But Christmas was pretty darn great this year, if a bit quiet. Gifts went over well, and I'm rather chuffed about what I got. The big thing was a sous vide immersion circulator. Craig and I have been wanting to try sous vide cooking for quite a while. For those that don't know what it is, sous vide cooking is about using sealing food in vacuum bags and cooking it in a temperature-controlled water bath (I've heard about steam being used, too, though I don't know how that would be controlled, to be honest). It cooks more slowly and evenly, only up to the desired temperature, so in theory it's impossible for food to get overcooked. It's most practical non-professional application is for meat, so since we were having beef tenderloin for Christmas dinner, it was agreed we would try it out on that.
A risk, to be sure. But in the end, worth it. Instead of roasting, we cut it into 1" slices, sealed them in bags, and put it in the bath with the circulator for an hour. They were actually in there a bit longer while other things finished, but for our intentions, there's a 4 hour window on the other side of cooking you can use before it starts getting mushy. When we took them out of the baths and unsealed them, I gave them a quick sear on the stove with some extra spices.
Sooooo good. We were able to cut them with butter knives, that's how tender they were. We won't be cooking steaks any other way in the future, and now I want to try out some specific recipes.
Other than the circulator, Santa was generous. Among my gifts were a ton of entertainment books - biographies for Neil Patrick Harris, Cary Elves, and Norman Lear, as well as a Wicked book - and a set of Buffy Funko figures. I didn't get Vamp!Spike, Oz, or the Gentlemen, so I'll have to find those online at some point. Maybe for my birthday. :)