As I prepared to plan my Christmas Eve dinner for 2018, I realized that I had never actually posted my menu from 2017. I often go back and look at past menus to see what I should repeat – and what I should omit. I did post some of the recipes, however.
I do still have the copy of the menu, though my recollection of how each course was may be somewhat faulty. This was a 12-course dinner because my youngest daughter was 12 at the time, and she requested that number of courses. My oldest daughter was vegetarian at the time (she’s now vegan), so I made sure that the menu had vegetarian options for her.
First Course: Pomegranate Mint Lassi and Spiced Chickpeas
I served this course in the living room while I got the rest of the dinner ready. It went over very well.
Second Course: Caprese Salad Spoons Amuse Bouche
I had gotten some amuse bouche spoons and, of course, I had to use them. I decided on a simple Caprese salad amuse bouche because my oldest daughter was heavily into Caprese at the time. I couldn’t find any fresh basil at the time (this year it’s all over the place), so I used pesto instead. I also used burrata instead of fresh mozarella, which was a mistake as burrata has too mild a flavor to stand up to the pesto and the super-expensive, thick Balsamic vinegar I also used. Still, this was a good amuse bouche and worked well in the spoons.
Third Course: Linguiça and Local Beer/Root Beer
This was my “ode to San Leandro” course. I live in San Leandro, a relatively small city right south of Oakland. For years, San Leandro was the unofficial sausage capital of California – we had several sausage manufacturers in town. Chief among those sausages was linguiça, a Portuguese smoked-cured pork sausage. Indeed, San Leandro was settled by Portuguese immigrants, and they took their linguiça very seriously (read about San Leandro’s sausage king, if you’re interested in true crime stories).
In recent years, San Leandro has been moving away from sausages and closer to beer – we now have several small breweries in town. So I figured a dish of local linguiça and beer would be a nice way of highlighting my adopted town. Plus, this was an easy dish to make (just cook the
linguiça on the stove or oven) and serve.
Fourth Course: Pear & Goat Cheese Salad with Caramelized Walnuts
It’s funny, I’d completely forgotten I had made this last year – and yet when it came time to make a salad for my 2018 Xmas Eve dinner, this is what I came up with once again!
Fifth Course: Mushroom Soup
I’ve been making Anthony Burdain’s recipe for mushroom soup for many years now and I often serve it for Christmas’ Eve. It’s just absolutely delicious. For the last few years, I’ve been making it with vegetable broth rather than chicken broth to cater to my non-chicken eating family members. It’s just as good.
Bastilla is another of my old “tried and true” dishes and a family favorite. My kids really wanted me to make it last year, but as my oldest daughter was then a vegetarian, she requested a vegetarian version. She absolutely loved the recipe I found for her.
Seventh Course: Lemon Sorbet Palate Cleanser
I don’t remember if I made it or I bought it. Still, I always like to serve a sorbet as a palate cleanser before the main course.
Eight Course: Mushroom Marsala Gnocchi
This was my favorite dish of the night.
Ninth Course: Beef Roast with Madeira Sauce, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans
I didn’t leave any record of what recipe I used for the beef, but I’d used this one with great success before, so I probably used it again. Alas, I don’t know what Madeira Sauce recipe I used.
Tenth Course: Cheese Plate
I seem to remember that whatever cheeses I served were good.
Eleventh Course: Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream.
Twelfth Course: Hot Chocolate or Tea with Shortbread Cookies
Store bought and served in the living room.