Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Dinner

Hosting Christmas for my large extended family has been my pleasure and joy for nearly two decades. Often the festivities begin early in the morning with family members arriving, one after the other, each weighed down with offerings of gifts and food.  Soon the coffee is brewed and poured, the Danish is cut and served, and a frenzy of gift opening commences. (This was especially true when the kids were very young.)  After the last present is opened, my husband Asaf and his team of reluctant young workers madly dash about cleaning up all the paper and ribbon, sorting and stacking the gifts, and gathering all the empty coffee cups, as my mom, my two sisters, my brother-in-law Tony (chef extraordinaire and expert with a knife), and I start covering the large table in the dining area with an ample spread of cold cuts, rolls, toppings, and condiments, as well as a variety of salads, pickled and raw vegetables, chips, dips, and drinks.  Notably, during this hectic period, my father likes to stand right in the middle of this kitchen chaos, silently letting us know that he is eager for his turkey sandwich and coleslaw.  (He's just going to have to wait a few minutes -- we are going as fast as we can!)

Lunch is then followed by gift inspection and assembly (last year a gigantic remote-controlled flying clown-fish dominated my living room all day long!), games, chatter, and free flowing champagne for some, and a bit of napping for others.  Capping off the afternoon with a white elephant exchange is a family tradition that always results in a lot of laughter and often some tears -- particularly when someone steals your awesome Ghirardelli assorted hot cocoa beverage kit, and in its place you are left with a poem about your mother's feet!

So, while our Christmas dinner is always festive family meal, it is marked by simplicity out of necessity.  A very good cut of meat that needs little attention while roasting in the oven, surrounded by a few simple sides, most of which can easily be prepared the night before, works well for us.  Here's what we have planned for this year.

Christmas Dinner Menu - 2013

Baby Romaine Lettuce Salad with Blue Cheese and Radish
Herb Roasted Leg of Lamb with Pan Gravy
Honey-Glazed Chicken Drumettes
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Olive Oil Green Beans
Tomatoes with Fresh Mint
Burgundy Mushrooms  

Kir Royale
Sparkling Cider
Sparkling Water

Chocolate Truffles
Fresh Strawberries
Homemade Cookies Galore

Christmas Spiced Coffee
Eggnog with Fresh Whipped Cream

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