Christmas Eve Crudite

tree

Christmas Eve is very simple in my family, because we are very lazy.  We never decorate the tree until Christmas Eve, so we don’t do a big dinner.  THere’s also usually a lot of wrapping, pie and cookie making and lots of drinking and singing along to a bevy of Christmas music (some good, and some not so good).

Anyway, Christmas Eve dinner is traditionally crudite, wings, and a cheese platter.  My grandmother orders them from the grocery store, and we munch while we wrap and decorate.  The added benefit of this is that after a giant breakfast Christmas morning, we snack until we eat dinner around 4 or 5.

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This year, we I made the trays.  I picked up wings and chicken tenders.  For the cheeses, we had munster, cheddar, brie, and pepper jack.  For crudite, mini sweet bell peppers, carrots, celery, tomatoes and English cucumber.  Toss out some crackers and a bowl of olives and you’re done.

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Lou was also kind enough to stop by my grandparent’s with Christmas cookies- chocolate chip meringues, Rice Krispie treats with peanut butter and pretzels, peanut butter blossoms, shortbread, popcorn balls with cranberries, pecan cranberry tarts and white chocolate cranberry chunk cookies- all homemade.

Panettone? Srsly?

Yesterday, in my many wanderings (tangent: what is about the holidays that makes people so rude?  I almost had to get out of the car and beat someone on multiple occasions), I was given instructions to pick up a panettone from somewhere.  My mother and her siblings spent 6-7 years in Bavaria, so our Christmas traditions skew towards the German, not so much the Italian.

She got me.  I picked up a cranberry panettone from Trader Joe’s and it is downstairs being turned into French toast as we speak.  Sweet.

I’ll be twittering Christmas breakfast and dinner prep here.  I’ll try and remember to tag, but if not, oh well.

things I would like for Christmas

I know why some people are so hard to shop for for Christmas/Festivus/whatever.  I don’t know about you, but I feel bad asking for anything even remotely expensive.  So, I usually end up with a bunch of giftcards and the like, which ruins the surprise of Christmas, but also means I don’t have to spend December 26th returning a lot of ugly crap.   With that in mind, here is my Christmas list:

1. Think Like a Chef, by Tom Colicchio: Because I am a Top Chef nerd, and have a teensy crush on Tom.  Also, either Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba, by Tom Gjelten or Bananas!: How the United Fruit Company Shaped the World, by Peter Chapman.

2. A gift certificate from Artisanal Cheese.

3. A new 13-inch 2GHz Macbook.  It’s a Macbook!  It’s environmentally friendly!

4. A case of Del Monte No Salt French Style Green Beans.  One of my favorite things in the world to do is eat these with a fork, straight out of the can, standing over the sink.  I can’t explain it, but it’s delicious.

5. Kerastase shampoo and conditioner.  I cannot justify paying more than $20 (combined) on shampoo and conditioner.  And frankly, I have a hard time justifying that.

6. A bottle or two of this.

7. New bag.  Mine is a bit too well loved falling apart. It’s only a matter of time before the bottom completely falls out, the lining has completely torn away and my pocket is broken.  I have a hard time giving it up though-  it was a birthday gift my senior year of college from my friends/fake sorority members (don’t ask), and I’ve stuffed my entire life in it since then.

8.  A pizza stone

9. Santa has still not seen fit to bring me a 5-quart Kitchenaid stand mixer, so until he does, I will continue doing slice and bake cookies.  (Santa- I would prefer clementine or lemongrass, but if you’d like to use my Costco card and go for Empire Red, I’m okay with that.)

10. Gift certificate to Kramers (preferably) or Amazon/Borders/Barnes and Noble so I can buy my first book club book.

I need to up the ante, I think

While perusing the Food section of my Google reader (see new link at the left), I came across Bon Appetit’s Blog Envy slideshow, courtesy of The Paupered Chef.  One of the things it includes is a recipe for Squash and Potato Gratin with Manchego cheese from Pinch My Salt.  Pinch My Salt is also responsible for one of the more amazing things I found on the interwebs: pumpkin cream cheese spread!

I feel so inadequate.

In other news, I’ve been kicking around the idea of not eating out for a month.  No takeout, nothing.  I might have to make an exception for Sunday brunch at Vino with ADM, as this has become something of a cherished tradition.  I imagine that it would significantly lower my food bill (and help me fit into my old jeans).

this week at the market

No pictures this time kids, and thanks to some serious drama at my abode, I wasn’t able to eat a lot of the food from last weekend

Things I have left:
– 2 lamb and feta patties
– majority of the feta
– little bit of yogurt (but it lives in the fridge at work for breakfast)
– about 1/4 lb mesclun, arugula, and spinach
– sundried tomato pasta and sweet potato ravioli
– pierogies
– new potatoes

Things I picked up this weekend
– pear-blueberry tart, almond croissant, and chocolate almond croissant (for my mom and grandparents)
– carrots (for my mom’s Louisiana Stewed Chicken)
– Smith Meadows farms basil garlic fettuccine
– Smith Meadows farms herbs de Provence ravioli

I ate the ravioli yesterday afternoon with some olive oil, fresh basil, and pepper (much to my grandmother’s chagrin- she wanted to know where the sauce was)

If you’d like to see what the market looked like, Ed at the Slow Cook has a great post with pictures.

this week at the farmers’ market

So I’m trying this new thing, where I go to the farmers’ market, and only buy enough food to feed me for a week. Not enough to feed my whole house. Not enough to begin freezing and packing away. Just enough so that I can have food for the week.

This weeks’ purchases:
Blue Ridge Dairy feta, smoked mozzarella, and Greek yogurt with honey
– new potatoes

– 1 lb of spinach, arugula, and mesclun (seen piled high in crates here…mmmm)
– half a dozen homemade goat cheese pierogies
Smith Meadows Farm sweet potato ravioli and fresh sundried tomato pasta
– 3 apples from Spring Valley Farm and Orchard
– butternut/hubbard/acorn squash soup with oranges and apples
– 1 lb. Virginia Lamb patties with feta
Bonaparte Breads chocolate almond croissant (for me) and apricot tart/almond croissant (for my mom/grandmother)
– 1 bunch of collards

– no broccoli, although it looked good

Not at all bad for a mid-winter/end of winter haul. And every bit of it locally produced.

The smoked mozz went into this recipe that my mom made for dinner at my grandparents’ Sunday night. The collards were for her too, to make for my grandfather.
Monday I had brunch at Creme (waaay better than the crappy ass birthday brunch I had there. And I’ve solved my egg dilemma, but more on that later), a late afternoon snack at Oyamel, and lamb patties and salad for dinner with my roommate.
Yesterday I had leftover dinner for lunch, and Stoney’s super grilled cheese with Ace, who made fun of me for eating grilled cheese with bacon and fries with a side of mayo. He did promise to come visit me when I have my first heart attack at 25 though.
Tonight, I’m off to VT’s for some sort of crazy German-wurst-fest and a hefty dose of college basketball, which led to the following e-mail exchange:
VT: we still on for dinner tonight?
me: yes, but I should remind you that it’s a double header- Carolina-NC State at 7 and Duke-Miami at 9
VT: um, you do remember i have a 46-inch HDTV, right?

Tomorrow I have an event for Greater DC Cares (free pizza and beer provided!) Seems like I’ve bought more than enough for the week, don’t you think? Guess I’ll have to spend the weekend eating to start with a clean slate at the market Sunday morning.

In other news, gansie and I will be attending a DC food blogger potluck next month. I promise a full and immediate report.

BTW- Is it “farmer’s” or “farmers'”? I always assumed that since there are several farmers, it’s a farmers’ market. But perhaps it’s a farmer’s market in the sense that the market is for individual farmers. Am I putting too much thought into this?

UPDATE: right after I posted this, I wandered over to DC Foodies, where they’re writing about…you guessed it- Blue Ridge Dairy’s smoked mozz.

UPDATE #2: Seems the venerable New York Times has written about Blue Ridge as well. Guess that’s what I get for being behind in my newspaper-food-section reading. Thanks to Mike at DC Foodies for the tip.