In response to a call from one’s mother on Christmas Eve morning saying that the restaurant she wanted to eat out at on Christmas Day was closed, most people would have offered to help find a suitable restaurant that was open. If you’re wondering what kind of freak would jump at the opportunity and offer to cook Christmas dinner—well, that’s me.
Rather than dreading the last-minute shopping trip to the grocery store and having to come up with a holiday menu, I immediately starting thinking of all the delicious seasonal dishes I could cook and started my grocery list. I could see the menu building in my mind, and with my mom footing the bill, I planned to go to Price Chopper as soon as I got out of work to see what I could scrounge up in the afternoon of Christmas Eve.
Within a half hour I had my menu planned. For starters, while we waited from the entrée to roast in the oven, I plan on putting out creamy camembert, apple-smoked gouda, crackers, and a baguette, with some blackberries on the side.
The pinnacle of the meal will be roasted Cornish game hens, which I just learned to cook recently. I flavor them to perfection by rubbing the hens with olive oil, salt, and pepper, lightly browning the skin, and stuffing the cavity with a slice of lemon and fresh rosemary. Then I roast them in the oven with garlic cloves. About half-way through cooking I pour a mixture of white wine and chicken broth over the hens and let the birds soak in the delicious liquids. After the hens are cooked, the remaining liquid is taken and boiled for a few minutes until it thickens into a sauce. For the vegetarian entrée, I decided to use the same cooking method as with the hen but with vegetarian chicken cutlets. I’ve made the Cornish game hens before and they are delicious, but I’ve never tried the vegetarian version before, so we’ll see how it comes out tomorrow night!
The sides for the meal include red potatoes, green beans and carrots. The red potatoes will be roasted with the skins on and simply seasoned with salt and pepper. The green beans will be steamed and topped with a light sauce made with olive oil, salt, white wine vinegar, and egg yolk. And the carrots will be made into a carrot pudding. I’ve never made or eaten carrot pudding before, but I was inspired by the book I’m currently reading called Immoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas, by John Baxter. In the book, John Baxter, who is originally from Australia, has to cook Christmas dinner for his French family, who he is related to by his marriage to a Parisian woman. As he is preparing dinner he realizes he needs to come up with a vegetable dish for one of his toothless relatives. After finding some carrots in the fridge, he purees the carrots with flour, egg, salt, pepper, cinnamon, cumin, and cottage cheese, and then places it in the oven to bake. It sounds simple and tasty enough, and I’ve got most of the ingredients in my kitchen, so I’ll give it a go and see if it’s any good. Luckily, if it doesn’t taste great we’ll have plenty of other food for dinner.
The dessert will be a pear tart with goat cheese and port, which I found online compliments of Emeril Lagasse. This recipe sounds absolutely delicious and the perfect way to end the meal. I plan on pairing it with a little celebratory champagne.
Even though I had to rush to put the menu together and get everything prepared, I’m happy to be able to cook for my family tomorrow night. If there’s one gift that I’m always willing to give, it’s the gift of food. I’ll be sure to post some pictures of the dinner sometime after Christmas.
Merry Christmas Eve everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday filled with friends, family, and food!