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Making Christmas

All your favourite Christmas recipes made easy

If you moved to Whistler to work and enjoy a little of the big life, chances are you left your grandmother and her box of recipes at home.

While life away from home has a number of advantages, and most of us wouldn’t trade ski town living for anything, it can get a little lonely around the holidays. We miss our families, friends, and most of all, that awesome holiday spread.

A roast turkey and all the fixings. Cakes, pies and shortbreads. Little plates of appetizers. Gingerbread houses. Warm beverages. Cool nogs.

You can buy most of these things in the store, but with all due respect to the food processing industry, the homemade treats always taste a little better.

Here are a few classic – and most important, easy – Christmas recipes to help you through the season.


Roasted Chestnuts

While the Mel Torme song clearly indicates "Chestnuts roasted on an open fire" for Christmas, if you don’t have a fireplace, woodstove, or asbestos glove, you can make this traditional treat in the oven. For half a kilo of roasted chestnuts, you’ll need the following:

500 grams of chestnuts (duh)

1/4 cup of butter

A pinch of salt

A slightly larger pinch of ground cinnamon


1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Farenheit (190 degrees C).

2. Cut a small one centimetre incision into the shell of the chestnut to prevent it from exploding.

3. Bake the nuts in a pan for about 30 minutes. This will smell a lot like Christmas, and a lot like the PNE.

4. Cool and shell your chestnuts. They should come apart with a butter knife at this point, so put the cleaver away.

5. Place the nuts in a skillet with the butter and saute the mixture on high heat until the butter is melted, then put the skillet under the broiler until the nuts are golden on top. Sprinkle with salt and cinnamon and serve.

This also works well as a desert with ice cream or egg nog.

Spicy Yule Cheese Log

I don’t know how traditional the cheese log/cheese ball is in your circles, but it’s something I always associate with the season. They’re incredibly easy to prepare and make great gifts. You’ll need:

3 packages of cream cheese, softened

1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic

1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon of hot pepper sauce

600 grams of shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup of coarsely chopped pecans

1/4 cup of minced parsley


Mix cream cheese, garlic, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and blend until uniform.

Add cheddar and blend until it’s mixed in.

Shape the mixture into a ball or log, wrap in plastic and put it in the freezer for a few minutes to harden slightly.

Mix pecans and parsley, remove the log from the freezer and roll it until covered.

Serve this with crackers, fruit, olives, and chopped vegetables. The key to remember is that everything goes with the cheese log, so feel free to add red and green peppers, or cranberries to the mixture or coating to give it a Christmas look.

Main Courses

Although duck, goose, ham and roast beef are all acceptable Christmas standards, the Christmas turkey is still king of the Christmas spread. Although there are many ways to prepare your bird, this recipe from ( ) has always gotten a warm reception.

Awesome Tangerine-Glazed Turkey

You’ll need:

A 10 pound/5 kilogram turkey

Salt and pepper

2 and 1/4 cups of stuffing (see below)

3/4 cups of canola oil

1 and 1/2 cups of canola oil

1 and 1/2 cups of tangerine juice

2 and 1/4 cups of turkey stock

3 tablespoons of flour


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Clean turkey and season the inside with salt and pepper. Pack the body with stuffing (the neck too, if that’s your thing).

Tie the drumsticks together, spread half of your butter over the turkey, season with salt and pepper, and put the bird in a shallow roasting pan.

Melt the remaining butter in a saucepan at medium heat, and mix in the canola oil and tangerine juice. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Soak a piece of cheesecloth large enough to fit over your bird.

Roast the bird for 25 minutes in the oven, reduce the heat to 325 degrees F (110 degrees C) and drape the turkey with the soaked cheesecloth. Continue roasting for one hour, and baste again with the tangerine mixture. Baste every 20 minutes for the next two hours, or until the internal temperature of the thigh meat reaches 180 degrees F (80 degrees C), and the stuffing reaches 165 degrees F (70 degrees C). Scoop out the fat and pan juices and put them aside, then put the turkey somewhere sanitary to cool down for about 25 minutes. Remove the stuffing once the turkey has cooled, after 25 minutes.

In the baking pan, mix the remaining pan juices with 1/4 cup of turkey stock, and deglaze over high heat. The sticky stuff stuck to the pan should liquefy. While that’s taking place, mix the fat you scooped out of the pan with the turkey stock in a saucepan over low eat. Add the flour and whisk for the next three minutes. Stir in the neck and giblets, and your deglazed juice from the pan, and simmer, stirring constantly, for the next 10 minutes, or until the giblets and cooked through. There’s your gravy.


1 and 1/2 cups of cubed whole wheat bread, 3 and 3/4 cup of cubed white bread

16 ounces of seasoned turkey sausage

1 cup of diced onions

3/4 cup of chopped celery

2 and 1/2 teaspoons of dried sage, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary, and1/2 a teaspoon dried thyme

1 medium golden delicious apple, peeled and cored

3/4 cup of dried cranberries

1/3 cup of chopped parsley

1 cooked chicken liver

3/4 cup turkey stock

4 tablespoons of unsalted butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C). Bake the whole-wheat and white bread cubes until golden brown. Put the cubes in a large bowl and let them cook.

In a large skillet, cook the sausage and onions at medium heat, stirring and breaking up the lumps until fully cooke. Add the celery, sage, rosemary and thyme, and cook for another couple of minutes.

Add the sausage mixture to the bread along with the rest of your ingredients and mix well. Allow it to cool completely.

Vegetarian Main Course

If you have a vegetarian in the family, their dinner doesn’t have to be limited to mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables – serve them up some Tofu Turkey.

You’ll need:

Half a pound of firm tofu

One teaspoon of salt

1/4 tsp each of dried marjoram, dried savory and pepper

A 12 ounce package of dry break stuffing mix

1/4 cup of soy margarine

A slice of bread, cubed

1/2 tsp of sage

5 tablespoons of vegetable oil

One tsp of barbecue sauce

1/2 tsp of prepared mustard

1 tablespoon of orange jam

1 tsp of orange juice

1 tablespoon of sesame seeds


In a food processor or blender, process the tofu until it’s smooth. Stir in salt, marjoram, savory and pepper. Place the tofu in a sieve lined with paper towel, mold the tofu into a bowl, cover with another sheet of paper towel and refrigerate for about two hours.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the stuffing mix, 2/3 cup of water and margarine, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for five minutes, then remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Add the bread cubes, sage and two tablespoons of water.

After two hours, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and grease a baking sheet with your vegetable oil. Remove the top paper towel from your tofu bowl, and spoon the stuffing mixture into the well. Flip the bowl upside down onto the baking sheet, remove the remaining paper towel and smooth out and cracks. Put it in the oven for 30 minutes.

While your tofu bakes, combine the barbecue sauce, mustard, jam, juice, sesame seeds and three tablespoons of oil. After 30 minutes, spoon the mixture over your tofu, and bake for another 20 minutes. Put on the broiler for about five minutes, or until tofu is brown and crispy.

The recipe says this is good for four people, but you might want to make some potatoes and salad to fill the plate.


Granny’s Shortbreak Cookies

I feel safe in asserting that the holidays are nothing – and I emphasize nothing – without a big plate of shortbread cookies. Maybe people eat other kinds of cookies at Christmas, I don’t know, and frankly I don’t want to know.

To be sure that you have enough to go around, you might want to make five, six, even seven dozen batches.

For each batch you’ll need:

One cup of softened butter

1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

One egg yolk

Two cups of all-purpose flour

One jar of red decorator sugar, green sprinkles, whatever floats your boat.

One jar of maraschino cherries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)

Mix the butter, sugar, salt, nutmeg and egg yolk, adding flour a little at a time until the mixture starts to harden.

Flour a cutting board and knead the dough until it begins to crack. Roll it out until it’s about 1/4 inch thick, and cut out shapes. Collect left over bits, combine them together and roll out again and again until all the mixture is used up.

Place the shapes on an ungreased cookie sheet, decorate them, and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Gingerbread Cookies

Whether you’re building a little gingerbread house to trap Hansel and Gretel, or gingerbread men to feed your guests, this recipe will come in handy.

For one batch, between 12 and 24 cookies, you’ll need:

2 and 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 cup of shortening

1/2 cup of packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup of dark molasses

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

One egg

One tablespoon distilled with white vinegar


In a bowl, beat together the shortening, and half the flour until the bowl is full of crumbs. Add the sugar, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, egg and vinegar, and blend until smooth. Stir in the rest of the flour and mix again. Chill, covered, for a minimum of three hours, preferably overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). If you’re using a cookie mold, lightly grease with vegetable oil or spray, and freeze.

Press the dough into the mold, or smooth it out and cut it into your desired shapes, and put them onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Cool and decorate.

The most important ingredient during the holidays, however, is love. Love and alcohol. A little nutmeg doesn’t hurt either, but don’t overdo it – you could die.

Happy holidays!