Oh hello there. I hope you all had a blessed and beautiful Christmas. I worked myself into my usual holidaze, and have now spent the rest of the week curled up in a fetal ball, eating leftovers and playing computer games.
If I do say so myself, it was the best Feast of the Seven Fishes yet! Our stalwart little band of foodie friends (eight grownups and eight kids) gathered at our house for the sixth Christmas Eve in a row for a fantasia of seafood. The whole meal has gotten so much easier now, partly because I now know the rhythm of the meal, and partly because the children are now old enough to entertain themselves and leave us alone! And also because this group of friends have become so dear to us and to each other that it really feels like family. And they're damned good eaters, I can feed them anything and they'll give it a try.
This year's menu...
Salmon Tartare - a repeat from last year's menu because...well, because I loved it. And I'm the one eating the leftovers.
Fried Calamari - one of Jude's favorite foods, and the first time I've ever made it myself. Mommy always made me slightly frightened to attempt it, she would always say in a hushed, spooky voice "be careful, it can get rubbery!" But I gave it a go, and they gobbled up every single bite.
Salad Course -
Shrimp and Scallop Tricolore Salad - I made up this name, it was basically just shrimp and scallops with these amazing giant caper berries and lemon vinaigrette over a bed of radicchio, endive and arugula.
Octupus Carpaccio - Okay, this was the big gamble of the evening, and turned out to be the big success. I found this YouTube video of an Italian lady making this, and I thought it was just so wacky that I had to give it a try. Basically, I bought this dude...
...boiled him, cut him up, then stuffed him into a plastic water bottle into which I'd cut drainage holes, smashed him down in as much as I could, then weighted it down with a can of tomatoes and stuck him in the refrigerator. Seven hours later, he came out congealed into a carpaccio, and when I sliced it thin, he resembled salami. I then made a salad of shaved fennel, arugula and an orange vinaigrette and here he is...
Pasta Course -
Linguini Frutti di Mare - the usual. This year the frutti were baccalla (salt cod, soaked for two days), crab, mussels and clams.
Seared Albacore over a bed of Roasted Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes - damn, I love tuna.
I wish I'd seared it for about 10 seconds less per side, but by then, I'd had a bit of bourbon myself, and may have miscounted the time. It tasted good anyway.
Fillet of Sole Tapenade - basically, sole with an olive tapenade on top.
Panettone Trifle - Italian panettone (Christmas bread) with chocolate mousse, coffee liqueur and whipped cream. Wheeeee....
This year, instead of having my usual signature cocktail (which has, in the past, been the source of a few problems which involved over-indulging - folks having to take naps between courses or hanging their head in the toilet, which leads to uncomfortable parenting on Christmas Day) I asked everybody to bring a bottle of good sipping bourbon or rye. And boy did they do well! The sipping made for a very mellow evening.
The children, by the way, despite raiding our appetizers and eating about half of the fried calamari, were banished for the rest of the meal and ate fish sticks and pasta in their own room. They seemed satisfied. For now.
On Christmas morning, Santa came early (the kid made out like a bandit!), and then Jude and I (Jimmy the lapsed Catholic was stiiiiiiiill sleeping) went to mass where he altar served...
Then, we spent the rest of the day lying on the couch, and for dinner we ordered take out Chinese and watched the Alistair Sims version of Scrooge.
Best Christmas Day ever.
And yesterday, to celebrate the first day of Kwanzaa, I made my friend Marguerite's (she's from the Ivory Coast) lentil recipe, which was FAB!
So basically, we just ate and ate and ate and ate. I have no clothes that still fit me. I need to purchase a muu-muu. Or a sack. Maybe that's what I need, just a big sack to wear to cover my big ole belly. It's sad. But I enjoyed it!f
Oh, and if anybody wants any of these recipes, let me know and I'll email them to you. I'm thinking of putting together a Feast of the Seven Fishes Cookbook. What do y'all think?
What did you do for Christmas? Write your post and link it in the Linky below! And be sure and check out Ginny Marie and the other Christmas Recap spinners!
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