Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I Need A T-Shirt That Says: I Freaking Survived Hosting Christmas Dinner

Well, loyal readers I am happy to say that THE HOLIDAYS are OVER!!! Woo-hoo-hoo!!! I love my family very much, but man alive can those people EAT. They eat so fast that my cooking can't keep up and by the time I was finally able to sit down on Christmas Day I was completely and utterly exhausted. Above is a picture of the brunch that I made Christmas morning: mimosa's, fruit salad and a bacon, tomato and cheddar breakfast bake with eggs.

You can find the recipe for the breakfast bake at www.foodandwine.com/recipes/bacon-tomato-and-cheddar-breakfast-bake-with-eggs . The recipe is slightly complicated, but I was able to make most of it the night before and put it in the oven in the morning when I woke up. I have to say, it was quite delicious. The bread crumbs taste like perfectly seasoned potatoes and the runny egg yolks combined with the crisp crust are quite yummy. It was a big hit with everyone, even my exceedingly picky brother.

Next, I put together the lunch/appetizer platter and cocktails for everyone. This included: shrimp with cocktail sauce, chips and garlic dip, a veggie tray, mini cupcakes and my baked brie en croute. I made pink sugar rimmed cosmos for Mom and my brother's girlfriend, followed by margarita's and made sure Dad's glass was always full of pinot noir.

Meanwhile, I seasoned and baked the salmon, peeled and mashed the potatoes (with some help from Mom and Dad) and steamed the broccoli for dinner. I seasoned the salmon by generously sprinkling it with salt and pepper and then coating it with olive oil. I then completely covered the meat with minced garlic and followed up with lemon zest, dill and lemon juice. It came out tasting delicious, but man did it stink up my apartment!

After cooking all of that food and doing the dishes between each course (I only have six sets of plates because I live alone and normally only dirty one or two at a time) I was ready for bed. It made me happy to be able to prepare enjoyable meals for my family to make the holiday special though. My Mom said to me, "I always wondered what it would be like to go to one of my children's house for Christmas dinner and now I know! You did a great job!" It felt nice to hear her say that . . . but after all that work I don't think I'll be hosting again for quite some time.

I hope everyone had wonderful Christmas feasts with their families this year.

Below is a picture that really has nothing to do with this post, other than I thought it was cool. My Mom and I went to Anthony's last week and ordered the coconut prawns appetizer and this is what it looked like . . . pretty fru-fru arty and fancy for Anthony's! It tasted pretty good too.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 Appetizers

Thanksgiving 2010 was definitely a year of firsts: the first time I can remember that it freaking SNOWED on Thanksgiving in the Pacific NW, the first time I went to Matt's parent's house for the holiday and the first time I tried out a new appetizer recipe. A year of firsts, but definitely a wonderful year and I wouldn't have had it any other way (well, maybe other than driving in the snow).

I was asked to bring a couple appetizers as my Thanksgiving meal contribution, which I was more than happy to do. I made my tried and tested baked brie en croute with apple compote (picture above). However, this time I used the Williams Sonoma fall leaf cut outs to make the dough extra festive. I was quite pleased with how it turned out, except the cut out portions got much more brown than the rest of the dough . . . I don't know what's up with that, but it all tasted the same and that is what matters.

I also made a new appetizer this year and I am fairly pleased with how it turned out. I made fig, prosciutto and ricotta bruschetta. I sliced and lightly toasted a baguette with olive oil to start. This baguette came from Marcrina bakery on the top of Queen Anne and it was quite a trek through the ice and snow to buy it, but I was not going to let my cooking plans get ruined because of the stupid snow. I braved the elements and walked to the bakery. Many near falls down the hill on ice patches and three hours later I returned to my apartment victorious with my cooking supplies! I worked for that damned bruschetta to happen, believe me! Anyway, after I spread the fig jam on the top of each piece of toast, topped that with a dollop of whole milk ricotta and finally with a piece of salty prosciutto. It was a tasty combination and I would make it again, but next time I will be more generous with the meat to balance the flavors better.

I forgot to get a picture of the bruschetta after I made it because I was so shaken up after our drive up to Snohomish. The ground looked like this (see pic below) on Thanksgiving morning outside my apartment window and Snohomish was much worse than Seattle.

We got out of Seattle just fine and navigated the freeways just fine, but the hill in Matt's parents neighborhood was a sheet of ice and we had to solicit the help of some random neighbors to push my car into the driveway. Needless to say, after the drive up there I was a bit stressed . . . but it was nothing that a couple cocktails and good food couldn't fix.

I hope everyone had a great (and delicious) Thanksgiving!