Christmas Feast and New Cooks in the Late Year

Christmas Eve Traditions

Christmas Eve dinner for as long as I can remember has always been the same meal for my family. No matter where we are, it doesn't really feel like Christmas unless we are noshing on prime rib for dinner and my sister's special sugar cookies. Even though when we get together the question is often posed, "what do we have for Christmas Eve dinner?", it is not really a question. This year my sister, mom and I were going to be all together unlike last year and even more special, we were going to be celebrating in my sister and my new apartment. Furthermore, I was very excited to not only share Christmas with all the most important people in my life, but also to share our Christmas traditions which also include eating homemade loaves of Stollen on Christmas morning with sausages, eggs, fresh squeezed oj and plenty of coffee and eating "stew-p" which is an everything but the kitchen sink type of soup/stew (hence stew-p).

I ordered a really nice roast from Drew's Brothers and while I was picking it up nabbed some breakfast sausages, hot italian sausages and chicken (for Christmas day). There were a total of 7 of us for Christmas Eve dinner and I wanted everything to be awesome. I fretted a bit over how to cook the prime rib and didn't settle on a method until I read this post from Serious Eats. It went through the popular methods and figured out how to have the perfect sear plus perfect pink (medium rare). I was sold and with some trepidation proceeded forward.

Secret recipe Mac and Cheese

The menu included Prime rib, Horseradish Sauce (creme fraiche, dijon and horseradish), Green Beans with Garlic and Butter, Salad with AMAZING homemade dressing (red wine vinegar, olive oil, blue agave, fresh herbs and garlic), my secret recipe Mac and Cheese and fresh bread from The Baker.

I prepared everything in stages, timing out the whole meal and executing it dang near perfectly. Especially impressive since dinner time got pushed back by slightly tardy guests. I was nervous about the meal. I really wanted to provide an amazing dining experience for my guests. Before we dug into the food, we enjoyed a nice spread of crackers, hummus, salsa and plenty of Prosecco.

Empty plates and empty wine glasses? For shame! Dig in people!

With everything ready we sat down at the table, paused for me to take a picture of the table and then dug right in. Once everyone's plates were full the room fell into a deep, deep silence as everyone savored their food. I hadn't started digging in to my plate, instead I just watched their reactions and the delight at the tasting of each thing. It was actually pretty funny since they all seemed to look up at once at me and say, "this is really good!". We drank delicious red wine with dinner and then once we had digested and socialized for a while devoured some of my sister's Special Sugar Cookies, Peanut Butter Peanut Butter Chip cookies by The Baker and Gluten Free Ginger Molasses cookies by me. It was so much fun enjoying our tradition as a family and sharing it with the people I care about.

Goodbye Year, Hello New Chef in the Family?

Sister sampling her soup.

The other night, my beautiful sister offered to cook for us and boldly go where she doesn't often go. My sister can cook, she just doesn't know it yet. She has her staple items that she makes for herself, but a bad experience in the past of being made fun of for something she cooked for someone else has led her to be trepidatious when it comes to cooking for others. I was utterly shocked when she offered to cook for The Baker and I.

And cook she did. A delicious Baked Potato soup with bacon, scallions and cheddar. It had the flavor profile of a good hearty loaded baked potato but was a much lighter meal. She paired it with a salad and we were in business. She did great and I look forward to her next attempt. Who knows maybe one day she'll be guest posting for me!

While she made soup, I worked on making some gluten free dark chocolate peanut butter and jelly cupcakes for NYE dinner. They are pretty dang tasty. I am stoked to share them. It has been a good year of eating, blogging, writing and living. I look forward to a continuation and growth of that in the new year. Happy New Year everyone!