buttermilk Biscuits

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.

Melt butter in a small microwave safe small bowl. Whisk melted butter with Parmesan, garlic powder, oregano, parsley and salt; set aside.

Halve each of the biscuits. Roll each piece into a 5-inch rope, about 1/2-inch thick, and tie into a knot, tucking the ends.

Place knots onto the prepared baking sheet and brush each knot with half of the butter mixture. Place into oven and bake until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.

Serve immediately, brushed with remaining butter mixture.


Death by Chocolate Mousse
Cookie Crust with
Ladyfingers
20 cookies Oreo Cookies
5 tablespoons Butter
1 package Soft Ladyfingers

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Spray sides of the 9.5-inch springform pan with nonstick baking spray.

In a food processor, add in the oreo cookies. Pulse until the oreo cookies are a fine crumb.

Melt butter, add to oreo cookie crumbs and pulse a couple of times until the butter is evenly distributed.Set aside. 

Split open Ladyfingers, trim one end of each finger so it will stand better. Line the rim of the springform pan with ladyfingers, curved side out, split side in, trimmed end down. Dump the cookie crumbs evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Press flat, and slightly up the sides of the ladyfingers.

Place the pan into the heated oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

Dark Chocolate Mousse
2 large Egg Yolks
4 oz Semi-sweet Baking Chocolate
1/8 cup Sugar
1-1/2 cups Heavy Cream, divided

Separate eggs, reserve whites for another use. Chop chocolate, set aside.

Beat egg yolks in small bowl with electric mixer on high speed about 3 minutes or until thick and lemon colored. Gradually beat in sugar.

Heat 1/2 cup whipping cream in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat until hot. Gradually stir at least half of the hot whipping cream into egg yolk mixture; stir back into hot cream in saucepan. Cook over low heat about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens (do not boil). Stir in chocolate until melted. Cover and refrigerate about 90 minutes, stirring occasionally, just until chilled.

Beat remaining cup of heavy cream in chilled medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff. Fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.

Milk Chocolate Mousse
2 large Egg Yolks
4 oz Milk Chocolate, chopped
1/8 cup Sugar
1-1/2 cups Heavy Cream, divided

Separate eggs, reserve whites for another use. Chop chocolate, set aside.

Beat egg yolks in small bowl with electric mixer on high speed about 3 minutes or until thick and lemon colored. Gradually beat in sugar.

Heat 1/2 cup whipping cream in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat until hot. Gradually stir at least half of the hot whipping cream into egg yolk mixture; stir back into hot cream in saucepan. Cook over low heat about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens (do not boil). Stir in chocolate until melted. Cover and refrigerate about 90 minutes, stirring occasionally, just until chilled.

Beat remaining cup of heavy cream in chilled medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff. Fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.

To assemble the dessert, spoon dark chocolate mousse over crust and spread evenly. Top with milk chocolate mousse. Cover and chill until fully set, about 2 hours.

Orange Infused Chocolate Ganache
9 oz Orange Infused Chocolate, chopped
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 tablespoon Orange Liqueur, optional

Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot. When the cream has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the Orange Liqueur if desired.

Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over mousse. Start at the center of the mousse and work outward. Chill for several hours or overnight.

Chocolate Whipped Cream
2 tablespoons Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
1 cup Heavy Cream

In a microwave-safe bowl, add in 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and chocolate. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Microwave in 15-second intervals and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Let cool.

In a large mixing bowl, add in the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream. Beat on medium until soft peaks form.

Add about 1/4 cup of the whipped cream in with the melted, but cooled chocolate. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate until combined. It will double the volume of the chocolate and will be runny. Don’t overmix.

Add the chocolate whipped cream in with the large bowl of whipped cream. Beat until stiff peaks form.

Add the whipped cream in a piping bag fitted with the 1M tip. 

Pipe swirls on the top of the chilled ganache to finish it off.

When ready to serve, remove from refrigerator. Run a knife around edge of springform. Unlock and carefully remove outer form pan.

Slice and serve! Store in the fridge.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

8 thoughts on “On the Ninth Day of Christmas”

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