We hosted Christmas this year (that post is coming shortly), but I wanted to make a nice dinner for Christmas Eve as well. The menu was based mostly on my husband’s suggestions, and it included a few things I hadn’t made before, so it was a lot of fun to search for recipes and think up different things to put together.
Arugula Salad with Prosciutto, Tomatoes, Burrata and Honey-Lemon Dressing
I don’t like salads. However, I’ve come to the reluctant realization that other people do and want them with their dinners. In which case, I’ve made this salad with things that I love and therefore it didn’t turn out too…salad-y (good in my mind, maybe not in others’).
I first had burrata in NYC many years ago (I don’t remember which restaurant) and instantly fell in love. Burrata is mozzarella filled with cream(y goodness) and is absolutely delicious. The most difficult part of this salad is the dressing (i.e., it’s very easy to make), which I made by combining a 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1.5 tbsp of lemon juice, 2 tbsp honey, chopped up thyme leaves from a a few sprigs, and added a few dashes of freshly ground pepper. It separates when it sits, so you have to shake it up before each use – I’ll need to find a way to emulsify it next time.
Like most things, this is best topped with a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt for a burst of salt flavor.
My husband had asked for lasagna for Thanksgiving, but we decided that it would be too much food with the turkey and all of the other sides, so postponed it to Christmas Eve instead. This is actually my first lasagna, and I definitely learned a lot.
For one, there is such thing as a lasagna pan, which is apparently larger and twice as deep as any baking dish I own, so I ended up with a lot of leftover lasagna sheets and had to make the fillings really thick to use up as much as I could. This also means a “normal” size lasagna would feed a fairly large dinner party as the one I ended up making in my 9×13 dish fed 4 people as the main course with plenty of leftovers.
Recipe coming soon in a different post.
Perhaps one of my favorite appetizers/side dishes/accompaniments/whatever you want to call it is garlic bread. I am obsessed with garlic, so if you combine it with the goodness of bread and butter, it makes sense that I love it.
This recipe is from the The Food Lab cookbook, so I won’t reproduce it here, but I don’t think you’ll be surprised at the combination of French bread, butter, and garlic.
This was another request by my husband and another dish I’ve never made before so I went hunting for a recipe. I ended up adapting Miss Myrna’s Banana Pudding recipe to fit my 8×8 baking dish. I made 3 layers of wafers and sliced bananas instead of 2 and ended up using only 4 bananas.
I thought it was really cool that this dish didn’t use any instant pudding mix like most other recipes I found do. I’d never made pudding before and it’s surprisingly easy to do! I used a little less than 1/2 cup of sugar (instead of the 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp the recipe calls for). It was probably still a touch too sweet for me (I’m also weird and think things are too sweet whereas other people find them to be great).
Another – much larger – adaptation that I made was that I didn’t make the meringue topping. My husband really wanted to use Cool Whip, which ended up being buy-one-get-one-free at the store…and then we all forget to use it. After the dish sit in the fridge overnight (great dish for planning for a busy dinner party as you need to make it ahead anyway), the cookies were the perfect texture to eat a big ol’ scoop of it for dessert. Next time I make this, I will try making my own wafers/cookies.