Monday, March 3, 2014

Brunches, Lunches and Dinners

And now for the Christmas article from the Petaluma Post...

How do you celebrate Christmas?  I like to make my meals a bit more extravagant.  Thanksgiving is very traditional, but Christmas is time to play.  With family, in-laws and friends you are likely to be moving from house to house.  Maybe you are you are making dinner, maybe breakfast, or maybe just something to bring along.  But just because you are not making dinner does not mean it cannot be special.

I love brunch, anytime of the year, but with catering there are not a lot of Sundays off to enjoy it.  A relaxed Christmas morning is a perfect time for some great food.  Yes the kids are running around with toys and the house is full of guests, but with a little planning you can enjoy the morning too.  Your oven is your best friend. Ham is great hot or cold, travels well, and can be nibbled on all day long.

Cranberry Glazed Ham
9 lbs Ham, bone in, not spiral cup
1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
1 Tbl dry mustard powder
2 Tbl brown sugar
1 Tbl ground clove

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place the ham in a baking dish, fat side up, and score the ham to create a diamond pattern, cutting to about  ¼” depth.  Place the ham in the oven, and bake uncovered for 45 minutes.  Meanwhile mix the remaining ingredients to create the glaze, and spoon liberally over the ham.  Continue baking for an additional 45 minutes to 1 hour.  If the glaze starts to get too dark, cover with foil.  Carve and enjoy.

How about bread pudding for breakfast?  We think of it as a dessert, but it really is just bread, milk and eggs, just like French toast.  But it keeps and travels much better than French toast.

Breakfast Bread Pudding
5 eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup sugar (or to your taste)
½ tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups cubed bread
¼ cup butter
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup pecans

Combine milk, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla and sugar, and whisk together.  Pour over bread chunks, and allow to sit for approximately 30 minutes to absorb.  Pour into a buttered 9x13 baking dish.  Crumble the butter and pecans together and sprinkle over the top.  Finally bake 35 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees, until set.  Serve warm.

A midday meal can be a great place to change up a few of the holiday favorites.  What about pie for lunch?

My mother-in-law makes a great French-Canadian meat pie, a Tourtière, which is a very simple sausage and mashed potato pie.  Which I would serve with something like a Butternut Gruyer Tart and Tender Greens with Craisins and Pomegranate Vinaigrette.

2 pies crusts (top and bottom)
1 lbs russet potatoes
2 Tbl milk
1 Tbl butter
4 oz ground sweet sausage
4 oz ground beef
1 small onion
1tsp ground sage
½ tsp thyme

Peel and boil the potatoes, then mash with butter and milk; set aside.  Brown the beef, pork and onion with the herbs, the crumble and add to mashed the potatoes.  Place the pie crust in deep 9” pie plate and fill with the potato/meat filling.  Top with second crust, and egg wash to seal.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 350 degrees, until golden brown.  Serve warm or room temperature.

Over the years my family has enjoyed doing a wide variety of things for Christmas dinner.  At last we have landed a favorite, fondue and hors d’oeuvres.  We don’t sit down for a meal, this way we can nibble and talk throughout the evening.  It also gives me a chance to play with some fun ideas.

Truffle Devil Eggs

12 eggs
3 Tbl mayonnaise
1 tsp djion mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
1tsp truffle paste or oil

Boil and peel eggs.  I like to cut the eggs in half the short way, trimming the ends to make them stand (they look like a shot glass), just to update the presentation.  Combine the yolks, truffle and mustard in bowl or food processor, and mix until crumbly, then add  the mayonnaise 1tablespoon at a time until thick but pliable.  Finish with salt and pepper.  For an extra bit of extravagance top with Caviar.

If your family is traditional or contemporary add just a bit of extravagance to your holiday, and have a very merry holiday and a happy new year!

And, of course, if you would like some help with your holiday feast we have our special holiday menu as well as all our regulars available at

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