Christmas Eve 2011 – Menu & Recipes

One more Christmas, one more Christmas Eve celebration with my sister Kathy, my niece Nikki and my best friends Lola and Iggy.  I usually make elaborate multi-course meals but this year I was tired and not very inspired or enthusiastic.  I wouldn’t have minded just getting Chinese takeout (our Christmas day staple), but the family wanted more so I complied.  Still, this year my menu was completely streamed down.  I loved it!

I mostly made dishes that I could get ready in advance (at least one day before), and that were not “time sensitive”.  That’s important because often times I make stuff that needs to be baked/roasted and that means that it has to go into and out of the oven at a set time (specially if I’m juggling multiple oven dishes).  As my guests are not always punctual (or predictably unpunctual) I have to guess both at what time I’ll start serving dinner and how long it will take to go through each course – I’m often wrong and then the pacing of the meal doesn’t work well.  This menu consisted mostly of dishes that I started warming up half an hour before my guests were supposed to arrive, and then I could leave over very warm heat on the stove until I was ready to serve them.  This was great! It meant I was able to spend more time at the dining table than in the kitchen, which is very rare for me during Holiday dinners.  From now on I’m determined to give up on roasts (I’ve cooked all the ones I wanted to anyway) and instead serve great braises as my main dishes.

My menu this year consisted of:

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Now, if it was up to me I would have made my adored mushroom soup.  But Mika wanted butternut squash soup and, again, I complied.  Alas, the recipe I made, while good, was a bit too spicy so she didn’t really eat much.  Now I have a whole tureen-worth ready to eat by myself.  I’m not too excited, but the soup was good.

Caramelized Onion and Blue or Goat Cheese and Mushroom Pastries.

I made the former last year and they were delicious.  This year they were a favorite as well.  I also tried them with goat cheese instead of blue cheese, and while good the blue cheese ones are better.  I made another sheet with sauteed mushrooms, good but not as much either.

Mixed Greens Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing

Store bought, but delicious.

Wine Braised Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes

This recipe was quite good, though I probably should have salted the ribs more.  Still, we all enjoyed them and they were perfect with the mashed potatoes.

Tres Leches Cake

This was Mika’s idea and it was a great one.  The cake wasn’t as delicious as other ones I’ve had (the problem may have been I didn’t sit overnight), but it was quite good anyway.  I’ll definitely try other versions in the future.

Marga’s Party Menus & Recipes

 

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