Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Dinner

This year we hosted Christmas dinner for the three of us, my mom and brother, and B's parents. It was basically the first time we had hosted a holiday meal. It was really fun, but we definitely could have done better with our planning. We never accounted for extra time or snafus and B's all-day migraine on Christmas day threw a huge wrench in our preparations. Luckily I was able to give my mom a list of things to do while we were out visiting other relatives, but it would have been FAR less stressful and more relaxed had I started the work one day sooner. Either way, the meal and the company were so wonderful and it was every bit as relaxing and delicious as we had hoped.

Even though it wasn't a ton of food, we decided to serve the meal in courses. Your much-labored-over food is more enjoyed that way and there's not that sit-down-and-inhale-everything-in-front-of-you vibe that can easily happen during big dinners.

These are the adorable place card holders that I bought in the dollar section at Target two years ago. I loved them SO MUCH that it took great amounts of will power to limit my purchase to a reasonable number. I mean, ONE DAY I might host a dinner for 24 people, right? I convinced myself that I wouldn't and kept it down to only 8 ornaments.

Also, it's SUPER fun to watch your guests sit down and get three sips and two sentences into their conversation and say "Why does that say 'Mark?' Oh... wait... there's assigned seats?! Oops... where am I??"

This was the first course, Ina Garten's Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup from her Barefoot at Home cookbook. So delicious! The only change I made was using an immersion blender because I prefer the soup creamy rather than chunky.

This was followed up by the one course I forgot to take a picture of, the salad. It was a mixed green salad (Red Leaf Lettuce & Escarole) topped with Gorgonzola, pralines, and bacon. Then I made a homemade vinaigrette and served it on the side. No recipe, just a salad I created.

This was the main course. B and I tend to work backwards when it comes to recipes. We take inspiration from something we see or think of something we want, then type it into the Food Network search engine and see what comes up. Then we usually combine that recipe with whatever we have in our heads and come up with a dish. It's a pretty loosey goosey way to approach things, but it works for us. The jumping off recipes for these were Bacon & Herb Wrapped Pork Tenderloin & Roasted Green Beans with Shallots & Hazelnuts. Everything was great except that the green beans were REALLY al dente - oops!

This is warm homemade applesauce that I made in the fall and, thanks to a tip from my uncle, froze to serve at Christmas dinner.

This is my totally invented dessert. I made pizzelles (a flat crispy Italian cookie) the week before Christmas, so I took a few of them and made them into dessert cups for our dinner. Then I roasted fresh pears and cranberries with a touch of brown sugar and served those in the pizzelle. It's topped with homemade whipped cream (not very sweet) and a drizzle of caramel. The gamble paid off, they were awesome!


Leslie said...

Nice! I LOVE hosting dinners. Holidays, especially. It looks like you did a lovely job. I would LOVE that dessert recipe because it sounds amazing!!
Happy New Year, honey!

die Frau said...

Very creative dessert, lady! And holidays aren't complete without the SNAFUs, of course. :-)

Happy New Year!

Ms. Madore said...

Yes, you have to include that pizzelles recipe somewhere on here so that I can try it post-February:)

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