One of my favorite things about going home for the holidays is the food and spending time in the kitchen with my family preparing meals. My dad and I always menu plan for weeks ahead of time and bounce ideas back and forth. So the first part of my Christmas 2013 post is all about the food!
I’ll begin with Christmas Eve. It’s our family tradition to have prime rib and popovers. The other elements of the dinner vary year to year.
This Christmas my dad decided to start with a soup course and made butternut squash bisque. The way he prepared the soup was really cool…he steamed the squash and then made a broth out of the seeds and pulp that was added to the soup to thin it when pureed. He got the recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. I contributed a salad with spiced pecans, thinly sliced apples, goat gouda and balsamic vinaigrette.
And the main course was prime rib, scalloped potatoes and popovers. We usually use standard muffin tins for the popovers but this year my dad got a special popover pan and it took them to a new level. They were huge and beautiful in the bread basket! The scalloped potatoes were sinfully good and cheesy!
Dessert was a homemade apple and cranberry pie. My dad makes the best pies. I especially loved his crust this year. It was thick but light and flakey.
The inside of the pie was so festive with the cranberries.
We went back and forth over Christmas breakfast. The original plan was cinnamon rolls but then I made the last minute switch to coffee cake. My dad found this recipe for cranberry pecan upside down coffee cake and it was amazing. You lined the bottom of the pan with brown sugar, pecans, fresh cranberries and butter and then topped it with the batter. You inverted the cake before serving and the result was a gooey, caramelized topping. The cranberries cook down and sweeten so much that it’s almost like you used dried cranberries.
I had my coffee cake with scrambled eggs and orange slices.
Next up is the appetizer spread. My grandmother started a tradition years ago of having munchies out on the kitchen table for us to graze on during present opening. I made this baked brie, half with apricot preserves, half with honey, rosemary and pecans. It was a hit.
My dad made these fresh mozzarella and roasted tomato prosciutto rolls. He roasted the tomatoes himself by using roma tomatoes and cooking them at a low heat for almost four hours. It totally intensified the flavor of the tomatoes and they burst in your mouth when you took a bite. So good.
My Christmas cookie plate with all the goodies I worked on last week. The almond thumbprints were my favorite closely followed by the macaroons.
And then after all the appetizer snacking and present opening, it was finally time for Christmas dinner. We ate around 5:30 this year and kept the spread pretty traditional. My dad made the best macaroni and cheese that was the crowd favorite of the night. There were repeated comments on it throughout dinner and the kids loved it too.
And I made roasted brussles sprouts with sliced almonds, a lemon vinaigrette and shredded parmesan cheese.
We also had ham, kale, deviled eggs and homemade buttermilk biscuits. I used my biscuits as a vehicle for eating the ham and making little sandwiches with lots of butter.
And finally…dessert! I made a keylime pie with gingersnap crust and my dad baked a red velvet cake. It was the perfect end to two days of good eating!
Does your family have any Christmas food traditions?