Did You think about Christmas already, part 5

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CHEFTALK

 

 

Christmas preparations part 5

 christmas 5 main

 In my earlier post I promised to give you some cold snack ideas, I have changed my mind a little, because this is the one before last of the series, instead I will give you some ideas for an alternative Christmas dinner.

After all Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, we come together, go to late night mass, sing carols and we eat, it does not necessarily have to be a formal gathering.

 

My articles in this series are about food and I cannot emphasize enough how most of us, inclusive myself, struggle every year with what to put on the table when it comes to Christmas gatherings and the like, the never ending doubt of “will they like it” brings the mind in a chaotic state of decision making.

 

spread on wood

 

I have always liked the idea of a range of items, some cold, some warm, some with mixed ingredients and some marinated. Besides you already had a turkey for Thanksgiving!

 

The best part of a Christmas celebration of that nature is that you don’t have to cook dinner. Most finger foods can be made in advance and need a bit of finishing on the day itself. A spread of small foods is an absolutely pleasing experience.

If you choose for a traditional Christmas dinner with a turkey, sprouts and roast potatoes, by all means, it is great to share the traditional Christmas dinner with loved ones. If you decide to invite more people than seats around the dinner table, or you just like something else for a change, the snack celebration could be an alternative you like to try out.

 

christmas spread on table

 

The fun thing is that when you place the spread strategically around the area were your guests are seated or standing you will see people interact a lot more then when they just wait for dinner to be served.

 

Here are some ideas for a feast of this nature

 

Item Ingredients Preparation When to make 
Smoked Salmon Roses on Reye bread Smoked Salmon, Reye Bread, Sour Cream, dill Cut Reye bread canapés, top with sour cream, fold slice of salmon in rose shape, place on top, garnish with sprig of dill On the day
Potato Salad Mini potatoes (halved or quartered, chopped onion, mayonnaise, chopped parsley Boil potatoes, mix with onions, mayonnaise and parsley Two days in advance, vacuum and chill
Mini Frittatas 8 eggs, 4 fl oz milk, 4 oz chopped Pancetta, 1 ½ oz grated Parmesan, 2 tbsp choppe parsley, 1 tsp crushed pepper Mix all ingredients and distribute over greased muffin pans, bake for 8 to 10 minutes in a 350 F oven Two days in advance, cool and vacuum seal.Serve warm or cold
Mackerel Stuffed Tomatoes 12 large tomatoes (to removed and de-seeded) 7oz canned mackerel, chopped onion,2 ½ oz grated cheese, basil leaves, crushed pepper Drain the mackerel, add the onion and mix divide over the tomatoes, top with a basil leaf and lastly the cheese, bake at 350 F for 20 minutes. Finish with some cracked pepper  Two days in advance, vacuum seal, chill and finish baking on the day, serve warm.
Turkey and Chorizo Cubed turkey breast, sliced Chorizo sausage, Broccoli florets, crushed pepper, tomato sauce The ratio depends on how much you want to make. Fry the cubed turkey breast for 2 minutes, add the sliced sausage and broccoli, fry another minute, add tomato sauce and simmer 5 to 7 minutes. Three days in advance, cool vacuum and reheat in the vacuum bag in a pot of hot water.
Pumpkin soup Pumpkin, onion, cumin, milk, water salt and pepper. Make as much as you think is needed. Two weeks in advance, allow cooling, freeze and vacuum after freezing. Re-heat in the bag in hot water.

 

 

Mini sausage rolls and filo pastry pockets and other ideas can be found in one of my earlier posts in the series. Ensure to serve plenty of sliced French loaf with garlic or herb butter.

A Christmas cake serves perfectly as dessert.

 

On the day you just need to pop a few items in the oven and if you do that one by one, you have something else every half an hour.

Maximum use of you vacuum sealer, provides for a pretty relaxed day for you to enjoy the celebrations and your guests will be stunned how you did all that.

If you haven’t decided on which vacuum sealer to buy (or ask for as an early Christmas present) have a look here:

www.vacupack.com  for USA and www.vacupack.ca for Canada.

I will you a great idea how to serve a snack style dinner in my next post.

 

By: Marinus Hoogendoorn

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