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December 18, 2007


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JoP in Omaha

Awesome idea, MS. I wish I lived in Cleveland so I could play.

This will show you how much I need cooking lessons....lots of 'em! I began trying to learn cook only a year ago, having been inspired by Ruhlman's books that I discovered by accident. It's been a wonderful year of culinary adventures. I achieved some successes and more failures that really weren't failures because I learned things about how I went wrong. For the holiday I'm going to try roasting butterflied cornish hens for the first time. I haven't yet figured out what to do re: a glaze or sauce, nor do I know what the sides will be. But I'm having fun exploring the possibilities.

Happy holiday to all.


I'm also bemoaning the fact that I'm not in Clevland either!!! Think it's too much to fly in for a cooking class? :)

I'm going to try my hand at Tierducken this year, with the pan juices as the gravy. Sides will be smashed garlic potatoes and haricort verdes. Dessert will be assorted cheeses (haven't decided on the specifics there yet) to be followed by an assortment of holiday cookies (raspberry bars and chocolate dipped peanut butter balls)


Damn! I've never wanted to live in Cleveland so much in my entire life.

Mike C

Oh, what a feast I have planned. As with most of my holiday cooking it borrows quite a bit from the tastes of my youth.

I must start with saurkraut balls, a fifty year old recipe featuring ham, pork and corned beef ground and cooked with kraut, dry mustard, parsley and other ingredients and bathed in flour, egg, bread crumbs and deep fried to a shimmering brown. Thick dipping mustard optional.

For my saurkraut loathing inlaws I'll make goat cheese crostini dressed with grape tomatoes, and a sharp cheddar cheese/garlic/jalepeno dip to keep them out of the kitchen and in front of the TV.

The sit down portion starts with a veal meatball wedding soup and a salad consisting of leafy greens, candied pecans, crisp pears, crisp, smoky bacon, and thin sliced red onion.

The main meal consists of proscioutto stuffed pork tenderloin, browned and roasted, with the drippings used to make a sauce with a nice dry white wine and porcini mushrooms. Golden crisp latkes with a sour cream and chive side, and of course homemade applesauce-slightly chunky granny smiths lightly boiled with butter and fresh nutmeg. To fill the plate I'll add a quickly sauteed zucchini, red peppers, asparagus, and yellow squash medley with a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Dessert, you ask? Apple/pear crumble, a walnut torte, and raspberry creme brulee (the kids favorite) end the meal.

That's Christmas eve. Christmas ia a whole 'nother deal!


Well, I host Thanksgiving, not Christmas--that's at my mom's house. And I'm in Connecticut--so Cleveland's a bit far. SIGH. But I'm bringing homemade pierogi and TONS of homemade cookies, both of which will make my dad happy. Chef, how about you make this an annual thing and I can convince everyone to truck the hour north to my house NEXT Christmas? :)


Well, I host Thanksgiving, not Christmas--that's at my mom's house. And I'm in Connecticut--so Cleveland's a bit far. SIGH. But I'm bringing homemade pierogi and TONS of homemade cookies, both of which will make my dad happy. Chef, how about you make this an annual thing and I can convince everyone to truck the hour north to my house NEXT Christmas? :)


As much as I like the idea of being a great cook - I'm not, but I'd like to work on it. My Christmas menu has to stay simple:
Beef tenderloin with optional Gorgonzola crumbles, lobster tail, snow peas and carrots. The potatoes will be roasted and sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese and chives. My sister is bringing dessert so I don't know what that will be, but I'm hoping for an apple crumble pie. Since my mom is not big on desserts there will be a cheese plate for her. A selection of cheddar, blue cheese, dates, brie, etc.


I have a great post, but for some strange reason, the spam filter keeps bouncing it, and there's no alternate way to submit entries. Oh well, 2 hours wasted.


Christmas Eve is spent at my in-laws house for a formal sit-down dinner. We start by breaking Oplatek...giving thanks for the previous year and wishing everyone peace and joy for the following year. The tables are covered with 2-3 different kinds of fish, cheese, potato and kraut pierogis (from St. Josephat's), paska bread, etc, etc!

After dinner we all sit around the dining room and sing Christmas carols while hitting the dessert table covered in cookies, pecan pie, nut and poppyseed rolls & kolachki. Later in the evening is when the kielbasa comes out of the oven and it's time to "snack". We end up laughing at each other as our eyes water from too much horseradish.

Besides some cookies the only thing I usually cook is the kielbasa. We make it every Christmas and Easter. This year's was made just last week.

On the first day we pick up the meat and casings from the West Side Market. Next, grind the pork and veal and add garlic, salt, water and pepper. Then we knead the mixture for about 30 minutes. The next night we stuff the sausage making 2-3lb rings - we eat a few on Christmas Eve and give the rest away.


Ok, here's my entry: {http://www.ibdof.com/viewtopic.php?p=1834370&highlight=holiday+feast#1834370}

I tried to post it here, but the spam filter kept bouncing it.




For the link above, scroll down to my post made today, at 6:09 pm EST.


I've taken over the reigns of cooking Christmas Eve for my husband's Italian family. My Mother-in-law is getting on in years, and I've stepped up to the plate. I do a modern twist on the Feast of the 7 Fishes.

We start off with salmon that has marinated in a rum and brown sugar mixture - smoked on the grill with apple wood. I don't mask it with onions or capers - I'm lucky to get it plated and on the table before it's gone. Next, it's some shrimp tossed with old bay and then steamed, served with a tangy cocktail sauce that includes catsup, horseradish, grated red onion and minced tarragon.

The rest is served family style. Seared scallops with a beurre blanc sauce served on a watercress salad. There are a few pasta dishes (I spent last weekend making the pasta): a very simple angel hair tossed with anchovies, olive oil and fresh parsley; homemade ravioli stuffed with lobster and crab (no bread fillers!!) - serving that with a sage butter sauce; and a simple alfredo sauce with fettuccini (the kids LOVE this!). I would be thrown into exile if I there wasn't any baked orange roughy - very simply done with butter and lemon.

For some reason we never have room for desert, but there is a plethora of homemade treats that everyone brings.

Add in plenty of yummy wine and wonderful family. It's a tradition that I'm thrilled to carry on!


Jelly Beans


Charlie Brown

Brad Bellomo

We start our family Christmas with a cheese plate for hungry guests to eat while sitting around talking and waiting for the meal. We serve a large platter of whatever cheeses look good from the West Side Market, several different white and red wines, and other things to nibble like crackers, prosciutto, fruit and nuts.

Meals start with a salad and fresh bread. Then comes the food everyone looks forward to each year - fresh cavatelli with a rich meaty tomato sauce that is our family tradition - our secret ingredients are oxtail and lamb neckbones. We also have Italian sausage with peppers and onions, garlic mashed potatoes and whatever new dishes anyone brings.

My mom, who doesn't eat meat, started a new tradition. She would bring a fish dish to every family meal for herself, usually roasted salmon or seared yellowfin tuna, since she has to avoid the cavatelli and sausage, and of course it looked so good everyone had to try some. So now she brings enough for everyone.

Then my dad cooks the Bellomo family Christmas Octopus – he boils a whole Octopus at the party and serves it with a side of lemon. His father always did this every Christmas, and even as a little kid as far back as I remember I always thought of Octopus when I thought of Christmas.

After everyone is completely stuffed, we eat dessert. Every year we have Russian apricot tortes made from scratch by my mom, apple strudel and rum balls made from scratch by her mom, and a variety of cookies.

Brad Bellomo

My e-mail address is bvbellomo at gmail dot com.

Your spam filter does not like people posting e-mail addresses.


Well, I'm nowhere near Cleveland so I wouldn't be able to attend, but I'll give this a stab anyway, since I am sort of vegetarian. (Pescatarian is the term, since I consume dairy, eggs, and fish.)

The traditional holiday dinner in my household since I became pescatarian (12 years now) is the most simple dish: ziti pasta with a feta cheese sauce and fresh, Gulf shrimp (I'm from Florida...I'm a touch snobbish about certain seafood), topped with chives picked moments previously from my mother's herb garden. When I am by myself, I feel free to branch out. Indian is always a good choice for me...curried lentils, aloo gobi (potato and cauliflower), veggie samosas, and my fresh homemade naan and tomato chutney that has so much garlic you'll stink for a week and so much turmeric I once stained a clear plastic serving spoon with it...what can I say, I love those two, especially together! I hate measuring and I season with a free hand; sometimes I'll close my eyes and snatch random things from the spice rack. As long as I don't try to cinnamon the soup, I can hit on endless taste combos!

BTW, you were my favourite throughout Next Iron Chef and on my own blog I kept pleading with the invisible gods of It Already Happened, You Know to get you to pull it out and win. I do believe I even started hooting happily when the curtain over your portrait came down and proceeded to abuse the blink tag in your honour. I've bookmarked this and will be returning regularly to read!


My brother and his girlfriend host xmas dinner. My family is from Belarus so we have a very Russian dinner!

A main entre we have is herring under a fur coat. It's herring topped with a creamy mixture of cabbage, beets, carrots and potatoes. Another entre are blini, thin crepe like pancakes. These are filled with ground beef or home made cottage cheese. We also have golupsi, which is group beef and rice in boiled cabbage or bell peppers and tomato sauce. We do still have some traditional american meals, mashed potatoes, creamy mac and cheese and chicken. We have many sides/appetizers - sour kraut, pickles, Russian deli meats, stuffed mushrooms, boiled cow tounge. We finish it off with a shot of vodka and caviar on buttered bread.

A russian side I thought you'd find interesting is salted pork fat. This heart attack isnt at out table but apparently its good.

I bring dessert, my favorite meal (I'm a vegetarian). I love to cook but I'm not very good at it so I head over to Presti's in little italy. My absolutely love their lemons squares, they are are so light and fluffy and moist, coated with a lemon sugary icing and whipped cream. If you've never been there it's a must go!! The lemon squares are not available right now though because they are testing out a new gross lemon pound cake recipe :(

Not sure that this would make your mouth water (cow tounge???) but it's fun sharing and reading what everyone is enjoying this xmas!

Wishing you the happiest of xmas's MS :-)


Beer and Scotch.

You can mail my card, but I don't live in Cleve so give it to the runner up. :)


My sister and her family are bringing a big ham from this awesome place in WI that smokes their own. So we are having that and I am also doing a big roast chicken (local), Mediterranean-style. This is labor intensive as it requires cutting off the rind from several lemons and chopping it into tiny bits. You cover the bird with a mixture of the lemon rind and garlic and salt and a few spices, inside and out. It makes a fantastic tasting chicken.

We are also having old fashioned au-gratin potatoes with LOTS OF CRUSTY CHEESE. I may mix in a 2nd kind of cheese to go with the traditional cheddar without the guests knowing. The potatoes are locally grown.

I am still figuring out the green veg. I'm thinking something sharp like collard greens with bacon. I'm also doing the bourbon cranberries we did at Thanksgiving because they're so easy and everyone likes them. I'm also going to make homemade bread (thank God for the breadmaker) since we have a guest who is nut allergic and I can't think of any rolls/bread I could buy that would be "safe."

Like you Michael, I am not a baker, so my Mom is making apple pie with local apples. I will whip some fresh cream for the top.


[sidebar discussion]

CarolynS: Love the idea of a "feast of the 7 fishes" all-seafood holiday dinner. As for the salmon - I've done both plank smoking, and gravlax, and I have to say I lean towards the latter ... provided of course I can get large fish with decent fat content (ideal size for best flavor and fat in atlantic salmon seems to be 18-21# size ... and I lop off the entire tail third and reserve it for other uses, because it tends to be lean and a tad tough). I also like to brush the flesh down with a gin screwdriver (gin + orange juice) just before applying the cure (typically coarse kosher salt, granulated white sugar, and light brown sugar in a 2:1:1 ratio by weight, plus a few other odds and ends), and I include freshly microplaned orange zest, and a few thin slices of orange, plus (if I'm in the mood for it) generous fresh dill, in the curing mix. I'll stop there, otherwise I'll happily wax poetic about salmon all day.

Julia: I cook a bit of southern indian. Happy to swap Gobhi Aloo Gashi recipes with you. Feel free to click on my name here, which will take you to my forum ... wouldn't be fair to overly distract this thread with longish recipes. ;)

Brad Bellimo: Ooooh, octopus. Prep & serving instructions pls !


Pat R.

This menu may be a bit conventional, but our eclectic group of friends and family seem to appreciate my efforts. This year we'll start with smoked salmon on buckwheat blinis washed down with a cocktail of champagne and my homemade cranberry liquor. The sit-down kicks off with cream of wild mushroom soup and then a salad of seared scallops, pancetta and grape tomatoes accompanied by my home-baked rolls. The entree is individual beef wellingtons with gorgonzola in addition to the usual mushrooms and marsala glazed root vegetable. And we'll top it all off with spiced chocolate pudding served in chocolate cups.


michelle v

Great idea!

My husband and I are hosting our first holiday this year, so I'm going all out. We are so excited to have his family over - we started planning the menu back in October!


We're making our signature appetizer - Avec dates. We tried these in Chicago a few years ago and figured out how to make them. Dates stuffed w/ chorizo, wrapped in bacon and served with a spicy/sweet tomato sauce.

We're also serving a bunch of difference cured meats, like mortadela, sopressata, port linguistas and my personal favorite is the mole salumi from Seattle's salumi. We went there back in October and met Gina and even got a tour. But, I went to order too late and she was out of everything so thankfully Dominic Cerino has some mole left and is going to sell me. The rest of the items we found at Chef's Choice Meats - great spot.

Finally, chickpea brushetta - Babbo's version, with basil and black olives. I love how he serves this as a first course at the restaurant and this is another item we make all the time.

Starting off with my gram's soup that she has made for years: lima bean soup with veal meatballs. Simply delicious. Also serving braised short ribs in chianti with pancetta, manchengo mashed potatoes, breaded cauliflower and hericot vertes.

My mother-in-law has this covered, but I am making Italian pitzelles and toto's.

michelle v

oops - forgot to include my e-mail in the above post. it's mvenorsky@marcusthomasllc.com.


Here's mine. No kiddin'



Tortilla de Papas
(Spanish Potato Omelet)

Goat Cheese with Herbs

Caesar Salad (Anchovies optional)

Main Course and Accompaniments

Lechón Asado
(Cuban Garlic and Lime Roast Pork with extra crispy skin)

(Plantain and Tanier tamales stuffed w/ pork and steamed in banana leaves)

Arroz con Gandules
(Yellow Saffron-Rice w/ Pigeon Peas)

Yuca con Mojo
(Casava Root with Lime, sour orange, garlic and olive oil sauce)


Flan de Vainilla
(Spanish Egg Custard w/ Caramel Sauce

Assorted Homemade Cookies

Chocolate and Capuccino Truffles

Homemade Mango, Passion Fruit, and Guava Gumdrops

Turrón de Alicante
(Spanish Roasted almond and honey nougat)




I forgot my email address as well - spenglcs at zoominternet dot net.

Brad - thanks for your comments. Now that I think about it, I will put the salmon on a plank this year!!

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