It’s one week ’til Christmas and time to pick up last minute gifts, send out cards to those unexpected ex-coworkers who sent cards to you, and finalize the Christmas menu.
After surviving Thanksgiving, Christmas seems like child’s play. The pressure is on the gift-givers, not the food-providers. Everyone wants a delicious dinner, but the whole point of the holiday does not depend upon the moistness of the cornbread stuffing. My family lets the ham and the lasagna do the heavy lifting, and swaps around easy sides from year-to-year.
Here’s what this year’s menu looks like:
Cheese plate and cocktails: My sister invents the cocktails (a gin drink for me, bourbon for Dad, rum for Mom, and vodka for herself. This is her only job, and we don’t make it easy.) For the cheese plate, I always follow the advice of the Queen, Ina Garten, and choose a hard cheese, a soft cheese, and a blue cheese. The person behind the counter at Whole Foods gives great recommendations (and samples). Scatter some crackers, fruit preserves, olives, and marcona almonds around the plate and you’ve got yourself a work of edible art. This year, I’ll add this tomato confit to the mix.
Brussels sprouts with chopped walnuts and pecorino: a Carla Lalli Music recipe with the most annoying prep work but with absolutely worth-it results. I add shaved pecorino because why not?
Kale Salad with fresh croutons: I am making the Kale-Cranberry Crunch Salad that I made for Thanksgiving, but nixing the shredded brussels, walnuts and pecorino (because I’m having that in another side dish, see above) and adding roasted pumpkin seeds and home-made croutons. So, it is basically a lacinato kale salad with roasted pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and fresh croutons. Simple and perfect.
Chocolate Pie: it’s a Self magazine recipe, but it tastes more like Paula Deen. You need to double the crust, the amount they call for in the recipe is too skimpy.
Happy Holidays to you and yours!