Thursday, December 29, 2011
Christmas Eve Eats and Treats
Random Meals: December 24
I don’t get many opportunities to cook for my family, since they live in St. Louis and all. Christmas Eve was the best chance to do it, so I started off with an early dinner for my mom, sister, and nieces before they went to a late afternoon holiday service at the local UU church. That meal consisted of chicken parmesan, with some adjustments for the lactose-intolerant kids, and artichoke gratinata. It didn’t take long to prepare, and the family enjoyed the food.
As they were off at the service, I prepared some snacks for later in the evening, as friends and cousins were on their way for Xmas Eve presents. I chose three recipes from this appetizer-based cookbook as follows:
Tortilla cones with smoked salmon and soft cheese (serving for 8):
½ cup soft white cheese (used goat cheese)
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
juice of 1 lemon
1 small red onion (used ½ of a not-so-small red onion)
1 tbsp drained capers
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
4 ounces sliced smoke salmon
8 small wheat flour tortillas
salt and pepper to taste
Basics: Mixed cheese, dill, salt, pepper, and some lemon juice in a bowl. Mixed onion, capers, olive oil, remainder of lemon juice, and parsley in separate bowl. Cut salmon into short, thin strips and added to onion bowl. Spread cheese mixture on tortillas, topped with salmon mixture, and rolled, securing with toothpicks.
These were very tasty and easy to make early. The dill, onion, and capers gave it a rather strong flavor, which was a bit too much for my younger niece. Overall, though, it was a good snack to present for those wanting more than an appetizer bite.
Mini sausage rolls (halved the recipe to make approximately 24 pieces):
1 tbsp butter
½ chopped onion
6 ounces sausage (used sage-flavored pork sausage)
1 tbsp mixed herbs (used oregano, thyme, tarragon, and dill)
6 ounces thawed puff pastry
6 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 lightly beaten egg
salt and pepper to taste
Basics: Melted butter in frying pan, added onion until softened. Combined cooled onion with sausage and herbs in mixing bowl, and seasoned with salt and pepper. Rolled puff pastry on lightly floured surface, cut into three strips. Placed roll of sausage meat on each pastry, leaving room on both sides. Sprinkled with parmesan, brushed one edge of each pastry strip with beaten egg, and rolled over the sausage to enclose. Placed seam side down on baking sheet, brushed tops with rest of beaten egg, sliced into 1-inch pieces, and cooked in oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.
These were delicious! As a friend pointed out, they tasted a bit like small White Castle bites, likely because of the onion, and I couldn’t disagree. They were quite yummy and a hit with everyone who tried them. These could be served warm or at room temperature and make for a perfect party appetizer.
Mini baked potatoes (makes 20):
20 small new potatoes
4 tbsp vegetable oil
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup bleu cheese (used feta due to lactose-intolerant guests)
2 tbsp chopped chives (used chopped bacon instead)
Basics: Washed potatoes, tossed in oil and then sea salt. Spread on baking sheet, cooked in oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Combined feta, sour cream, and bacon in a bowl. Cut crosses in top of cooked potatoes, pressed with fingers to open potatoes, and pushed spoonful of mixture in each potato.
Meh. Some people liked them, others found them lacking in flavor. I attribute some of that to substituting feta for bleu cheese, the latter of which would have provided more flavor and more of a kick. Also, I could’ve added more bacon, as we did when we re-warmed them for a snack the next day, and that helped.