There was much debate this year over what to serve our party of 16 for Christmas Day Dinner. We don’t have a “traditional” Christmas meal – we switch it up every year. We have had everything from a pork crown roast (gorgeous presentation), filet mignon, standing rib roast, leg of lamb, etc. This year we settled on an Italian theme – anitpasta, Caprese salad, vegetarian lasagna, chicken parm, etc. The Italian stores on Long Island cannot be beat – nothing is better than their fresh pastas and cheeses. The husband and I are looking forward to a change from the usual hunk of meat – which is huge for someone like me who is usually a stickler for tradition.
What is your family’s traditional Christmas meal? Do you stick with one thing from year to year, or go with what strikes you?
Breakfast: Eggs, Bacon, Banana Bread
Afternoon Snack: Feta Pesto Spread (Farrell wasn't kidding- this stuff is amazing!)
Dinner: Macaroni and Cheese, Broccoli
The mac and cheese recipe (basically from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook) is my favorite. It takes a little bit of time, but with the right cheese, it blows other recipes out of the water. The base is a white sauce, which is somewhat hard to master, so don't get discouraged if it doesn't work the first time!
1/2 lb Pasta (although somewhat untraditional, I like rotini b/c it really "holds" the sauce)
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups milk, heated
2 cups grated sharp cheddar
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Mix in the flour. Whisk the paste for a few minutes until it bubbles but before it browns. Slowly start adding the hot milk (I keep this heated on a burner on the stove.) The idea is to add a little bit at a time whenever the mixture starts to thicken. Stir constantly or the sauce will separate! Once all the milk is added, continue to stir until the sauce is thick and bubbly. Add one cup of cheese. Continue to stir until cheese is incorporated. Mix cheese sauce, pasta, and remaining cup of cheese in baking dish (a loaf pan usually works well). Add extra cheese, mustard, and cayenne pepper to taste. I find that the recipe can be a bit bland without these additions, so experiment with different cheeses and see what suits you the best! - LG
To make them yourself, you will need: parchment paper, small pretzels, chocolate chips (white, dark, milk, whatever) and sprinkles (in holiday colors). Melt the chocolate in the microwave. Dip the pretzels in the chocolate about halfway, one by one, and arrange them in a circle of 4 or 5 on the parchment paper. Then stagger another layer on top to make it look like a wreath. Shake the sprinkles over the middle and wait for it to harden. The ones we received were packaged in a cute holiday bakery box, but the possibilities with that are endless.
Fruited Champagne Punch, Seasonal Beers, White and Red Wines
Sesame Chicken Satay, Greek Stuffed Mushrooms, Baked Crab Rangoons, Sicilian Meatballs, Parmesan Pastry Spirals, Goat Cheese-Basil Pastry Rounds, Crudite with Horseradish-Gouda Dip, Cheese Board with crackers
White Chocolate Eggnog Fudge, Mini Fudge Rum Cakes, Holiday Oatmeal Bars, Puppy Chow
It was a great time (until we had to clean everything up this morning).
I’ll post some pictures of the food and décor soon, as well as some recipes, but for now, I will leave you with a shot of what happens when you put a bottle of prosecco in the freezer “to chill” and forget about it until the morning.
A classic from Brooks Brothers:
Two fun options from Vineyard Vines:
And finally, a great pick from my favorite men's store in Richmond, Peter Blair:
Now if someone could just show me how to tie a bow tie! - LG