We are, when it comes to Christmas menus, a family of traditions. Though the side dishes and exact preparation may change from year to year, if my mother, my sister, or I are cooking, the meal is alway anchored by a beef filet. It’s a really expensive cut of meat, but our gatherings are usually smallish, and it is the only time of the year when we buy it, and our men folk wouldn’t have it any other way. The past two years, serve it with tomato confit, which is so versatile, that it deserves its own post.
This year, we had a small feast with our family of four and my husband’s parents. I woke up, or was woken up, at 6 am by my daughter, whose excitement knew no bounds, and after presents and a little bit of prep work, I went back to sleep until 1 pm, and the guests arrived shortly thereafter. What with all the LEGO to build and new crafts to play with, the kids unbeknownest to me, were not fed lunch. At about 2:30 pm when I put out the fegatini and bagna cauda, Ella was so hungry and tired she could barely eat. But she did. Finley did not, so when dinner rolled around, he sat and ate 3 helpings of spinach,2 of truffled mashed potatoes, and 2 healthy portions of meat. Not that I’d recommend starving your 5 year old, but this year it was an effective, if inadvertant strategy for a peaceful dinner time. We had a really lovely time, and the food was delicious.
The amuse bouche: diced chiogga and red beets, dressed with olive oil, white balsamic, garnished with baby arugula, goat cheese, and fleur de sel
Pioppini, chanterelles, and baby shitakes sauteed in butter, olive oil, shallots and thyme
Bloomsdale spinach with garlic, meyer lemon and black cypress salt
Yukon Gold potatoes with a lot of butter, a little whole milk, finished with white truffle oil and fleur de sel
The crowded but cozy table