(Late because Anne Laurie messed up!)
From our Food Goddess, TaMara:
Once again I am hosting Christmas Eve dinner. I try and keep the menu simple because I have a small kitchen and I like to spend time with my guests. I’m actually doing much of what I did last year, because it worked so well. The menu will serve as tonight’s recipe exchange. Thanks to JeffreyW for making lasagna this week so that I had an awesome photo to use tonight.
Christmas Eve Menu:
Appetizers – Herbed Tomato Crostini (recipe here), vegetable tray
Main Event – Spinach Lasagna (recipe here), Salad, Cheesy Garlic Bread
Dessert – Truffles (featured recipe below), Peanut Butter Cookies (recipe here) and everyone’s favorite, a Sundae Bar
With the exception of the garlic bread, because I’m using gluten free noodles, the entire evening is gluten free and vegetarian. Everyone should be happy.
Dinner is at 6 pm, bring the wine.
That takes care of Christmas Eve, but what about Christmas day? How does this sound:
German Pancakes with Walnut Syrup (both recipes here) for breakfast and a Roast, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Glazed Carrots for dinner (all those recipes are here and tips for perfect mashed potatoes are here).
How are your holiday plans coming along? Do you have a crowd coming? Share your favorite holiday recipes in the comments, I’d love to see what you prepare.
Now about those truffles. This was the first time I’d made them, though I’d thought about it for a while. How hard could it be? It’s basically ganache, right? That was very simple to make. The pain was making the actual truffles, a bit of work and very messy. But I think it was worth it and I’m sure the guests will enjoy them.
Here’s the basic recipe, I then added pieces of walnut to the center of some, hazelnut to others and rolled them in either crushed walnut or hazelnut. The rest are rolled in either dark cocoa and powdered sugar. The powdered sugar kind of melted into them, so I’ll probably dust them quickly right before I serve them.
1/2 pound good bittersweet chocolate (I use 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate)
1/2 pound good semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp Grand Marnier, (optional)
1 tbsp prepared coffee
1/2 tsp good vanilla extract
Cocoa powder (I used dark)
Nuts, whole and finely chopped (optional)
baking sheet, parchment paper
Heat the cream in a double boiler until it’s hot, not boiling, and then add chocolate chips. Whisk together until fully melted, then remove from heat. Whisk in the optional Grand Marnier, coffee, and vanilla. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.
Spoon a dollop of the chocolate mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, until firm. Roll each dollop of chocolate in your hands to roughly make a round ball. Roll in powdered’ sugar, cocoa powder, or both.
Makes about 48.
These will keep refrigerated for weeks, but serve at room temperature.
Thread needs moar cinnamon roll.
Making the Xmas poteca today, following a recipe that my grandmother brought over from Slovenia in 1902. My mother learned how by watching Grandma OHb (“Wait! Let me measure that.”) and made one every Xmas and Easter, always served for breakfast with sliced ham and boiled eggs. The only thing better than presents on Xmas morning was breakfast.
Ma’s been gone almost 8 years now, but she taught me how to make one before she went. Been making poteca the old world way for 10 years and still haven’t mastered it, but every year I get better and better.
This is a reasonable recipe tho for the filling we use a combination of German chocolate, milk, brown sugar, honey, butter, and ground walnuts. The important part is the elasticity of the dough, and then the pulling of it: You want to be able to read a newspaper thru it. It is quite a trick to achieve but holes can always be patched. I always pull the dough on a floured bedsheet. That way, when it is time to roll it you just grab an edge and pull up on the sheet and voila!
When I am done it fills a roaster pan so I have plenty to share with my sons and siblings who don’t make it, but love to eat it.
I always pull the dough on a floured bedsheet over the dining room table. The table I have now is not quite big enough for my recipe and I always flow over the edges. Of course, that just means I have extra dough with which to make poteca dough rolls! Just sucks.
Roasted a turkey yesterday and will make a big batch of gumbo to take on the road!
Via Reddit r/foodporn
@jeffreyw: The epitome of a well performed poteca! You can see how thin the dough was before the filling and rolling. Was it yours?
@OzarkHillbilly: Nope, not mine. I noticed it browsing the subreddit and the name rang a bell.
Feel the need to share a few things I found in the news this morning. In Iceland: Iceland’s armed police make first ever fatal shooting:
A man who was firing a shotgun in his home has been killed in Iceland in what is believed to be the first time that a person has been shot dead by armed police in the country’s history.
Elf lobby blocks Iceland road project:
Elf advocates in Iceland have joined forces with environmentalists to urge authorities to abandon a highway project that they claim will disturb elf habitat, including an elf church.
@jeffreyw: Well I bow down to the perfection of the baker’s dough pulling skills. May mine someday match.
Having hosted Thanksgiving, I get to take it easy for Christmas. My sister and her husband, who bought my parents’ house, always host Christmas so we always get to go back to the old homestead even if mom and dad are no longer with us. She’s making a chateaubriand for Christmas dinner. All I have to do is bring the asparagus to roast there and a yummy sounding butternut and acorn squash casserole. Oh, and wine for me and John. Lots and lots of wine. Found a nice reasonably priced pinot noir by Chateau St. Jean and we’ll bring a couple of bottles of that with us. Christmas Eve is a nice quiet evening alone with my man. No idea what we’re doing for dinner, but it doesn’t matter. I just look forward to a “time alone, with little important to do” time with him. I do, however, have a bottle of champagne in the wine fridge for that evening.
And 2 stories from a different planet called St. Louis:
Katherine Desloge of Ladue is new Queen of Love and Beauty
Desloge, 20, is the daughter of Ann and Stephen Desloge. She was among a record 77 young women who made their formal entrance into society at the ball attended by more than 2,000 people at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch. The ball also recognizes the young women for their community service.
Woman found fatally shot in car in Madison is St. Louis resident missing since last month
Police on Saturday said a woman found fatally shot in a car trunk is a St. Louis resident who has been missing since Nov. 28. The woman was identified Saturday as Sybil Ann Brandon, 50, of the 4600 block of Margaretta Avenue in St. Louis.
The city of St. Louis, in black and white.
Since I still have some sweet potatoes from my garden, I’m going to make a sweet potato puree. It’s easy and can be made ahead of time. Normally I add roasted pecans but because of an little one coming, I’m going to skip the nuts. Should I add a touch of vanilla or maple syrup?
That is a fabulous food! Having pulled dough for things like it I know what a PItA it is so congratulations on having the desire to make something that wonderful that is that much work. I have eaten poteca a couple of times and it is out of this world good, what a great holiday tradition.
The one thing I have seen that was tougher, when I was a kid I watched some Iranian women make filo dough. It gets so thin that it can’t be rolled or stretched any more so the have to beat it to make to thinner.
Wow, @OzarkHillbilly, what a great tradition! Looks delicious too. I hope this year’s poteca is perfection!
My husband’s family in mostly of Eastern European descent (Poland / Russia), and they bring out the borscht and platzek for special occasions.
We always host Christmas Eve dinner for the whole family, have at least a few overnight guests and then do Christmas morning breakfast for overnighters, make snacks for returning family members arriving for Christmas dinner, then serve Christmas dinner for the whole gang. This is because I refuse to spend Christmas away from home.
Our menu is pretty much the same every year: My husband makes a couple of big trays of lasagna, garlic knots (to die for!) and salad for Christmas Eve. That night, I put together a breakfast casserole I can throw in the oven in the morning. I also pre-mix the boozy part of our eggnog the night before.
For Christmas dinner, we have a standing rib roast with horseradish sauce on the side, potatoes gratin, glazed carrots, a green vegetable (broccoli or green beans, usually), yeast rolls and salad. We get other folks to bring desserts, so that varies.
@Cassidy: That actually sounds interesting. A friend is arriving tomorrow and she is vegan (no dairy) but there will be plenty to eat so she shouldn’t feel left out. She does eat fish so I’m going to do a salmon filet for her and a tenderloin roast for us. Hopefully, the blood doesn’t repulse her.
This is Xmas dinner this year
1 1/2lb salmon fillet (remove skin & bones)
1/4 cup crème fraîche (I have a local source, you could use sour cream if you don’t)
1/4 cup chopped dill
zest of 1 lemon
2 sheet puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 450*F.
Cut tips off of asparagus and poach in boiling water until tender, ~ 3 minutes. Put in an ice bath to cool then drain well.
Blend the asparagus tips and crème fraîche, dill and zest in a food processor or with a fork. Salt and pepper to taste.
Roll one sheet of puff pastry to 1/4 of an inch. Lay on a greased baking sheet. Place salmon fillet on top. Cover top with pureed asparagus mixture. Lay raw asparagus stems on top to cover.
Roll the second pastry sheet to about a ¼ inch. Brush edges of the bottom pastry with egg, and cover with the second sheet. Seal and trim edges. Brush top top egg and cut a few slits to release steam.
Bake until golden and puffy, about 20 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, and serve.
A couple of thing – to get good puff do not over work the pastry, it does not have to be perfect. Cut it with a pizza cutter or if you have a fancy pastry cutter that makes ruffled edge – pressing down with knife crushes the layers & you don’t get good puff.
X-mas eve buffet.. Fruit Salad, Carrot Salad, Green Salad, Ham, Beans, Rice Pilaf, Corn Stuffing, Broccoli Casserole and Sweet Potato Puree.
I’m trying to satisfy various diets..
x-mas day.. Leftovers, Roast tenderloin and fish.
The broccoli and sweet potato dish are not dairy free but are gluten free but no one should go away hungry.
@Schlemizel: I’m coming to your house.
I was informed yesterday that I will be on baking duty for Christmas dinner. Selected recipe is a orange-chocolate tart. Make a chocolate ganache with an infusion of orange zest in the cream. Pour into a pastry crust that similarly has orange mixed in. Chill until firm, serve. Yum.
@Schlemizel: Wow. Gonna try that this week.
A few years back, Tim F posted this recipe for Haddock a la Reine, wonderful stuff. I decided to put the puff pastry into a muffin tin, fill them and then fold them over. Brush egg yolk on the tops and they are as purty as a picture.
With the kids all out of town its pretty quiet around here – if you are in the Minneapolis area Christmas day we’ll throw another cup of water in the soup, just let me know.
Early in our marriage, we claimed Christmas Day for us. We figured that would change when we had kids, but then we decided not to and our siblings did, so we still get the holiday to ourselves.
Christmas Eve, I make a garlicky eye of round roast with buttery brussel sprouts, caramelized shallots & mushrooms, and polenta. I’ve ordered a linzer torte for dessert.
The roast choice means we have sandwiches for the rest of Christmas week, typically with Danish blue cheese & arugula, but I also have a nice cheddar to try with the leftover mushrooms & shallots. I may try the rosemary asiago with it as well. Sandwiches this year will be made with baguettes from the bakery at the corner, which is both an amazing place and entirely evil that it is so close to my house.
Christmas Day, we talk to the families on the phone, then watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy while drinking wine and nibbling on an antipasto platter, often in our pajamas. My godfather sometimes calls to make sure that’s what we’re doing and having a good time. As an extrovert, I don’t think he realizes how lovely and perfect such a day can be.
With store-bought pastry its pretty easy to look like a genius – that was a great idea to use muffin tins! You can do that with filo too & it impresses people, adds a nice touch. I think that would work great with the recipe you linked to, I may have to try that too.
I grew up watching my Mom make filo dough every Sunday morning. Her rolling pin was one fashioned from a broom stick by my uncle to her specifications. She would roll the dough till it draped over the dining room table. I tried making it 3xs and struck out forever.
Oldest daughter has Christmas day dinner. I usually have a dinner on the 26th. This year G is having hernia surgery early on the 27th. I postponed the dinner and will have it later on.
My menu for the day usually consists of a roast with potatoes and vegetable along with “please make spaghetti sauce” from my growing crowd. This year I was going to make homemade manicotti for the pasta along with some gluten free spaghetti.
I’m not enthused, even though I’m getting to do something we haven’t gotten to do in years: just stay home christmas morning. I am excited about that!
Dinner the night before is vegetarian/piscatarian in deference to family members. Its delicious but not exciting to me.
Spicy Hot Fish Stew–a mixture of a Southern French and Thai that is my own mixture, gougeres, some kind of sprightly salad, and then a brandied fruit cake (just raisins and pecans and brandy, basically) served with hot fudge sauce and whipped cream. It lacks excitement and variety. But if I mke more salads they just don’t really get eaten.
I do want to recommend a fantastic vegan dish from the Moro cookbook. My new favorite recipe. Basically you take Radicchio or other bitter frisee like salad, sear it in butter and oil and garlic on top of the stove. Lay it on a plate and drizzle it with garlickey tahini sauce and crisped shallots, pomegranate seeds and toasted pignole nuts. Delicious. And very, very, unexpected. If you use Raddchio it does lose its gorgeous purple color and become steel/lavender but its so good its worth it.
@Betty Cracker: Can you share your breakfast casserole recipe? I’m always looking for different ones (and can I post it if you do?). Thanks!
No Christmas Eve party here, but by then, our little tiny ham should have been in the crock pot on low for a day or so. It’ll be falling apart for Christmas dinner, which is as it should be.
Speaking of falling apart, what’s in the crock pot now is the remains of a buffalo sirloin tip roast that I out in there a couple of days ago to cook low and slow. We’ve gotten three (four?) meals out of it already, and I may make Indian tacos* for dinner tonight, if I have enough time to make frybread.
* Not a “taco” per se, of course; frybread covered with shredded buffalo meat (or whatever, but that’s what I’ll be using), cheese for those who can eat it (wahhh), whatever combination of lettuce, tomatoes, etc. you want, and smothered in red or green chile. Hmm . . . maybe green for tonight.
yum yum all the way
@TaMara (BHF): Sure! Mine is pretty pedestrian, though — not sure how share-worthy it is:
— Crusty bread slices, about 1-1/2″ thick, enough to cover bottom of 13×9 casserole pan (baguette or Italian bread works great)
— 10 eggs
— 1-1/2 cup half & half
— 1 lb. country sausage
— 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
— 1/4 cup roasted red pepper, chopped fine (can use jarred kind with no ill effects if you don’t feel like roasting a pepper)
— Salt and pepper
Cook and drain sausage. Set aside.
Beat eggs, then incorporate half & half and red pepper bits. Season egg mixture with salt and pepper.
Butter casserole dish and line with bread slices, paving the entire bottom of the casserole with bread, cutting to fit gaps as necessary. Distribute sausage over bread, sprinkle cheese evenly over sausage, then pour eggs over the top. Cover with foil and refrigerate.
Next morning, cook covered for half an hour in a 350-degree oven. Remove cover and cook mixture another 15 minutes or thereabouts, until eggs are set.
@OzarkHillbilly: My friend keeps insisting I move to Iceland, near her. These stories tend to make me want to.
Defrosting my Christmas dinner now. I figure I’ll coat my turkey breast in sambal and smoke it in my last use of my grill before I sell it. Then it’s some roasted kambocha squash, and a green salad. It’s just me, so nothing fancypantsy. I will be attending the Village Feast, which is open to all, on Christmas Eve and I’m providing desserts: Chocolate Stout Cupcakes and Vanilla Crepe Cake with alternating fillings of chestnut and whipped cream with chocolate chunks. I have to get the basics of both done this morning, so I can get through my lessons from my online class and get some job applications out. Looking forward to the baking, big time.
@ruemara: I have a friend from Iceland, and aside from the ICE part, it does sound like a great place — Florida’s opposite in every conceivable way, including the weather.
Christmas dinner: Brie with apricot in pastry as the appetizer, Dijon and herb encrusted standing rib roast, oven roasted garlic grean beans, glazed carrots, wild mushroom bread pudding for the main course, and either a bouche de Noel or a selection of the Christmas cookies I’ve already made. A bouche takes a good six hours to make, so I’m leaning towards the cookies. The cookies include chocolate raspberry bars, toffee bars, lemon bars, Swedish almond cookies, linzer torte, pralines, almond biscotti and pfeffernuse. I’ve been baking way too much this past couple of weeks.
@Juju: I always make a brie in pastry as an appetizer too, but considering the complex cookies you’ve baked successfully, I suspect my brie is shamefully underdeveloped in comparison to yours. I just slap a round of apricot or berry jam on a sheet of uncooked, store-bought crescent rolls, put the brie on top, wrap the dough around it and bake.
OH THAT LASAGNE LOOKS SO AMAZING AND CHRISTMASSY THAT I MUST MAKE SOME SOON BECAUSE G-A-W-D AM I SICK OF TOURTIERE BY NOW.
I didn’t just say that about tourtière. Please forgive me, familial recipe. It’s just the agony of rolling out the gluten-free crust for the potluck tourtière that has me snappish.
@Betty Cracker: I just make a pie crust and line a souffle dish, plop in the Brie add apricot preserves, put a top crust on, crimp, decorate with leftover dough, prick(I hate using that word), the top and bake at 375o until crust is golden, serve with bread, crackers, or whatever. I’d eat your Brie. Sounds good to me.
I do go a bit crazy with the cookies, but I used to be worse. I used to make decorated sugar cookies as well, but I got tired of people telling me they were too pretty to eat. We usually ended up throwing them away or eating way too many sugar cookies. I used to make 12-15 different kinds of cookies and candies. I’ve cut back.
Since my siblings and I share cooking for holidays, I am making a ridiculously complicated mint chocolate cake with chopped up Peppermint Patties, a chocolate ganache frosting, whipped cream, a chocolate fudge sauce and a mint sauce. Yes, Peppermint Patties. That’s the good thing about large Catholic families – I only have to bring one thing.
@Betty Cracker: Yum