Daily Archives: December 22, 2015

holiday food and a giveaway

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This morning, over breakfast, I asked the girls what they were most excited about for the coming holidays. Beyond the whole presents thing, E loves any sort of crafty / baking project and staying up late on New Year’s Eve to ring in the next year. F likes anything and everything related to food – and so do I!

What are your food traditions around the holidays? I love our Christmas Eve buffet. We have it after the candlelight service, so we’re all really, really hungry by then. I’m not sure how we ended up with the menu that we have, but I imagine that it’s evolved over the years as new items are introduced, but old favorites are still requested. There’s a large platter of shrimp with cocktail sauce in the center, piping hot sausage balls, and ham biscuits. My grandfather always liked oyster stew, although I never could get into it. We have various quiches, vegetables, maybe some fruit – sometimes a citrus salad. And then there are plates and plates of Christmas cookies we’ve had at every holiday table since I was a kid. Oh – I almost forgot – we also have cranberry sorbet to drink. That might be my favorite. It’s not Christmas Eve without it.

The girls love Christmas breakfast – we usually start with a grapefruit half before filling up plates with various breads, my mom’s famous cream cheese braids, more of those sausage balls and ham biscuits too. Lunch is the traditional affair with ham and vegetables and casseroles and bread; several years ago my mom started making a cheesecake for dessert, and that might be my favorite part. (Because the previous food hadn’t been rich or sweet enough!)

Then we enter into the realm of leftovers for a few days, until we all start craving pizza for a change of pace. If you get that way too, and you still have a family (or families) to feed for the weekend after, I might have just the recipe for you.

This past week we received our last box from Blue Apron for awhile since we’ll be traveling quite a bit over the next few weeks. We’ve been so busy lately, that I didn’t really give the recipes too much thought before I made them. But we were completely blown away by each recipe, particularly the Caramelized Meyer Lemon Spaghetti. I’m not kidding you – it was delicious. As it came together, it didn’t really look like all that much. But I’m still craving the finished product a week later. I think it would be a perfect post holiday meal to make and serve – it’s bright, it’s simple, but the flavors are more complex than you might expect. I think you could easily double or triple this recipe for a crowd. None of the prep work or process is difficult – the trickiest thing was removing the dozen seeds from the meyer lemon – but even that was not a big deal.

The ingredients should be relatively easy to find – make sure you use MEYER lemons – they are a cross between a lemon and an orange, and a straight lemon is not going to work. You also need palm or turbinado sugar – this is pretty easy to find in most grocery stores today. As this was going together I was a bit underwhelmed – it just doesn’t look like much is going on. (I also found that it took a few minutes longer than listed to caramelize the lemons, so watch that. And the photos make the pasta look darker than it really was – it will seem like there’s very little “sauce”, but it’s perfect – and not over-the-top buttery.)

We plated it up, sprinkled parmesan and the toasted garlic breadcrumbs on top, and added the parsley for garnish, and then couldn’t stop eating it. I can’t wait to make it again – hey! maybe even this weekend, post sausage ball extravaganza.

Since it’s the holidays, and I’m so grateful that you read this blog, and since I really wish I could invite each of you over and serve you this pasta personally – I thought I’d do the next best thing. I’ve had three free weeks of Blue Apron meals burning a hole in my pocket account for ages, and I’d love to pass one onto you.

As always, this is not sponsored in any way, I just receive free weeks because I use the service on my own. If you haven’t already won in past giveaways, please leave a comment in the email about your favorite (or least favorite) holiday food tradition. I’ll draw three names randomly over Christmas break – sometime after the cheesecake and before I make this pasta dish for a crowd.

Good luck, and let me know what you think about the lemon dish if you make it. Thanks, too, for hanging out with me and letting me talk so much about food.