** Merry Christmas **
My Christmas Eve this year was again very peaceful and relaxing. Early in the evening, I had a nice chat with a friend of mine at a coffee shop in town. Then I came home and enjoyed this Christmas Eve dinner alone until… what time? I don’t remember exactly… But I'm sure it was past midnight when I finally went to bed.
The menu wasn’t too different from last year. I started with Freixenet Cordon Negro again, because I HAD TO watch tiny bubbles rising in the glass in the candle light. It is an important part of my Christmas ritual now. After the small (178 mL) bottle of this sparkling wine was finished, a very affordable white wine accompanied the dinner.
Canapes on Ritz crackers. Same idea as last year, but this time I had to learn a lesson. Since I didn’t feel like going through all the agonies again, I bought a small jar of chicken liver paste at the store. And I hated its taste! Never again… Also, I learned that I like smoked salmon better with rice rather than with crackers. (You’ll see what I made with leftover smoked salmon soon.) The mentaiko paste, which sounded so tempting when I read about it on the net, turned out to be too salty for me, so I mixed it with tofu-avocado dip later. Well, I’ll know better next year.
Shrimp & avocado salad and vegetable sticks. The celery sticks were good with tofu-avocado dip, but I liked them with mentaiko paste, too.
Now, this was something new this year -- Key West Chicken. The recipe is here. There was only one chicken breast in my fridge, so I HAD TO make this dish successfully if I didn’t want to have a Christmas dinner without a main dish. I read the recipe reviews more carefully than usual, and I was glad that I did, because that saved my chicken from being too salty. I doubled the amount of lime juice and honey (but not soy sauce), marinated the chicken for 6 hours, and had a success (I wouldn’t say a great success, but it was pretty good.)
My cookies this year: Gingerbread people, thumbprint cookies with cherry jam and one of my staples, matcha cookies.
But what I liked the best was this: Sablés au Citron à la Fleur de Sel… something I cannot even pronounce. ;P I wanted something with citrus flavor to balance out the flavors of other cookies, and this recipe looked ideal especially now that I have the famous Fleur de Sel. (Thanks, LPC!!) :D You know, the recipe is from Chocolate and Zucchini, and chika of She Who Eats tried it out and loved it. How could this fail? And the result was, of course -- GREAT!
These Christmas tree cookies were just something I whipped up. I mixed the leftover matcha cookie dough with plain cookie dough to make “marble” dough. With the icing, don’t they look like snow-covered forest? (BTW, what do you call these tiny silver bits? Argent?)
I baked two kinds of cakes for my Christmas dinner this year -- fruitcake and orange pound cake. The fruitcake wasn’t bad, but I didn't notice as much rum flavor as I had expected. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that the rum I used was a leftover from a long time ago. The orange pound cake was my last-minute addition: I just added grated orange rind and orange curacao to whatever pound cake recipe I found on the net. It made a good contrast with the fruitcake, I think, both color-wise and taste-wise.
I hope everyone had (or is having) a wonderful Christmas time. :D