Christmas Dinner

It took me a little long to get this one out – but here are some pictures and recipes from the Christmas dinner we made with my sister, in the three courses: Appetizers, Real Food and dessert table

Appetizers

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Brie With Panela

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No actual recipe for this one, this was a complete improvisation.

What you need:

  • Brie cheese
  • iron skillet
  • Panela
  • Cashews (or any nus you might like, I would have prefered Brazilian nuts but couldn’t find any)
  • Apple
  • Lemon

cook the panela with some water and nuts in the skillet. cook until all the  panela is melted, and starts reducing. If it is too sweet add more water.  Cut an apple into small cubes and add to the mixture.

wpid-20121224_173259.jpgCook in the stove top until the apple stars coming soft. Add the block of brie, cover it with the liquid and place it in the Oven at approx 350 degrees. Keep it on until the cheese is at your desired texture – i left it for 15 minutes.

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Sweet & Spicy Nuts

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  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 cups unsalted pecan halves
  • 2 cups unsalted roasted cashews
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon water in a large bowl until foamy. Add the nuts, sugar, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon salt and mix well. Spread the mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until the nuts are mostly dry but still slightly sticky, about 40 minutes.

Remove the nuts from the oven and stir. Reduce the temperature to 200 degrees F. Return the nuts to the oven and bake until crisp, about 30 more minutes. Stir to loosen the nuts from the baking sheet; cool completely on the sheet.

Avocado and Feta Dip

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This recipe is from the Food Network. This recipe was a total hit. It also went well with both corn chips, vegetable sticks and regular cheese crackers. It as also super simple to make!

Recipe:

Cook 1/2 diced red onion and 1 diced seeded jalapeno in olive oil, 6 minutes. Puree with 1 diced avocado, 1 cup cilantro, 3/4 cup crumbled feta, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3 tablespoons vegetable oil and salt to taste. Serve with toasted bread and vegetable sticks. 

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The Real Food Table (yes the ham and turkey were outsourced!)

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Truffle White and Criolla Mashed Potatoes

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Another improvisation in the kitchen. What we did is make two batches of mashed potatoes white mashed potatoes and criolla mash. After the two were made, we put the white below, the yellow on top and topped the whole thing off with lots of parmesan cheese and put it in the oven until all the cheese was melted. It is key to put it in a clear container to make the two different tones pop.

Here is how we did the two mashes:

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White Mashed Potatoes: This was improvisation at its best. No clear measures just tasting and adding. Started with peeling the potatoes and cooking them in water. When they were cooked, we mashed them and left them in the pot. Then we started adding ingredients. We wanted to make this not as heavy, so we tried to contain the amount of butter. I think this is a play it by ear situation. We were adding one tablespoon at a time, to get the mash to come together, but not overdoing it so as to make it super unhealthy. We also added heavy cream to help with the texture. The key ingredient: parmesan cheese and truffle oil. Be very generous with the cheese (as much as you want) and very reserved with the truffle oil: a little goes a long way. Lots of salt and pepper to taste.

Criolla Mashed Potatoes: For the Criolla mashed potatoes, the method was the same as for the white potatoes, we just changed the seasoning. We added thyme and a Tuscan season blend to give it more flavor instead of the truffle oil.

Fatoush Salad

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This recipe is from the Jerusalem book by Ottolenghi.

The Recipe: (serves 6)

  • scant 1 cup / 200 g Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp / 200 ml whole milk
  • 2 large stale Turkish flatbread or naan (9 oz /250 g in total)
  • 3 large tomatoes (13 oz /380 g in total), cut into 2/3-inch / 1.5cm dice
  • 3 oz / 100 g radishes, thinly sliced
  • 3 Lebanese or mini cucumbers (9 oz / 250 g in total), peeled and
  • chopped into 2/3-inch / 1.5cm dice
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 oz / 15 g fresh mint
  • scant 1 oz / 25 g flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried mint
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup / 60 ml olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
  • 2 tbsp cider or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tbsp sumac or more to taste, to garnish

Start at least 3 hours and up to a day in advance by placing both yogurt and milk in a bowl. Whisk well and leave in a cool place or in the fridge until bubbles form on the surface. What you get is a kind of homemade buttermilk, but less sour.

Tear the bread into bite-size pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Add 2/3 of your fermented yogurt mixture, followed by the rest of the ingredients, mix well, decide if you want to add more yogurt mixture, and leave for 10 minutes for all the flavors to combine.

Spoon the fattoush into serving bowls, drizzle with some olive oil, and garnish generously with sumac.

My Thoughts: I think there is a little bit too much liquid for the actual amount of salad. We improved the salad a little by taking some of the liquid out and adding more leaves: mint and parsley.

The Dessert Table

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Buñuelos

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  • 1 pound of flour for bunuelos
  • 1 pound of grated ” Queso costeno”
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup lukewarm water and milk mix

mix the flour, cheese and eggs. Start adding the water until there is good enough consistency to roll little balls. You dont need to use the entire cup. Roll little balls and fry them.

Natilla

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Recipe:

  • 1 litre of whole milk
  • 125 g of butter
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • cinnamon sticks

melt the butter with the milk. Once it is melted, add the sugar and mix until its throughly mixed.  Mix the cornstarch with a bit of cold milk in a separate container, and then add to the milk, butter and sugar mix. Add the cinnamon sticks. Keep mixing until it starts thickening, and then place in a mold and in the fridge.

Brigadeiros

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The Recipe:

  • 4 tablespoons of chocolate Nesquick
  • 1 can on Condensed milk
  • 1 table spoon of butter

Put all ingredients in a pot on the stove at medium heat. Keep stirring the mixture until it becomes harder and it is no longer sticking to the bottom of the pot (time will depend but approximately 10 minutes).

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After you can see the bottom of the pot when mixing, keep stirring for about 1 minute and remove from the Fire. Butter a flat tray, and spread the mixture to cool off in the tray as per the picture below

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Once it is cooler, take small pieces and roll into little balls. You can cover them in chocolate sprinkles, or as we chose here, christmas candy sprinkles. Place them on mini cupcake paper covers

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… and to finish off the night.. Santa doesn’t need milk and Cookies, he Needs Wine and cookies

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