Monday, December 28, 2009

A Christmas Meal

A Christmas Meal. No, not a Dickens style roasted goose, nor turkey nor ham nor seven fish dinner. In fact, this Christmas meal wasn't even eaten on Christmas Day. It was soup and salad a couple days after. Doesn't sound much like a Christmas meal? The truth is this was a meal made from and with gifts I received on Christmas.

I would like to think that I am a very easy person to shop for, and judging from what I was gifted by my family and girlfriend, it seems that I am indeed. What else do you give someone who is passionate about all things culinary??

From my girlfriend: an awesome Cuisinart immersion blender and a mandoline.

From my girlfriend's parents: flavored olive oils from a mill near their home in Arizona.

From my brother and Audrey: a himalayan salt plate and a case of wine made from interesting white varietals, including pure wines from Roussane, and Picpoul, as well as blends like a Vinho Verde (made from grapes like Loureiro/Trajadura/Pedernã) and a Cotes du Rhone from (Viognier/Marsanne/Clairette/Bourboulanc).

From my mom and Leo: a set of collapsible measuring cups (small kitchen), subscription to Cook's Illustrated and Bon Appetit, and a grembiule (pictured at left)! Also from mom and Leo, the bones from the ham on Christmas Eve and the rib roast, which made their way into a stock (the description of the meal is coming soon).

From my dad: a gift card to Macy's, which bought (among other things) this beautiful dutch oven.

From my grandma: a check so I could buy (again, among other things) the rest of the ingredients for the meal. Love you Grams!!

And thank you everyone!! I feel so blessed. May all of your gifts to me alchemize into a million more gifts to others (except maybe for the wine).

So what did I do with all of this stuff? Cook, naturally. I also had a bag of crudites leftover from Christmas Eve (I brought a Bagna Càuda appetizer plate), so we decided to make a big pot of soup in the new dutch oven. We already had a big pot of broth, so we only needed to buy a can of beans (it hadn't occurred to us to soak dry beans the night before) and some pasta. Ecco Minestrone!

I made a creamy balsamic vinaigrette with my "handy" new blender, as well as a hot sauce (made with the chili oil from Dave and Maureen) to drizzle over the soup.

I used the mandoline to julienne veggies for the salad, and enjoyed a fantastic glass of wine courtesy of the Tracy's. The 2007 E. Guigal Cotes du Rhones Blanc is fantastic, by the way.

All of it together made for a very special "Christmas meal." Who would have thought that soup and salad could mean so much, but it did. It was a beautiful night, and the love that went into this dinner must have been what made it so delicious because it really was. Grazie tante, e Buon Anno a tutti!

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