Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Feasts

I'm making a pretty simple meal for Christmas this year. It's just us this year. We are having friends over for New Years Eve, and I'll do it up big for that evening.

We do have a tradition of "Christmas Crackers" - J indulges me by wearing her paper crown.

We don't have much of a tradition for what to serve Christmas Eve -- most years I do a rack of lamb and some sort of potatoes. We seem to be having lamb quite a bit recently, so I suggested we do steaks this year. J was in agreement, so steaks it was. . Here's the menu for tonight:

Shrimp Cocktail

These shrimp are absolutely huge -- I think 6 to the pound! I cut a lemon in a zig-zag pattern, put it in a decorative martini glass, put a dollop of cocktail sauce in it (extra horseradish for me!) and then position the shrimp. Doesn't that look nice?

Caesar Salad
This is J's favorite salad. I made the salad dressing myself in the food processor -- it is essentially a mayonnaise with anchovies and dijon mustard. Enjoy the recipe at the bottom.

Porterhouse Steak. Baked Potatoes. Asparagus
This part of the menu couldn't have been easier -- pan broiled steaks, baked potatoes, and asparagus. It seems like some kind of miracle that we can have asparagus in the middle of winter!
New York Style Cheesecake

The Cat keeps my chair warm between courses!
Normally I would have gone for Wegman's Carrot Cake, but they kind of looked strange, like perhaps they had brought in people to help frost them. They were in the shape of the London Gherkin. It's always good to have a "Plan B" so I had discussed options with J, and cheesecake it was!

Tomorrow, Christmas day, we'll cook a chicken on the rotisserie, stuffed with sage and thyme. That rotisserie makes the best chicken ever! The skin is nice and crisp, and the meat is is ultra juicy. No basting necessary.

Here's hoping you are eating as well as we are!!

Caesar Salad Dressing

3/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves
4 anchovy fillets
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Dijon style mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 large egg yolks from coddled eggs

1. To coddle the eggs:
Put eggs in a small saucepan with water to cover. Bring the water to a boil, turn off heat and let the eggs sit for no more than one minute. Crack the eggs and save the yolks to a small dish. Set aside. Discard the whites and shells.

2. Place the garlic, eggs, anchovy, lemon juice, salt and pepper in the bowl of the food processor.  Pulse until well combined, scrapping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

3. With the processor running, pour the oil in a slow thin stream into the feed tube. The mixture will begin to emulsify, making a dressing about the thickness of mayonnaise. This will only take as long as you need to pour in the oil. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

This makes about 1 cup of dressing. It will last about a week in the fridge.

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