I’m in a semi-catatonic state today after several days of festivities (read: overeating and drinking). Aside from a few must-do things, I’ve had little oomph to do anything much more than tinker on my laptop so I made a few photo mosaics to share some of the special moments from this year’s Christmas holiday. Pictured here is the all-crystal tree in the lobby of the Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach. I started the holiday season with a fabulous tasting dinner and wine pairing at Scott Conant’s ‘Scarpetta’ restaurant in the Fountainebleau. That dinner helped shape our Christmas Day menu — as did my recent trip to SF for the FoodBuzz Festival. Come see some merry photo mosaics…
Scenes from the Annual Family Christmas Show
The Holiday Boat Parade + Meatball Party
I posted about this party in detail for December’s 24, 24, 24 sponsored by FoodBuzz.
Christmas Eve began with cocktails and many tasty pickies like baked clams, stuffed mushrooms, hummus-filled cucumber cups, and stuffed mini potatoes + +. The sit-down dinner started with tomato caprese salad, followed by stuffed mini artichokes, shrimp fra diavolo, crabmeat cannelloni, baked ziti, and tossed salad. It ended with home-made biscotti, other Christmas cookies, fruits and candies, and gingerbread-decorating for the kids. To accommodate 21 people, our table zig-zagged through 2 rooms like the Outstanding in the Field communal table at the FoodBuzz Awards dinner.
I mentioned a couple of recent food experiences helped shape our Christmas Day menu this year and Jim of Our Family Food Fight made both dishes. For a first course, we had Scott Conant’s Creamy Polenta with Truffled Mushroom Fricasse. Jim not only matched my experience at Scarpetta, he also one-upped Conant and made a beet reduction for a few who don’t eat mushrooms — or people like me who wanted to try both. This recipe makes the most delicious and silky polenta you’ll ever taste. The second inspiration was the stuffed porchetta roast which came from the RoliRoti sandwich I tasted when I was at the FoodBuzz Festival in early November. Jim’s execution was p-e-r-f-e-c-t-i-o-n. He followed Gennaro’s technique (see links below); however, Jim ordered kubota pork belly (“the kobe beef of pork”) and it did not have anywhere near the shrinkage we were warned about so we ended up with twice as much meat as needed. This, however, is not a bad thing. I know from personal experience it makes a great sandwich. For side dishes, I made a pumpkin risotto, string beans with romesco sauce and a third dish I forgot in the oven (which may be the subject of a future post). Desserts included more home-made biscotti and Italian wheat-ricotta pies.
I would like to say that I’ll never eat like this again…but the truth is the aroma from the roast I have in the oven for tomorrow’s lunch is starting to waft and, believe it or not, I’m starting to get hungry! Yes, they’re all coming back for lunch and a holiday performance in our community theater.
But…after that, folks, it’s going to be simple meals and less wine (for a while).
Hope your holidays were as ‘satisfying’ as mine!
You-Tube videos on making stuffed porchetta
A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!
I've always been a culinary improvisor which means I get my kicks out of recipe development. In the FOODalogue kitchen each meal is an adventure and the journey is as exciting as the destination. My favorite kitchen tools are imagination and intuition. I rarely look at a recipe, not even my own!
On these pages, I suggest food pairings and techniques to be experimented with...in your own kitchen...to your own spice levels...and to your preferred portion sizes.