Tuesday, December 28, 2010
A Christmas Day Brunch
I prepared many of my "party favorites" for this family brunch for nine. I did add a new one, which I found in the December issue of Cooking Light, Polenta Squares with Gorgonzola and Pine Nuts. I used instant polenta mix and substituted olive oil for the butter. The recipe used currants but suggested dried figs or cranberries as substitutes, I used the cranberries. Basically you prepare the polenta, chill, cut into squares, and then cook on both sides in a fry pan until brown. The cheese, cranberries, toasted pine nuts and orange rind are combined in a bowl. Balsamic vinegar is heated and reduced. The squares are topped with the cheese mixture and then drizzled with balsamic vinegar. YUM!
Shrimp and Sauce. I purchase cooked shrimp and for the sauce I mix two parts chili sauce, one part prepared horseradish, lemon juice and a few drops of Worcestershire sauce.
Baked Brie Round. I have mentioned this in earlier blogs and it truly is one of our favorites. However I was unable to make it to my favorite grocer north of where we live so I had to serve it without the Rothschild Hot Pepper Raspberry Preserves. I guarantee this will not happen again...I am ordering a supply online!
Antipasti Platter. It was basically the same as I always do..roasted red peppers, prosciutto and olives, but I found olives very similar to what we enjoyed recently in Italy....fresh and green.
Smoked Salmon. Served with mini bagels, onions, capers and cream cheese.These mini bagels work well for a finger food buffet.
Puff Pastry and Mushrooms. This was a last minute addition. I had prepared a batch of mushroom soup base which is a favorite of my family and had promised to take some on Christmas Eve so they could add the broth and enjoy it sans me on Christmas Dinner. (It is tough having families in all different locations, not to mention step children and extended families) but the promise of mushroom soup for my mom, sister and her husband certainly diminished my absence. Well anyhow I forgot to take it with me to my mom's on Christmas Eve and the drive is a tad far to go back. This I rolled out the pastry, spread the mushroom base, baked and sliced. I do not believe that I have shared my mushroom soup, which I serve as a first course at most holiday sit down dinners.
The offerings were rounded out with cheese, cheddar and swiss, a variety of crackers, grapes and a platter of holiday cookies. For the latter I am appreciative of clients, friends and relatives who gift their holiday goodies. I did however make ginger bread. It is one of two baked goods that I enjoy making. This ginger bread is a recipe I found in the Silver Palate , (remember the cookbook that inspired me)and I have made it each Christmas for the past 25 years.
Hopefully these ideas will make it to your table or inspire other selections.
Wine/Champagne: Veuve Cliquot (always on Christmas.)