Christmas Eve Suggestions
Every year we have another couple that joins us for Christmas Eve. They have children, so the grandparents get them while the couple joins us for an adult evening of drinking and finger foods. We've been doing this for the last 6 years and even though we no longer live just across the street, we're still continuing with the tradition this year.
So here is my dilemma...I'm stuck for any food ideas this year. I usually serve shrimp cocktail, lamb chops, brie, fruit, crackers, quiche, and petit fours. I feel like mixing it up this year and the usuals just aren't doing it for me. Any suggestions?
FYI as a slight deviation from Christmas dinner this year, I won't serve my usual all seafood feast, instead it will be filet oscar and lobster tail, roasted baby red potatoes, and an appetizer of raw oysters and lobster bisque. This is provided just to avoid any redundancy with ideas for Christmas Eve.
Our Spanish roots show at Christmas, so I can't imagine anything but around the holidays. You could do a bit of tapas for finger foods: fresh bread, jamon serrano (a little goes a long way), bacon-wrapped dates, olives, queso de bola, embutido(!) and callos or cocido to take away the chill. End with sherry or porto and dark Spanish chocolate or tocino del cielo. If you choose to do a main, you could always do a paella loaded with the seafood you would normally eat on Christmas.
First, I have posted this on Chow before and others have loved them. They're so surprising, and a good sweet thing to put out that is finger-food friendly. People think they're going to get a truffle, but then they get this sweet, refreshing explosion. It's extraordinary.
The Washington Post, October 18, 2006
• Cuisine: American
• Course: Dessert, Snack
• Features: Fast
You can make (and eat) these in minutes.
Makes 3 cups
• 1 pound stemmed and chilled seedless grapes
• 4 ounces 60 percent semisweet chocolate, melted, at body temperature
• 1 to 2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
Wash and dry the grapes well; place in a large bowl. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
Add the melted chocolate to the grapes, 1 tablespoon at a time, carefully scraping down the sides of the bowl and stirring through the center of the grapes so that they are evenly coated.
As the chocolate begins to set (which will be almost immediately), place the cocoa powder in a small strainer and sift the powder, little by little, over the surface of the grapes. Gently toss or stir the grapes as you continue to sift until all of the grapes are well coated and separated. Spread the grapes on the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the chocolate has completely set, or up to 1 day.
Next, in the winter, I like to do a roasted tomato bruschetta that is a nice change from a summery, fresh version and doesn't require summer tomatoes. First, I toast my bread slices. I use baguette because of the good size. Then, I roast either grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, halfed, and tossed with thinly sliced red onion, olive oil, salt and pepper, until they have burst. Then, I stir in some chiffonaded basil and pop back in the oven for about five minutes.
Take the tomato mix out and top the bruschetta with it. Sprinkle with goat cheese and pop back in the oven for a few minutes to warm the cheese.
How about doing a tasting menu. I'm doing one with an Asian theme:
Larb (Thai ground chicken or pork) in endive
Shrimp dumplings in Chinese soup spoons with soy, black vinegar and sesame oil)
Tom Kha (Tom yum with coconut milk) in a shot glass - Rather than the chicken and straw mushrooms, I would put in finely chopped shitake and crab.
Jello shots with lemongrass infused vodka (use plain gelatin and lemonade for the water)