Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas plans aplenty

Tomorrow afternoon, I fly out of Hartford – and six hour later, I will be home in Texas. Now, I’m sure I have made many snarky comments about Texas and how much I despised living there – all of which remain true. However, a visit now and then to spend time with my family (and a trip to Central Market or two) is something to look forward too.
Naturally, a big part of our family gatherings involve food – well, yeah, I’m involved, so what else would you expect? My dad and I spent some time on the phone planning the big holiday menus. I always make Christmas Eve dinner, while Christmas day is a joint effort – my mom always does some kind of delicious breakfast casserole, and then dad and I do dinner. Often, actually, we end up with waaaay too much food, having two big meals in a row like that. So this year, I though, how can we cut back on the amount of leftovers? At the same time, coincidentally, I caught a special on the Cooking Channel about the traditional Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes, always served Christmas Eve. Inspiration struck!
So, I decided to do a seafood dinner for Christmas Eve. We traditionally had shrimp cocktail that night in my house, so it fits. I’m planning on that, plus a main course – probably pasta with scallops – and steamers or mussels, depending on what’s fresh at Central Market (I also had to give a brief shout-out to what a fab day Friday is going to be – shopping with my dad and bro in Dallas, home of Northpark Mall [amazing], followed by a trip to Central market).
The Christmas day, we’ll have a scrumptious breakfast, as I mentioned. Right not, dinner is shaping up to consist of a crown pork roast (my idea), stuffed with an herbs de Provence stuffing and then rubbed with an herbs de Provence rub, along with scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole, some kind of sweet potato dish, and probably another veggie, plus pumpkin pie for dessert. Yup, still gonna have a lot of leftovers.
I haven’t even gotten into the myriad of sweets that will be in the house over the next week. I made sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, and cherry-almond snowballs, as well as white chocolate bark and chex mix (plus some homemade dog biscuits, but those are less yummy). My brother made our traditional thin mint cookies – with help, I suspect – and I believe mom is making my favorite coconut macaroons. Then my dad always makes a puffed rice candy that’s yummy, and I’ve promised to make cream puffs for the clan. My teeth hurt just thinking about it all…in a good way.
Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned New Year’s Eve dinner. We’re not usually together for this holiday, so this year will be special. I think there’s beef on the menu, per my brother’s request, along with béarnaise sauce. Yup. Yum.
Anyway, I digress. Happy holidays to all, whatever it is you celebrate in your family. I’ll check back in once I’ve made my return to Massachusetts. Merry Christmas!

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