Holiday SkepFeast

Editor’s note: I was offline for the holiday and missed Skeptical Advocate’s awesome holiday recipe post. Please consider this an early 2009 Holiday Feast proposal for future holiday feasting! (This sounds like a delicious NYE menu too.) My sincerest apologies for my tardiness! — Eliza

No discourse on James Joyce for Christmas Eve. Instead, I’m offering a menu and suggestions on cooking it to help you celebrate whatever you’re celebrating, including your appetite. This was sort of spontaneous. I had pork chops in the fridge and acorn squash hanging around from the last CSA order at the East End Food Co-Op. So I decided to put them together. You can make this anytime over the holidays.

The nights are long, the weather rainy this year and the holidays can be frenetic. Cooking a low-key meal for yourself and others who appreciate it is the ticket for comfort and relaxation, in my book. This is not a competition. For me it’s a meditative activity (as in chop wood, carry water). And you can enjoy the results (usually). So here goes. Plan on about an hour for the whole thing.


  • Roasted red, white or a combination of potatoes with fresh garlic, basil and rosemary
  • Pork chops with Patak’s spicy ginger and garlic tandoori sauce (could alt. be lentils or your favorite TVP item or Tofurkey, if you’re veggie)
  • Acorn squash
  • Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais or similar wine

Roasted Rosemary, Garlic and Basil Potatoes

  1. Pre-heat the oven to about 450 F.
  2. Scrub the potatoes and leave the skins on. Chop in small wedges and toss in a glass baking dish with canola or similar oil.
  3. Smash a few garlic cloves in a garlic press and distribute over the potatoes. Sprinkle the potatoes liberally with rosemary, basil, salt and pepper. I added a little smoked paprika, too.
  4. Turn over the potatoes with a spatula to distribute the oil and spices.
  5. Put the uncovered dish in the oven. Set the timer for one hour.

Acorn Squash

  1. Carefully slice a medium-sized acorn squash in half (avoiding your thumb). Scrape out the seeds and fibers as much as possible with a large metal spoon.
  2. Place the squash halves open side-up on a second glass dish or metal pan. Pour in a little oil in the hollow of each squash half. Sprinkle liberally to taste with any combination of Penzey’s Galena Rib rub, fresh garlic, brown sugar and cayenne pepper.
  3. Cover the dish or pan loosely with aluminum foil and place beside the potatoes in the oven.

Pork Chops

  1. Pour a little oil in a frying pan and heat.
  2. Add the pork chops and brown each side
  3. Lower the heat. Mix the ginger and garlic tandoori sauce with a little balsamic or other vinegar. Spoon the sauce over one side of the pork chops. Flip the chops and spoon the sauce over the other side. Cover and simmer for about ten minutes.

If the timing is right, the potatoes and squash should be done about the same time as the pork chops. You might want to turn down the oven to 400F part way through after the potatoes have browned.

Serve with the wine. I also recommend enjoying with Blackadder’s Christmas Carol (also see Wikipedia reference) as a skeptical diversion.

Bon appetit.


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