Christmas was another food-filled fiesta, but unlike last year, we got together with Pdho’s family and had Christmas Eve dinner at his place and Christmas dinner at our place. In truth, if it were left up to Pdho and myself, we probably would have gone out to eat at some Chinese restaurant, but this was planned and pretty much decided at the parental unit level. Nevertheless it was a good time.
For the most part, Christmas Eve dinner was a pretty traditional style dinner…. ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing with chestnuts, and fruit cake. Oh, there was also a lobster squash bisque which I thought was pretty good, but Pdho just thought it was okay. I think the only non-traditional dish was the appetizer spread which included egg rolls, shrimp paste on a sugar cane, and fried wontons. I have to admit, I probably liked the appetizers the best. All the food was good, but I think it’s probably because I’ve never been a huge fan of the traditional foods. So in truth, even though stuffing is supposed to have chestnuts in it, I don’t think I enjoyed the nutty texture too much. Nevertheless, it was a good dinner overall.
Christmas Dinner was a little more pressure for my family since we were cooking. We were planning on cooking as we usually would, and my sister-in-law had come up with a whole menu, but my Mom wanted to invite Pdho and his family. It was fine… the more, the merrier, but my family tends to stress out when we have to cook for other people. Haha!
The menu for the evening included an appetizer of Prosciutto-wrapped Asparagus, a surf and turf combo of Grilled Lobster and Roast of Prime Rib with a Horseradish Crust, sides dishes of Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and a Mixed Salad and for dessert, we bought a fruit tart from Le Croissant Dore. My brother played photographer in between watching football and checking his fantasty football scores, while I played sous chef for my sister-in-law. The funny part of this is that my brother was the original one who first made this Horseradish-Crusted Prime Rib for us back when he was living in NYC, but times have changed and his wife is queen of the kitchen these days.
Considering the sound of the menu, it didn’t take too long to cook and prepare everything. Between my mom, my sister-in-law and myself, we probably took a couple of hours to prep and cook everything and my brother handled the grilling. Granted, we aren’t going to go far on any Iron Chef or Top Chef cooking competition, but it didn’t take that long.
My sister-in-law started off with preparing the prime rib roast so it could bake for 2 1/2 hours in the oven. I can’t remember the exact recipe and ingredients, but she mixed a lot of fresh-grated horseradish with black peppercorns and salt into a mixture that she coated all around the meat. I’m not quite sure what she added that made it look so green in the end, but looks aside, that crust was chock full of salty flavor in the end. Although most of the horseradish crust comes off once you serve it, you’re really not supposed to eat it. However, as a result of cooking with the crust, the meat itself takes on a very delicious flavor. I thought it ended up tasting really good.
The rest of the dishes were pretty easy to prepare. The lobsters needed some salt, pepper and butter and then they went on the grill. The quality of the lobster tails seemed a little bit better this time around, and I think my brother had learned how to grill them so they turned out even better this time around.
The potatoes were boiled, peeled and then mashed with roasted garlic in the food processor. I really think that was key to them turning out as creamy as they did. The food processor was great for evenly mixing the garlic and milk into the potatoes. We had to stop at one point and mash the other half of the potatoes by hand to prevent it from turning into baby food. I thought they were the best homemade mashed potatoes I’ve ever had actually. The garlic flavor was subtle yet very distinctly garlicy. This was easily my favorite dish of the night.
The asparagus were actually very well-cooked, but I don’t think the prosciutto that we used was right. It tasted a little bit too smoky which tasted odd. I wasn’t a big fan, but the saltiness of the prosciutto helped add flavor to the otherwise plain tasting asparagus. Along with the salad, this gave us some much needed fiber for the meal. Hehe!
In addition to the fruit tart, Pdho’s family brought some rambutan which is a tropical fruit similar on the inside to a lychee or a longan but with a spiny skin on the outside. I can’t remember if I have ever had it before, but it was pretty good.
All in all, it was a very tasty meal….. and it was nice for all of us to be able to celebrate the holidays together. It does make me wonder if this is going to be a regular occurrence going forward. If so, we’re probably going to have to tweak the menu each year or maybe not. “Surf and Turf” becomes our holiday menu theme. Hehe!
I actually enjoy cooking and for the past couple of years, my family has been doing it a lot more for these holiday meals…. but I think if I was responsible for doing it all myself, I wouldn’t be such a happy camper. So it’s kind of nice that my whole family gets into the “cooking together” concept. I have to thank my sister-in-law for taking executive chef duties this go around. Sometimes it’s nice to just be the sous-chef.
I’m a little sad that the pictures did not turn out as nice I would have liked them too. The lighting was not very good, so many of these pictures are just so so. However, since SOME people keep telling me how much pictures truly add to the words, I figured that some pictures are better than none. =) So I hope my readers appreciate it!