My parents have been coming for Christmas since we moved to Texas. Trying to be “Texan” I tried tamles for Christmas Eve one year. They were good, but there is only one tall bearded man in my house that likes Mexican, so I have now opted for the tradition of serving appetizers. It works well since we go to church Christmas eve and then come back and eat, get ready for Santa and head to bed. I also try to prepare some breakfast foods in advance to pop in the oven. We usually have coffee, open gifts then eat and sit in our pajamas all day.
Christmas Eve Appetizers
SAVORY NUT MIX
• 2 cups cashews
• 2 cups hazelnuts
• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves
• 1/4 teaspoon paprika
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• 2 tablespoons butter, melted
• Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the nuts in a medium bowl with all the remaining ingredients. Spread out on sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure even browning. Remove from and serve warm or at room temperature.
SWEET NUT MIX
• 4 cups pecans, whole and halves
• 1/3 cup brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons maple syrup
• 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 egg white
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Stir together the pecans, sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl. Gently beat the egg white, in a small bowl, until frothy. Pour over nut mixer and stir to combine. Spread in an even layer on a greased, parchment paper lined sheet pan and bake for 45 minutes, mixing occasionally. Remove from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature.
Sharp cheddar shredded
Spicy Dijon mustard
Fresh chopped parsley
Mix together and spread on toasted slices of crusty bread, toast in oven till cheese melts
NO KNEAD PEASANT BREAD
• 2 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
• 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
• 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
• All-purpose flour, for dusting
Combine the bread flour, whole-wheat flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add 11/2 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees F) and mix with your hands or a spoon until the dough comes together (it will be wet and sticky). Cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap. If you have extra time, refrigerate 12 to 24 hours; this is not necessary but will improve the flavor of the bread. Let the dough rise, covered, at room temperature for about 18 hours; this rise is necessary whether you refrigerate the dough first or not. The surface will be bubbly after rising. Generously dust a work surface with all-purpose flour. Turn the dough out onto the flour, then sprinkle flour on top. Fold the top and bottom of the dough into the center, then fold in the sides to make a free-form square. Use a dough scraper or a spatula to turn the dough over, then tuck the corners under to form a ball. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and generously dust with flour. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet, seam-side down, and sprinkle with more flour. Cover with a cotton kitchen towel (do not use terry cloth) and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, 2 to 3 hours. Position a rack in the bottom of the oven and place a 2- or 4-quart cast-iron or enameled Dutch oven (without the lid) on the rack. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F for at least 30 minutes. When the dough has doubled, carefully transfer the hot pot to a heatproof surface. Uncover the dough, lift up the parchment and quickly invert the dough into the pot (shake the pot to center the dough, if necessary). Cover with the lid and bake 30 minutes, then uncover and bake until brown and crusty, 15 to 30 more minutes. Turn out onto a rack to cool.
Applewood smoked Bacon
Stuff prunes with blue cheese, wrap in a third of applewood smoked bacon and secure with a tooth pick. Bake at 400 till bacon is crispy.
PECAN STUFFED DATES
- 1 (8-ounce) box pitted dates
- 30 pecan halves
- 10 to 12 slices bacon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Stuff each date with a pecan half. Cut each slice of bacon into 3 pieces. Wrap 1 piece around each stuffed date and secure with a toothpick. Bake until bacon is crisp, 12 to 15 minutes.Drain and serve.
• 3 cups leftover risotto*
• 1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cubed
• 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 egg, beaten
• 1 cup bread crumbs
*If leftover risotto is not on hand, add a generous amount of grated Parmigiano cheese and a small amount of tomato sauce to boiled, salted arborio rice.
Grab a handful of leftover risotto and shape it into a 2 1/2-inch diameter ball. Press a hole in the middle with your thumb and place a few cubes of mozzarella cheese inside. Reshape the rice ball, until the mozzarella is fully enclosed in the rice.
In a deep saucepan, heat the extra-virgin olive oil to 350 degrees F.
Roll each rice ball into the beaten egg, and then coat evenly with bread crumbs. Gently place the rice balls in the hot oil without overcrowding. Make sure the olive oil is hot before the rice balls are added; otherwise the rice balls will absorb the oil and become heavy. Fry the rice balls for a few minutes on each side, or until golden. Place the rice balls on the paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Transfer to a plate, and serve them hot or at room temperature.
• Pinch of sugar
• Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
• 6 scallions, thinly sliced
• 1 teaspoon capers
• 1/2 cup fresh parsley
• Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/3 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
• 1 pound frozen pizza dough, thawed
• All-purpose flour, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until browned and crispy. Transfer to paper towels to drain; keep warm. Add the onion slices to the drippings in the skillet; sprinkle with the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cook until light brown and tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Combine the scallions, capers and parsley in a food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste and half of the lemon zest; pulse gently to chop and blend. Turn the processor on and add the olive oil through the top in a steady stream. Transfer the scallion pesto to a bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the creme fraiche and the remaining lemon zest until smooth. Season with salt and pepper; set aside. Roll the pizza dough into an 8-by-14-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and unroll it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
Spread the creme fraeche mixture on the crust. Dot with the onions and some of the bacon drippings from the pan; sprinkle with the bacon. Slice into pieces and drizzle with scallion pesto.
White-Bean Soup Shooters with Bacon
• 1/2 strip bacon, diced
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• 2 shallots, chopped
• 2 15-ounce cans cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed
• 6 leaves fresh sage, chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, chopped
• 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• Kosher salt
• 3 slices crusty bread, toasted
• 2 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
• Freshly ground black pepper
Fry the bacon in a medium saucepan over medium heat until halfway done, 3 minutes. Add the olive oil, butter and shallots and saute until soft, 6 minutes. Add the beans, sage, garlic and broth, bring to a simmer and cook 15 more minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor in three batches and puree until smooth. (Be careful-hot liquids are prone to explode when whipped!) Return the pureed soup to the pan and add the cream, cayenne, and salt to taste. Keep warm.
Smear the toasted bread generously with goat cheese and cut into 3/4-inch croutons. To serve, ladle the soup into shot glasses, top with goat cheese croutons and sprinkle with black pepper.
- 2 (12 ounce) packages white button mushrooms , cap size doesn’t really matter
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
- 1 (8 ounce) package sausage
- 1/4 cup butter (melted, quite optional!)
Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
Separate caps and stems while cleaning the mushrooms.
If cleaning with water, let them drain for a bit.
Start cooking the sausage in frying pan, at a medium to medium/high temperature.
While the sausage is cooking, put the cream cheese into a mixing bowl so it can soften and mince the stem pieces.
Spice the sausage to taste. Garlic is a good addition.
Just before the sausage is done, add the stem pieces and finish cooking.
Drain off the excess grease and add the sausage/stem mixture into the cream cheese
Mix together well using a wooden spoon or your hands. Be careful, as it will be rather hot.
Set the caps into a 13×9 pan (or larger) with sides.
Optional! Melt enough butter to just put a little in the bottom of each cap or just brush some over the top of each after they’re filled. You can put any extra butter in the bottom of the pan.
Fill the caps with the cream cheese/sausage/stem mix
Add a small amount of water to the bottom of the pan, just enough to cover the bottom.
Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the tops are crusty and the mushrooms have turned dark.
Scoop them out of the pan with a slotted spoon and arrange them on a plate.
Serve warm. They reheat well, so you can make them ahead of time.Mini Baked Brie Cups
one box, 15 count Fillo Cups
one small wedge of brie
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sliced almonds
grated rind from one orange
Place fillo cups on a baking tray. Cut brie into 15 small cubes that fit down into each fillo cup. Place one cube in each cup. Mix sugar, nuts, and rind in a small bowl and sprinkle over each cube of brie. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until brie is melted, almonds are toasted, and sugar is caramelized. Watch closely as these can burn quickly. Makes 15 pieces and serves 6-7.
I also like a baked brie wheel in puffed pastry, wiskey winnies, broiled shrimp (devein, peel, toss in olive oil and sprinkle with salt/pepper, broil till pink) and frozen spanikopita from Costco. I have also had Tyson Codon Blue bites and they are really good. Some of these you can make a head and then just pop in the oven to back, or do some hot and some cold appetizers like a vegetable tray, deviled eggs and coctail shrimp.
This is what I made last year Beef Wellington, greens and fingerling potatoes
For the Duxelles:
- 3 pints (1 1/2 pounds) white button mushrooms
- 2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Beef:
- 1 (3-pound) center cut beef tenderloin (filet mignon), trimmed
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 12 thin slices prosciutto
- 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- Flour, for rolling out puff pastry
- 1 pound puff pastry, thawed if using frozen
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- Minced chives, for garnish
To make the Duxelles: Add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and thyme to a food processor andpulse until finely chopped. Add butter and olive oil to a large saute pan and set over medium heat. Add the shallot and mushroom mixture and saute for 8 to 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
To prepare the beef: Tie the tenderloin in 4 places so it holds its cylindrical shape while cooking. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper and sear all over, including the ends, in a hot, heavy-based skillet lightly coated with olive oil – about 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile set out your prosciutto on a sheet of plastic wrap (plastic needs to be about a foot and a half in length so you can wrap and tie the roast up in it) on top of your cutting board. Shingle the prosciutto so it forms a rectangle that is big enough to encompass the entire filet of beef. Using a rubber spatula cover evenly with a thin layer of duxelles. Season the surface of the duxelles with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves. When the beef is seared, remove from heat, cut off twine and smear lightly all over with Dijon mustard. Allow to cool slightly, then roll up in the duxelles covered prosciutto using the plastic wrap to tie it up nice and tight. Tuck in the ends of the prosciutto as you roll to completely encompass the beef. Roll it up tightly inplastic wrap and twist the ends to seal it completely and hold it in a nice log shape. Set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to ensure it maintains its shape.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to about a 1/4-inch thickness. Depending on the size of your sheets you may have to overlap 2 sheets and press them together. Remove beef from refrigerator and cut off plastic. Set the beef in the center of the pastry and fold over the longer sides, brushing with egg wash to seal. Trim ends if necessary then brush with egg wash and fold over to completely seal the beef – saving ends to use as a decoration on top if desired. Top with coarse sea salt. Place the beef seam side down on a baking sheet.
Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash then make a couple of slits in the top of the pastry using the tip of a paring knife – this creates vents that will allow the steam to escape when cooking. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until pastry is golden brown and beef registers 125 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from oven and rest before cutting into thick slices. Garnish with minced chives, and serve withgravey made from the drippings, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, and Warm Wilted Winter Greens.
Wilted Winter Greens
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 pint walnuts, for garnish
- 3 bunches assorted winter greens (such as Swiss chard, radicchio, or escarole), washed, stemmed, and torn into pieces
- 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, for garnish
- Parmesan shavings, for garnish
- 1 shallot, chopped, for garnish
Cook honey and balsamic together over medium-high heat in a large saute pan, about 5 minutes. Toast walnuts in a small skillet; set aside to cool.
Pile greens on a platter. Stir mustard into balsamic-honey dressing, then whisk in about 1 cupextra-virgin olive oil; pour over greens. Season greens with salt and pepper and garnish with walnuts, pomegranate seeds, shavings of Parmesan, and shallot.
I am planning to make one of these recipes for this year:
HORSERADISH-CRUSTED BEEF with ROASTED POTATOES and SHALLOTS
- 1 jar(s) prepared horseradish, squeezed of excess liquid
- 1/4 cup(s) whole-grain mustard
- 1/2 cup(s) fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 boneless beef rump or rib roast, at room temperature
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1 pound(s) medium shallots (about 12)
- 2 pound(s) medium Yukon Gold or white potatoes (about 6)
- 2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
- Heat oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, combine the horseradish, mustard and parsley.
- Tie the beef, if desired, and place in a large roasting pan. Season with 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp coarsely ground pepper, then rub with the horseradish mixture. Roast for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, peel the shallots, cut them in half and place in a large bowl. Cut the potatoes into 1 1/2-in.-thick wedges (no need to peel); add them to the bowl. Drizzle with the oil, season with 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper and toss to combine.
- Scatter the vegetables around the roast and continue roasting to desired doneness, 130°F for medium-rare, 50 to 60 minutes more.
- Transfer the roast to a cutting board and let rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing. Stir the vegetables, and continue roasting until golden brown and tender, 10 to 15 minutes more. Serve with the roast.
5 lbs Potatoes
2 tsp Salt
1/4 oz Chopped Garlic
1 qt Cream
1 pt Milk
Peel potatoes and cut into thin slices. Toss in salt and garlic and arranges in an even layer in a buttered hotel pan. Mix cream and milk and season. Bring to a boil. Pour over potatoes, bake 400 for 30 minutes.
LOIN of PORK with FENNEL
• Good olive oil
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• 2 cups sliced yellow onions (2 onions)
• 2 cups sliced fennel (1 large bulb)
• Kosher salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 large cloves)
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
• 1 tablespoon Pernod or white wine
• 3 cups fresh bread crumbs
• 1 (3 1/2-pound) loin of pork, butterflied
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
For the stuffing, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the butter in a large (12-inch) saute pan. Add the onions and fennel with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook over low to medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions and fennel are tender and lightly browned. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Pernod and cook for another minute, deglazing the pan. Cool slightly. Add the bread crumbs and 1 teaspoon of salt to the stuffing mixture. Lay the pork on a board fat side down, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the stuffing evenly on the pork and roll up lengthwise, ending with the fat on the top of the roll. Tie with kitchen string, rub with olive oil, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.Place the rolled pork loin on a baking rack on a sheet pan and roast for 30 minutes. Lower the heat to 350 degrees F and roast for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the interior of the pork is 137 degrees F. (If the thermometer hits stuffing rather than pork, it will register a higher temperature, so test the meat in several places.) Remove from the oven and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 15 minutes. Remove the strings, slice thickly, and serve.
- 5 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 4 pounds)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- One 12-ounce bunch kale, stemmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature (about 8 ounces)
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
For the potatoes: Combine the potatoes, garlic, salt and butter in a 5-quart saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain in a colander and remove the garlic cloves. Return the potatoes to the pan and mash the potatoes until smooth using a potato masher.
For the kale: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, salt and pepper. Cook until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the kale and chicken broth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 10 to 12 minutes.
To assemble: Add the kale mixture, mascarpone cheese, chicken broth, butter, Parmesan, salt and pepper to the potatoes. Stir over low heat until smooth and warmed through. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and serve.
|FRESH CRANBERRY ORANGE RELISH|
1 12 oz pkg fresh cranberries
Put washed, drained cranberries in a food processor with 1 orange which has been peeled and quartered with all seeds being removed.
Pulse for a few seconds, just until coarsely chopped. Stop and scrape down sides of bowl, if necessary, to chop evenly.
Add 3/4 to 1 cup of sugar and taste adjusting sweetness as desired.
Stir well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
Cranberry Orange Relish may be frozen for up to 2 months. Would be great with the baked brie as well.