For years, since she was a young girl, my sister Kathy used to come to our house to celebrate Christmas. But then she got married and last year she had her first child (her second came this year!), so she has started celebrating Christmas at her home in Southern California. We didn’t want to do away with the tradition altogether, however, so we’ve decided that we (as in my husband, my children and I) would go down to her home on New Year’s Eve and I’d cook a meal for the whole family. We started this tradition last year – and we continued it this one.
Last year’s food was great (though I don’t remember exactly what I made) but this year the cooking gods were just not with me. I burnt the sauce for the short ribs, I unwittingly used sweetened soy milk in the pasta, and was really too tired to even enjoy eating the meal by the end of it. Still, it was a nice night for all. Here is what I made:
First Course: Salad
This was an afterthought – but we needed something green. Mixed greens with store bought salad dressing.
Second Course: Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion Squares
These are absolutely delicious and very easy to make (though it takes some time to cook the onions). It was a special request from my sister who remembered these fondly. Everyone swooned.
Third Course: Braised Short Ribs with Chocolate and Rosemary with Mashed Potatoes or Vegan One Pot Creamy Mushroom Pasta
My sister chose this recipe out of a handful I selected – and it was a good call. We’d done short ribs the previous year, but given that the only animal protein my mother eats is beef, we didn’t have too many choices. This recipe was very good – or it would have been, had I not burned it. Still, I was able to recover it and I will make it again.
The mashed potatoes were simple: russet potatoes with butter and sour cream until they tasted right.
I made the mushroom pasta for my vegan daughter and vegetarian niece. I hadn’t realized that the soy milk my sister bought was sweetened, so the whole dish came out way too sweet. My daughter ate it, however. I may try it again the right way.
Fourth Course: Chocolate Peppermint Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream
Once again, at my youngest daughter’s request, I made my grandmother’s chocolate peppermint cake. Or actually, I had my daughter made a chocolate cake from a mix while I made the magnificent peppermint frosting. That meant the cake was lighter and fluffier. It was great with ice cream.