Family Style: Xmas Eve Eve Dinner 2012

Last year, my family kicked off a new Holiday tradition of sharing a meal on Christmas Eve Eve at my house in South Philly. With so much running around on Christmas Day, it’s nice to gather with just my parents, sister and our boyfriends without having to rush off to the next gathering. This year, Dre’s mom joined us from Baltimore and it really felt like the family was complete.

Someone, however, was missing this holiday season… my lovely Grandma. On December 20th, she passed away peacefully in her sleep. It’s still too fresh of a heartache for me to share very much right now, however the food love she inspired in me certainly shines through in this year’s Xmas Eve Eve dinner, from the Dutch oven I used to the trivets & tablecloth. I know she was there with me in the kitchen all weekend.

And so I present, my Xmas Eve Eve Dinner Menu 2012:


Oven Poached Salmon w. Pink Grapefruit & Tarragon Sauce

Emeril’s Potluck: Comfort Food with a Kicked Up Attitude – Recipe

Cider-Brined Roasted Turkey w. Star Anise & Cinnamon

Bon Appétit November 2011 pg 94 – Recipe

Butternut Squash & Corn Bread Stuffing Muffins

Food & Wine: Michael Symon’s Heartland Thanksgiving Menu November 2011 – Recipe

Caramelized Onion Scalloped Yukon Gold & Sweet Potatoes

Adapted from two recipes:

Bon Appétit November 2008 – Recipe #1

Bon Appétit December 2012 – Recipe #2

Broiled Asparagus w. Lemon-Shallot Vinaigrette

Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

Sautéed Shiitake, Cremini & Buna Shimeji Mushrooms

Julia Childs’ Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Generic Brown & Serve Dinner Rolls

I’m only one woman!

I put the rest of the fam in charge of booze, hors d’oeuvres, & dessert once again. Dad & Mary Ann are always on point with their beer & wine selection. Im polishing off the final, and aptly named, Evil Twin Before, During and After Christmas Beer as I type. Kerry & Rich made mini crab cakes, citrus-goat cheese endive and classic lil smokies & BBQ sauce. Dessert was a selection of cakes including an out-of-this-world Yule Log filled with fresh strawberries that Dre’s mom brought and Kerry’s chocolate chip bread pudding a la mode. And another holiday feast has come and gone…


Family Style: Xmas Eve Eve Dinner Preview

Tis the season to eat our asses off (or on, for that matter)! This year, I’m excited to be cooking dinner for my family and hosting at my house. I can’t deny, though, that cooking for 6 is making me a bit anxious when I’m so used to cooking for 2. This is the perfect time for my event planning skills to kick in and I’m deep into recipe research, grocery lists, and timelines. Even though I usually cook from my own intuition, I realized I have to rely on some trusted recipes for as foolproof of a plan and meal as possible. And so I present, my Xmas Eve Eve Dinner Menu 2011:

Roast Beef Tenderloin w. Caesar Crust

Bon Appétit December 2011 pg 103 – Recipe

Cider-Brined Roasted Turkey w. Star Anise & Cinnamon

Bon Appétit November 2011 pg 94 – Recipe

Gnocchi Gratin w. Gorgonzola Dolce

Bon Appétit December 2011 pg 92 – Recipe

Brussels Sprouts & Butternut Squash w. Bacon Vinaigrette

Williams-Sonoma Thanksgiving: A Holiday Guide 2010 – Recipe

Glazed Carrots

Williams-Sonoma Thanksgiving: A Holiday Guide 2010 – Recipe

No-Knead Onion Rolls

Real Simple November 2011 pg 250 – Recipe

I put the rest of the fam in charge of booze, hors d’oeuvres, & dessert. I’ll report back once I’ve recovered from the Xmas gluttony.


A Very Foodie Xmas

My lasting holiday memories revolve around the meals I share with loved ones. I started this Christmas with my parents, older sister, & Dre enjoying an amazing Italian 7 Fish Dinner at Trattoria Da Pino in Secaucus, NJ.  Pino always delivers on food, portions, & service, especially this Christmas Eve. The night turned into 4.5 hours  of savoring 14 delicious Italian dishes, 5 bottles of wine, & wonderful company!

Fresh Mozzarella, Tomatoes, & Roasted Red Peppers at Trattoria da Pino - Dish 2 of 14

The food love showed in my xmas gifts, too! My parents got me the Perfect Brownie Baking Pan and two boxes of mix. I may even make a batch tonight while I blog. Dre’s gifts to me were true to the food theme, as well. I’ve been in the market for a simple home deep fryer and planned to rely on a trusty ol’ Fry Daddy model that my mom used. I guess now that it’s 2010, it’s time to step it up with the amazing Cool Daddy Deep Fryer that I received. As soon as we decide on the right thing to fry first, we’ll certainly be christening it!

I give Dre a near heart attack weekly with my clumsiness in the kitchen. My hands are drawn to all things sharp and scalding, but now I’ll have a little protection (and he’ll have some peace of mind!). I LOVE the electric blue silicone fingertongs and two bright red lovehandles from Fusion Brands that he gave me. I was even more stoked when I opened a matryoshka doll. The Russian nesting doll called M-Cups from Fred Flare functions as a set of dry measuring cups, with each half doll ranging from 1/4 cup to 1 cup. Looks like I have a new kitchen mascot!

Matryoshka Measuring Cups

Dre also graced me with a gold Chef’s Knife Necklace from the trashydeluxe store on Etsy that I’ve been coveting through half of 2009. It hangs on a long, wispy chain and reminds me daily of what (and who) I love most. Twas a very foodie xmas… and finally a new year!