Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Dinner Menu

I hope everyone has been enjoying the December festivities so far. It's been a pretty low key December for me which I am happy about - it's been nice to have less to do. I think the weak economy has cut party budgets so instead of big fancy parties I've been seeing friends for drinks or the movies. Gift exchanges were very minimal with friends and in my family we draw names so we only have to buy one adult gift (maximum $50 is the rule) - the children each get gifts, but nothing extravagant. I prefer a scaled down holidays because the focus is on the people and relationships rather than the stuff.

Food is one area where I like to put some effort in because for me it's enjoyable and is a key part of any celebration - the sharing of meals (breaking bread) bonds people together, and therefore promotes the relationship aspect of the holidays.

I  hosted my family's Christmas lunch, but it was a smaller affair than Thanksgiving was. I didn't attempt anything fancy because we wanted to keep it simple and casual.

Lumpia (Filipino egg rolls made by my Mom)
 - a favorite with everyone in the family, even the non-Filipinos so everyone is happy to have it again; one of several items repeated from our Thanksgiving menu.

Grilled ribeye steaks seasoned with just a little salt and pepper, then topped with course red Hawaiian sea salt when it came off the grill
Prawns, red bell pepper and potatoes "stew" (made by my Mom)

Salad of mixed baby greens, avocado, cucumber, feta cheese, toasted sliced almonds mixed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Brussels sprouts with bacon
Brown rice (my father likes to have rice with steak)
Roasted fingerling potatoes, sweet potatoes & carrots w/ garlic & garden herbs tossed in olive oil

Ginataan (a delicious Filipino dessert which my Dad made)
 - a thick coconut milk base soup with tubers (taro, sweet potato), mochi balls, plantains and jackfruit
L.A. Burdick hazelnut chocolate orange cake (sent by my good friend from the east coast)
 - a wonderful flourless cake with a thick coat of hazelnut chocolate

Red wine - Carmenere (brought by my sister)
Mineral water

Yes, another repeat from Thanksgiving, fingerling potatoes and sweet potatoes tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh herbs from my garden. It's so easy and everyone loves it, why not? I roast them in the pan for about 40 minutes at 375 degrees F.

The Brussels sprouts dish is one of my favorites. I didn't add the chestnuts (as I did for Thanksgiving) because I couldn't find the pre-roasted package from Trader Joe's. I remember buying the last box in November and I guess they didn't restock it.

Don't boil the Brussels sprouts... I see many recipes which require you to cook/boil them before cooking on the pan but it just gets overcooked. Just cut them up in quarters and sautee them in olive oil and the pre-cooked bacon. I also add about a quarter cup of water because the moisture helps to cook them faster. Once the Brussels sprouts start to brown, they are pretty much done. Just add a little sprinkle of salt and black pepper once it's all cooked, but remember that the bacon is salty so you don't need to add much salt at the end.

Hazelnut Chocolate Orange Cake from L.A. Burdick of N.H.
My very sweet friend who lives on the east coast came across this cake while reading about it in the New York Times article Guide to Mail-Order Foods several weeks ago. She knows my husband and I are chocoholics so this was truly a lovely and thoughtful gift, and everyone at the Christmas table thoroughly enjoyed it. The orange and hazelnut cake was generously frosted with gianduja - one of my favorite flavors which always makes me think of Italy. Thank you Dear!  :-*


  1. I tell you everything looks so good. I find the ginataan particularly intriguing.

  2. Hi vonlipi - I wish you could taste the ginataan, I think you'd like it. A photo of it is in my Flickr stream. Thanks for stopping by! :-)