Pork Roast with Fennel, Braised Kale with Shallots & Gouda, Cider Vinaigrette Roasted Root Vegetables

X-mess was just that – a mess. Well, it wasn’t that bad, but it definitely made dinner a challenge… While cooking breakfast that morning, the stove / oven range started shooting sparks and popped the breaker. It was dead. So, we had to come up with a ‘Plan B’. Luckily, the two hardest things to prepare – the Stuffed Mushroom appetizer and the Panna Cotta dessert – had been made the day before. Also, I had picked some fairly easy dishes and had already planned to use my Pyrex pans – which just happen to have seal-able lids. So I did all of the prep work in advance, packed it all up in coolers (as well as all of the beer) and head over to the sister-in-law and her boyfriend’s house.

The Pork Roast with Fennel recipe from the Le Pigeon cookbook. The Braised Kale with Shallots & Gouda recipe is from Kitchen Sink Diaries and the Cider Vinaigrette Roasted Root Vegetables recipe is from Simply Recipes. The sister-in-law had picked up the rolls from little t. For dessert, my wife had made Panna Cotta – using the recipe from the Toro Bravo cookbook – but instead of making the caramel sauce, we used Alma‘s Salted Carmel Sauce.

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I started out with a bottle of the Bu Weisse from De Garde with the appetizer followed with a 2013 bottle of the Surette from Crooked Stave while I cooked the rest of the meal. With the meal, I went with a recent bottling of the Sahati from The Ale Apothecary. After the meal while everyone else cleaned up, I enjoyed a 2009 Fred from the Wood from Hair of the Dog. And with dessert, a 2009 Bourbon County Stout – the last year for the 22 oz. bottles – from Goose Island. It was X-mess after all…

Recommended music: Aquarium Drunkard‘s Lit Up Like A Christmas Tree, Lit Up Like A Christmas Tree: A Vintage Holiday Mixtape, Vol II and Lit Up Like A Christmas Tree II: The Eggnog Is Spiked  as well as WFMU‘s Holiday Freakout Vol. 1 – 3.

Portuguese Seafood Stew

This is one of those dishes I’ve heard a lot people talk about – but I’ve never had it. So, I figured I would give it a shot since the recipe looked fairly easy. But my track record for octopus has not been all that great. This recipe is from Eric Ripert’s website and is by Anthony Bourdain. And finding some of the fish presented a challenge. Luckily, the monger at Newman’s Fish Company set me straight. I had to go with Manila clams – since little neck and top neck clams are East Coast. They did not have any cod, so I went with sea bass. And the only octopus they had was already cooked, so I threw that in at the end.

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I decided to do with the Oyster Stout – a traditional British style stout that uses both oyster liquor and whole oysters in the brewing process – from Upright Brewing.

Aleppo Chicken Kebabs, Harissa-Stewed Butternut Squash, Lemony Swiss Chard with Fried Olives, Capers & Garlic

Since I had some butternut squash and heavy cream leftover from Thanksgiving, I decided to make Toro Bravo‘s Harissa-Stewed Butternut Squash – which I thought would go well with Steven Raichlen‘s Aleppo Chicken Kebabs my wife had asked me to cook. And since you just have to have something green on the plate, I prepared the Lemony Swiss Chard with Fried Olives, Capers & Garlic as well

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To drink, I went with a bottle of Salmon  – a beer brewed with Salmonberries – from Propolis Brewing that I had picked up at Saraveza on my bike ride home on Friday.