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:

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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…

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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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.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

VDay Din: Crab Cakes + Dill Scalloped Potatoes + Asparagus a la Dre <3

Last Valentine’s Day, Dre outdid himself with delicious fried chicken cordon bleu and asparagus-champagne risotto. This year was even better, as Dre spent the afternoon crafting another impressive dinner. I may let him take the reigns in the kitchen more often!

Crab Cakes + Dill Scalloped Potatoes + Asparagus

Restaurant Rewind: Barbuzzo

The food was pretty outstanding. The Salted Caramel Budino is HEAVEN!

The service was fairly underwhelming – pretty typical during Restaurant Week.

The pictures sum it up.

Barbuzzo
110 S. 13th St. | Philadelphia, PA 19107 |215.546.9300
www.barbuzzo.com

To Taste: Curried Chicken Wrap + Cumin-Mint Cauliflower Soup

Now that I’m armed with an immersion mixer and a bountiful harvest from my farm share, I’ve been a soup-making maniac. From a lower-carb version of 101Cookbook’s ribollita to 2 rounds of butternut squash + leek, my favorite creation of the fall was a bowlful of cumin-mint cauliflower soup. It was a one pot, minimal ingredient, flavorful blend of cheddar cauliflower via Greensgrow, toasted cumin powder, onion, chicken stock, fresh mint from my herb garden, and S&P.

What’s soup for dinner without a sandwich? My sister, Kerry, gave me a fragrant curry powder that had been taunting me from the spice cabinet and seemed like a curry chicken wrap was the right match. As the weather cools, this meal definitely warmed my belly.


Cumin-Mint Cauliflower Soup

Serves (6). Makes approx. 1.5 quarts.

  • cheddar or standard cauliflower – one head, chopped into florets
  • chicken stock – 3 cups, about 1.5 small cans
  • yellow onion – medium, chopped
  • butter or olive oil
  • ground cumin – 1tsp or to taste
  • fresh mint – 2T, chopped
  • S&P
  1. Bring chicken stock to a boil in a heavy stock pot. Add chopped cauliflower, cover, and bring back to a boil. Simmer for about 10 min or until cauliflower is fork tender.
  2. While cauliflower is cooking, heat a deep saute pan on medium. Add butter/olive oil, chopped onion, & cumin. Sweat for approx 8 min. until tender & translucent, making sure to turn lower heat if they begin to brown.
  3. Add onion & cumin mixture to the pot of cauliflower & stock. Combine and simmer for 10 min on medium heat.
  4. Turn off heat and stir in mint and S&P to taste.
  5. Blend mixture in the stock pot with an immersion blender or in batches in a standard blender. Thin as needed with water or additional chicken stock.
  6. Serve with shredded cheese, fresh mint garnish, and your favorite sandwich.


Chicken Curry Wrap

Serves 2.

  • boneless, skinless chicken breast – 2 breasts, trimmed & cut into strips
  • yellow onion – 2 medium, sliced
  • dry wine – 1/2 cup
  • yellow curry powder – 2 tsp
  • sour cream – 3/4 cups
  • lettuce – chopped or shredded, your preference
  • tomato – chopped or sliced, your preference
  • tortillas – 2 burrito-sized flour wraps
  • S&P
  1. Heat olive oil in a saute pan on medium heat. Season chicken breast with 1 tsp of the curry powder and S&P. Add to hot pan and toss regularly, until browned & cooked through, approx. 10min. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Keep pan on medium and add 1/2 cup of white wine to deglaze. Scrape brown bits from bottled to pan with a spatula. Allow to evaporate until minimal amount of liquid remains in pan.
  3. Heat 2 T of olive oil in the same pan over medium until shimmering. Add onions and saute for about 5 min.
  4. Add remaining 1 tsp of curry powder and sweat for approx 4 min longer until tender and browned.
  5. Return chicken to pan and add sour cream. Combine ingredients and warm over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes.
  6. Lay out tortillas. Add chicken, lettuce, & tomato. Wrap like a burrito and enjoy with a toasty bowl of cumin-mint cauliflower soup.

To Taste: Grilled Hoisin Chicken w. Truffled Mushrooms & Noodles

On Day 4 of my staycation between jobs, I whipped up an umami-packed dinner for Dre & me. On Day 2, I took an Asia Mart adventure with Sarah in search of fun ingredients for the meal. I try to be somewhat adventurous each time I go to an ethnic market, so I picked up some bunashimeji (aka beech mushrooms), fresh vegetable noodles, & a new jar of hoisin. The beech mushrooms are so tiny and too cute! I filled them out with sliced creminis and enhanced them with the depth of fresh thyme from my Slug City.

Bunashimeji, Cremini, & Fresh Thyme

I begin by sweating shallots with a bit of olive oil in a pan and added the mushrooms & thyme. I tossed them as they sauteed for about 10 min and finished it with white truffle oil. I love truffle. I love the smell. I love the taste. I LOVE TRUFFLE!

Truffled Mushrooms

While my mushrooms cooked, I heated an awesome new grill skillet that Sunshine passed along to me. I marinated some chicken breasts in hoisin, ginger, & soy and seared them for deep grill marks on both sides until cooked through. The noodles took a quick dip in boiling water and were a perfect pillow for a pile of savory truffled mushrooms. This may be one of my favorite dishes I’ve made… and 5 years ago you couldn’t dare get a mushroom near my plate!

UMAMI!

Grilled Hoisin Chicken w. Truffled Mushrooms & Noodles