Thursday, 23 December 2010

In the Kitchen: Preparing a Holiday Feast

Preparing a meal for my family needs to be planned, as I consider what each member of the family can eat, as each has a limitation due to allergies or physical conditions.


My noche buena (eve before Christmas) menu last year turned out to be much liked in its simple and tasty combinations, but still healthy for everyone. I have given some of the recipes, below.

APPETIZERS:

RECIPE OF BRUSCHETTA, ITALIAN STYLE
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F).
2. In a bowl, combine and mix diced tomato, chopped basil and onion, a clove of garlic that is chopped finely or squeezed with a garlic press, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. In single layer, lay out the slices of baguette and bake for about 4-5 minutes.
5. Remove bread from oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes; for each slice of bread spoon over the tomato mixture, and lay on a large serving platter.
* In Italy, there was no parmesan cheese on the bruschetta we ordered. That is your option to add.


RECIPE: PASTA VERDE (for 4 people)
1. Add several cloves of chopped garlic to melted butter and vegetable oil until lightly browned in medium-low flame.
2. Add coarsely chopped 1 cup of pecans or any nut, and cook until nutty flavor is fragrant.
3. Turn off the flame. Add chopped basil (one bunch ) and toss until wilted.
4. Add 1/3 cup Kraft parmesan cheese and continue tossing.
5. Serve on a bed of raw 'cappelini zucchini' or warm whole-wheat pasta. Apportion one medium-size zucchini per person; or half a pound of wheat pasta.
* To make the zucchini cappelini, use the melon grater (pangkayod ng melon).
6. Sprinkle grated, fresh parmesan cheese before serving.

MAIN COURSES:

RECIPE: LEBANESE RICE
1. Cook 2 cups of brown rice, set aside
2. Cook a lb. of ground meat: saute chopped onions in a pan, add meat, some water, salt and pepper to taste and cook slowly for about 45 minutes to an hour.
3. Cut up leftover chicken meat.
4. Roast 1/4 c. pine nuts. Slivered almonds may be used in place of pine nuts.
ASSEMBLY:
1. In a big skillet, saute 1 chopped, white onion.
2. Add cooked rice, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle cinnamon powder generously, and mix.
3. Mix in cooked ground meat, half of the cooked chicken chunks. Transfer to a serving dish.
4. Add the rest of the chicken meat on top and the pine nuts.


Baked Capon-Chicken

SIDE DISHES:

Pickled olives

Indian Potato recipe with fennel seeds, cumin, curry; tomato salad; chunky guacamole

Dessert was Vanilla ice cream with fresh berries in Cassis liquor.

For this year's Christmas' meal planning, I have to replan as there were ingredients not available at the super market. Tentative ly, here is my menu for our Christmas-day celebration.
STARTER:

Squash soup with potatoes, sweet potato, carrots, and garnish with parsley
* OPTIONAL: Parmesan cheese sprinkled on the soup

SIDES DISHES:

Christmas Salad with smoked salmon, caramelized onion rings, pomegranate, capers with an apple-cider-vinegar/seeded mustard (moutarde a l'ancienne) salad dressing


RECIPE: LENTILLE SALADE
Boil 1/2 lb. of green lentils for 20 minutes (or until aldente, not too soft) good for 4-6 people as a side dish. There is no need to soak overnight. Cool with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
BALSAMIC SALAD DRESSING:
1. Into a bowl - measure 3 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar
a. Dissolve 1 tsp of salt in vinegar
b. Sprinkle with ground pepper or use pepper mill
c. Add 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
d. Sprinkle with Herbes des Provence ( thyme, basil, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, sage) or Italian seasoning.
2. Mix everything
3. Slowly blend in 3 tbsp of olive oil, while whisking to finish your vinaigrette
4. To the vinaigrette
a. add one chopped, echalotte (or small red onion), one clove of chopped or pressed garlic
b. add 1/4 c. or half a bunch of parsley or coriander - washed and chopped. Mix lightly with a fork .
5. Blend in cooked lentils into the bowl with the completed salad dressing.
a. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of Kraft Parmesan cheese - blend/mix with a fork (maybe served warm or cold)
* Optional: To be added right before serving: sprinkle with crispy bacon bits

MAIN COURSES:
Bacalao, Italian Style
Parmesan Chicken
DESSERT:
A killer fruit-cake (calorie wise) that was given to me!

I need to get back to the kitchen now.

May you have a most enjoyable time celebrating Christmas and the new year, with the good company of your family and friends, while savoring your holiday feast.

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