Christmas Eve 2009

ted_badger put together the following menu for a handful of friends who were able to join us on Christmas Eve this year.

  • Hot Popover with Apricot Whipped Cream
  • Red Leaf Salad with Roasted Beets, Chestnuts, Tangerine & Pomegranate with tangerine vinaigrette
  • Butternut Squash Custard with Black Pepper Mascarpone and Oregano Oil
  • Braised Lamb with Fennel, Onion & Carrots, Pomegranate Red Onion Relish, Couscous
  • Meringue tart with Chocolate Ganache and Pears, Apricot Glaze

Under the cut below you’ll find photos for each of the courses. Here’s a little something to wet your appetite.

More photos under here

Saturday night – 12/19/2009

Whenever one of the Saturday night regulars has a birthday coming up and they be at dinner near that date we try to cook up something special for them. Joe’s birthday was last week and so to him fell the honor of picking something for dinner. His wife made a suggestion since she knows he loves what became our main dish. Pretty awesome considering she has a dislike for the smell of seafood.

Fish tacos
Beef tacos
Baked “Spanish” Rice
Black beans with shallots & tomato
Fruit cake (by the lovely ted_badger)

Fish taco & black bean notes under here

Saturday night – 12/12/2009

Our friend Tom isn’t a fan of most cheeses. I think his list of likes includes Parmesan & mozzarella and that’s about it. So when he & his girlfriend Michelle let me know they were going to miss a Saturday dinner I asked around for cheesy dishes that I could make. miss_jenith suggested cheese enchiladas and that got the menu started.

Cheese Enchiladas
Sauteed turkey in enchilada sauce
Green salad with roasted red peppers
Pricey brownies with homemade chocolate ice cream

ted_badger made the ice cream with some kind of ground chile, a bit of vanilla and something else I’m forgetting. It was awesome.

Pumpkin Empanadas

I’ve made these appetizers several times over the last couple of months. I think the concept came from the Greystone Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, CA. ted_badger and I dined there back in October and I had this as an app. I remember thinking that it was OK but that I could do better. So here it is.

1 can pumpkin (you want unseasoned pumpkin here, not pie filling)
3 oz. cream cheese (room temp)
4 Tablespoons ground pumpkin seed
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

1 pkg. pie crust (bring out 15 minutes before you need it)

1 egg white mixed with 1 Tablespoon of water.
1 Tablespoon sugar


  1. Combine the pumpkin, cream cheese, 3 Tablespoons of the pumpkin seed, cumin, salt & pepper in a bowl and mix until thoroughly blended.
  2. Roll out the first sheet of pie crust and using a rolling pin roll it out so it’s about an 1/8″ all around.
  3. Using a 2″ round cookie/biscuit cutter cut out circles of pie dough. I managed to get around 13 circles from each sheet.
  4. Working with one circle of pie dough at a time place a rounded teaspoon of filling in the center of the dough. Fold the dough in half to make a half circle.
  5. Using a fork crimp the edges of the half circle to form a seal.
  6. Repeat the filling process for all the circles and then repeat steps 2-5 using the second sheet of dough. If you wish you can combine the scrap dough from both sheets and get another 5 or 6 circles. You will have left over filling.
  7. Place all the empanadas on a half sheet lined with parchment.
  8. Combine the remaining tablespoon of ground pumpkin seeds with the tablespoon of sugar.
  9. Brush each empanada with the egg white and sprinkle with some of the sugar mixture.
  10. Bake in a 350°F oven for 20-25 minutes, rotating the half sheet pan at about the 12 minute mark.

These can be eaten warm or allowed to cool completely. Store in an air-tight container.