A Christmas feast!

This holiday season has been more stressful than normal, I think – my parents were in a car accident on Saturday (they’re fine, but the car has a bit of damage) and then yesterday, my dad slipped and fell down our front steps as he was taking Beardo out for a walk (again, he’s fine, just a bit stiff and sore). But we still managed to have our fancy Christmas Eve dinner – the catch was that my mom didn’t have the day off, so not only was I left to make an eight-course meal by myself, I didn’t have a sous chef (Mom) or dishwasher (Dad) to help me (for most of the time, anyway)!

Here’s what I came up with:

R-L, that’s: Cheese Puffs; Figs with Goat Cheese, Almonds, and Honey (the recipe calls for fresh figs, but we could only find dried);  Miniature Parmesan Baskets with Herbed Goat Cheese Mousse; Herbed Phyllo Purses with Brie Cheese and Mushrooms (mine ended up being more like parcels than purses…also, the mushrooms totally overpowered the brie, so I would up the ratio of brie to mushrooms the next time); Bulgur, Celery, and Pomegranate Salad (it’s a bit of a pain picking the seeds out, but it’s worth it – they’re so pretty, like little jewels, and very refreshing to eat since they sort of burst in your mouth); Shrimp Bisque; Grapefruit and Mint Sorbet (super-easy and SUPER-YUMMY – I think this may have been the favorite); Roasted Garlic and Goat Cheese Souffle (not as difficult as I expected, but how do you keep them from falling as soon as you take them out of the oven?) and Roasted Asparagus with Hollandaise; a Poinsetta cocktail; Sweet Potato Creme Brulee (not bad, but not as good as the Raspberry Creme Brulee from Thanksgiving – it’s the texture of the sweet potato layer that’s a bit off-putting – turns out Emeril has a recipe and he’s never let me down before so I’d try it again using his); and a Cranberry-Ginger Upside-Down Cake (I think it has far too much ginger though my parents both liked it – I would at least halve the amount of ginger in the future).

I still don’t know how people do coursed dinner parties while mingling and wearing pearls and heels – we usually get dressed up (even though it’s just the three of us), but this year, I decided we could skip that because I was going to have to be finishing things while we were eating and I didn’t want to get any greasy fingerprints on my nice clothes. So apart from about a half-hour break while the souffle’s were put in to bake and I finished up the shrimp bisque, we ate while the next course was baking.

I am exhausted, but everything turned out well! Tomorrow we begin tackling the gingerbread house

A holiday rant!

Listening to all the Christmas music being played on the radio has made me realise that I much prefer the darker Christmas songs – O Come, O Come Emmanuel; The Angel Gabriel; and In the Bleak Midwinter which brings me to my rant. 

Nobody does the right version of In the Bleak Midwinter anymore! By ‘right,’ I mean, the arrangement by Holst, not the tacky version by…well, I don’t know, but I’m sure he’s tacky, too.

This is the wrong version as sung by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge:

And because no one does the right version anymore, here is the first verse of it by the Choir of Anne’s Living Room, Illinois:

Happy holidays to everybody!