Christmas Eve 2008

ted_badger and I invited some friends over for Christmas Eve dinner. We wanted to do something a bit different from our usual Saturday night routine which is family style. We decided on a multi-course plated meal. It was a lot of fun to put together and folks seemed to enjoy themselves.

Christmas Eve Menu
Antipasto with mozzarella & Parmesan cheese, speck, roasted red peppers, marinated olives and assorted breads.

Cha Siu Bow (steamed rolls filled with stir fried pork)

Escarole Salad with Salt Cod, Tuna and Olives

Roasted Cornish Game Hens served upon a bed of Braised Leek Dressing with Wilted Kale & Pancetta and Cranberry Chutney (picture under the cut)

Rice Pudding Brulee with currants and blackberries

Cook’s Notes
Here’s a picture of the main course, the cornish game hen.

The only thing I cooked for the antipasto was the roasted red peppers. Everything else was store bought though I did add a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper & parsley to the mozzarella.

We learned to make the Cha Siu Bow at a bread class at the Culinary Underground a year or so ago. This was the same class were Ted learned to make the amazing bread he produces almost every Saturday to go with dinner.

We tasted the salad course at a cooking demo at one of the Williams-Sonoma stores. While I’m not a fan of tuna, especially canned tuna, this uses olive-oil packed tuna imported from Spain This seems makes a huge difference in both the taste, aroma and texture of the fish. The sauce in this is very tasty as well.

Cornish game hens are amazing easy to cook. After rinsing the birds and patting dry I seasoned them with salt & pepper, stuffed a 1/4 of a lemon into the cavity and rubbed the bird with olive oil. I lined all the birdies up on a baking sheet on top of some celery stalks so that the birds didn’t sit in their own juices as they cooked. I baked these at 400°F for ~50 minutes, rotating the baking sheet once. The internal temp read ~170°F which the cookbook indicated was good.

For the kale I diced 1/2 pound of pancetta into ~1/2″ cubes. I sauteed the pancetta until it was crispy and removed the pancetta from the pot, leaving the rendered fat. I then added the kale and cooked it for about 5 minutes until it became soft and wilted to about 1/5 the original volume. I added the pancetta back in, gave it a couple of grinds of black pepper and served it up.

The Cranberry Chutney is based on the “Cranberry Dipping Sauce” recipe by Ming Tsai. You can find it buried in this recipe for Asian-style Fried Turkey.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

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