Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is probably my favorite time of year. It is definitely not the presents.  I already have everything that I have ever wanted with my beautiful Angel and my two little kids.  It is definitely not the snow, because we have not had a white Christmas in a couple of years.  

The reason why I love Christmas is the food.  In my family, there were strong and abiding food traditions. Some of those traditions were based on family history, such as the Christmas Eve dinner based upon traditions that originated in Abruzzo, Italy. Each meal opened with a plate of antipasti.  There was a selection of meats and cheeses, carefully sliced and placed on the platter, with garnishments that usually included olives and anchovies.  There was also the baccalao, salted cod fish, prepared by my grandfather because he loved it. Everyone else ate some of that cod as well.  While I initially liked it, I grew to dislike it a lot.  (It is one aspect of the family food tradition that I am happy to say has been relegated to memory.)

Once the antipasti course was completed, there was the traditional minestra maritata or Italian wedding soup.  As the link above suggests, I have previously posted the recipe to this dish.  The central ingredients in this dish, at least from my perspective are the whole chicken and the little meatballs. Traditionally, those meatballs were made from beef.  My beautiful Angel does not eat either beef or chicken.  So, for this year, I made an all turkey version of the soup.  The first problem was one of logistics: I could not boil a whole turkey.  But, I could boil a deconstructed turkey.  So, I bought a packages of thighs, wings and legs, as well as some breast meat.  I also used ground turkey for the meatballs.  The end result was just as good as the original. 

And, for the finale, there was the traditional pasta with tomato sauce, meatballs and sausage. I made a few alterations to the tomato sauce, borrowing inspiration from the Sunday Sauce in the Godfather movie. There was an all turkey version, with turkey sausage that helped to flavor the sauce.  However, there was also Sunday gravy with the beef/pork/veal meatballs and Italian pork sausage (both spicy and mild). 

All of this preparation and cooking was for Christmas Eve.  For the holiday itself, there is a 10 pound bone-in ribeye roast awaiting me.  As I tend to that project, I just want to wish everyone ...


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