Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is one of my favorite times of the year.  I love creating the table scape and using my dishes, crystal and other cool things!  The first thing I did was set the table with a green cloth, add red felt snowflake chargers (from Pier 1) and then place the dishes.  This year I used white dishes, small snowflake salad plates, white napkins with snowflake napkin ring holders.  I also pulled out crystal water glasses and Christmas wine stemware.  Some years I add new pieces and this year it was the snowflake chargers and napkin rings.

Many years ago I bought these small silver Christmas boxes from Crate and Barrel and use them for after dinner mints and name cards holders.  These come out every year!

I made the centerpiece from a bouquet of flowers I bought at Trader Joe's.  I like to keep the arrangement low so I took a canoe style serving dish (Pier 1), added floral foam and then started placing the flowers.   When I needed some filler, I just went to our live Christmas tree and snipped off some bottom branches... pretty clever, huh? 


Lastly I sprinkled some silver glitter on the flowers, added some red sparkle strands and small pillar candles for a grand total of about $12.  I was pretty pleased.

After late afternoon mass, we come back to the house and our friends come over.  Steph brings a couple appetizers - the best are her stuffed mushrooms.  We love them and since we had 11 people for dinner this year, I think she quadrupled the recipe and they all disappeared!

Before cooking

After cooking (recipe can be found here)
Veggies and dip too

I also made an appetizer this year - jumbo olives stuff with a mixture of feta and cream cheese, topped with a pecan and olive oil drizzled on top

I like to have a new fun drink to try and this year I made Frozen Cranberry Margaritas.  These were a slushy type drink... Pretty good!  First the rims were dipped in red sugar

 And topped with fresh cranberries on picks

Oh and we had fun napkins!  Can't remember who gave me these

The next 2 courses are shrimp cocktail and salad.  We make our own cocktail sauce by mixing ketchup, prepared horseradish and a squeeze of fresh lemon (taste as you go to your desired liking)

The main dinner course consisted of baked sea scallops (which I will need to double next year), parmesan crusted walleye, fried shrimp and twice baked potatoes (but put in ramekins).  I only have a picture of the shrimp - it is kind of busy getting everything ready!

Lastly and later in the evening (around 11) we had cookies - I made 2 kinds and Steph brought a plate.  More on the cookies later!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Raviolis

In my mom's handwriting
Whew... the last few days have been a whirlwind... Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! We ended our festivities and eating yesterday by having homemade raviolis.  These were a tradition I grew up with and my mom wrote the recipe for me on one of her visits here.  You can tell it has been used a few times!

First is cutting the meat (I used chuck steak, pork steak and some veal)

Saute in butter along with 1/2 onion

Got out my handy attachment

While meat is simmering, cook a box of chopped spinach and drain

The other ingredients that go in are some lemon zest, 2 eggs, nutmeg and some romano cheese

Once the meat is done, it is ground with the spinach and onion

The mixture is added back to the pot the meat was cooked in (juices were saved) and to it add the lemon, eggs, cheese and nutmeg.  Stir well and simmer about 5 minutes and at this point, it should be refrigerated for a day

The next day I made some pasta

For a more detailed look at pasta making, refer to a previous post here.  The only difference is that I do not let the sheets dry before assembling the raviolis.

My helpers Mr. John and Benj formed the meat mixture into small balls so that they were ready for me when I made the pasta sheets... this was a tremendous help!

The raviolis are put in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes then transferred to a bag and kept frozen until time to cook.

So now we are up to Christmas night - the sauce was made a week earlier (see previous post here).

The frozen raviolis are dropped into boiling water and cooked until they start floating to the top and the water boils again.  I do not pour in a colander but remove with a wire scoop so that they don't fall apart.

Dinner is served... these are a lot of work so I only make them once a year but they are a huge hit with the family and always anticipated and is my gift to them!  Mangia!!