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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@ Sunshine’s: Crawfish + Summer Corn Chowder

While my friends + fam were anticipating Hurricane Irene’s wrath in the Northeast, I was in sunny, hurricane-free Florida… oh, the beautiful irony! Sunshine, my dear friend and the amazing creative behind Blog Full of Jelly, moved to Sarasota this past spring and I was stoked to finally make a visit down to see her new home. Kelly, a baker at Whole Foods + Philly friend of Sunshine’s, was visiting at the same time so we had a killer trifecta of creative food lovers. We did our share of eating out, but Sunshine upped her wonderful hostess status by making her version of Martha Stewart’s Summer Corn Chowder. I’m glad I had my camera and the beautiful Florida sunlight to shoot our way to a delicious bowl.

And what could make a delicious corn chowder even better… crawfish!
Cornfed agreed.

I did a bit of corn kernel removal, but mostly harassed Sunshine w. my camera.

Some of the tiniest, cutest potatoes I ever did see!

Kelly (wo)manned the grill like a champ.
I can handle a gas grill, but she was definitely a pro when it came to charcoal.

BBQ Chicken + Kielbasa right off the grill – a perfect accompaniment to the chowder.

Crawfish + Summer Corn Chowder topped w. bacon + a whole lotta love!

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

To Taste: Rustic Roasted Chicken & Vegetables

Last week, Philly was graced with its 2nd major Blizzard in under 6 days. The whole city pretty much shut down on Wednesday = SNOW DAY! Luckily, I also had off on Thursday as Philly is completely unmanageable under 30+ inches of snow & ice chunks. Dre still had to trudge to work and I wanted to make sure he came home to a warm house and a warm dinner! I had defrosted a whole chicken and searched for a recipe online. My first stop is to see what Kayotic Kitchen has up her sleave. Rustic Roasted Chicken? Sounds perfect to me!

I have an odd obsession with the process of butterflying a whole chicken, or spatchcocking it. I had my first adventure with it last summer for my grilled Chicken Under A Brick. It’s easier to slice & serve and makes sense if you aren’t planning to stuff it. Kayotic Kitchen’s marinade for the chicken was a beautiful crimson (in real life) and super tasty.

Marinating Chicken nestled in Raw Vegetables

I improvised the veggies and such with I had available including baby carrots, shallots, onions, Idaho spuds, green onion, smashed garlic cloves, fresh thyme, & turkey bacon to keep it straight poultry.

Fresh Thyme w/ Vegetables

The 7lb bird took about 2-2.5hrs to cook and had the house smelling delicious when Dre got home from work.

Rustic Roasted Chicken & Vegetables

I whipped up what were supposed to be fluffy cheddar biscuits to serve with the chicken. Instead, I got cheddar pancakes. What more could I expect from mix I picked up from Acme for $1. They were still tasty with some melted butter and reheated perfectly for a quick Leftover Lightning! (in the form of a yummy chicken sammie the next day!)

Cheddar Biscuits turned Pancakes

P.S. I highly suggest you click through to the Kayotic Kitchen blog. Kayleigh’s photos are beautiful and recipes are really amazing & easy to follow. I could only aspire to take ones that great. Her love for food is certainly sincere ❤

Quickie: Whipped by Potatoes

I LOVE LOVE LOVE mashed potatoes, but not the starchy process of peeling, chopping, & boiling the tubers. The best parts are using my prized Cuisinart Stand Mixer and, of course, eating them!

Whipped Potatoes w/ Fresh Herbs via my Cuisinart Stand Mixer

Whipped Potatoes w/ Fresh Herbs via my Cuisinart Stand Mixer

I kept the rest of my dinner quick with the entree & side:

Balsamic-Glazed Chicken Breast – Marinated in Italian Salad Dressing & Balsamic Vinegar, Pan-fried

Fresh Snow Peas – Sauteed w/ S&P, Shallots, Garlic, EVOO, & Butter

Whipped Potatoes – White Potatoes, Whipped w/ S&P, Lemon-Thyme, Parsley, Basil, Garlic, Shallots, Milk, & BUTTER! in my Cuininart Stand Mixer

A tall glass of Dr. Dre-2O

Balsamic-Glazed Chicken Breast, Sauteed Snow Peas, & a Mountain of Whipped Potatoes

Balsamic-Glazed Chicken Breast, Sauteed Snow Peas, & Whipped Potatoes