Thursday, December 28, 2017

Christmas Eve, Italian Style

Christmas Eve is traditionally our designated holiday to host, but with the end of this year being so busy for us, we were on the fence. As it is my favorite holiday meal of all time, I found that I was quite saddened by the idea of not being in the kitchen making a big fish feast, in keeping with the custom of so many (mainly southern) Italian and Italian American households. While I resolved that it would be too hectic to make seven fishes as normal, I was still very excited to choose two basic dishes that could be served to our small group of guests. Both dishes featured below can be made in less than 20 minutes once prep is done. 

First, the appetizer: Calamari alla Luciana (Squid Neapolitan Style) 

Calamari alla Luciana, Photo: NK - Recipe HERE 
and then the main, Monkfish Piccata

Monkfish Piccata, Photo: NK - Recipe HERE
 (Note: we omitted the artichokes and kale and served spinach instead) 

Do click through some of our more involved (but never difficult or unduly time consuming) Feast of the Seven Fishes menus below, but I hope today's post gives you some great ideas for your next fish-driven dinner party or family meal. 

For Dessert: Using the selection of Christmas Cookies we'd already baked and serving them alongside high quality store bought Gelato was a fas solution. 

I've featured all the recipe to links to this year's Christmas Cookie Assortment below. Five varieties to choose from may sound daunting, but the baking was made easy and achievable by spreading it out over a few days (freezing some of those made in advance helped us immeasurably). The key is also to choose easy, foolproof cookie recipes, sticking to those that require minimal prep, ideally less than 15 minutes.

Christmas Cookie Assortment, Photo: NK

Cookie Assortment, clockwise from the top:

Ina Garten's Shortbread Jam Thumbprints
Christmas Morning Biscotti
Arrowroot Cookies with Cinnamon
Pignoli Cookies 
Spiced Italian Pecan Meringues 

I hope you enjoy and that the holiday season brought happiness and peace to your home. 
We look forward to returning to our usual menu program next Christmas Eve! 

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