Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Dinner

My family hosted Christmas dinner this year, and I was anxiously planning the menu weeks in advance.  Here's what we had...

Appetizers
Smoked Salmon on Baguette Slices with Cream Cheese and Capers
Red Bell Pepper Spread with Pita Chips and Crackers

Main Dishes
Baked Cornish Game Hens with Garlic, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme
Baked Flounder with Za'atar
Tas-Kebab (Middle Eastern Beef Stew)

Side Dishes and Accompaniments
Roasted Potatoes
Marinated Mushrooms, Asparagus, and Tomatoes
Homemade Pickles
Basturma (Armenian cured beef) 

Dessert
Fruit (Honeydew Melon, Kiwi, Pomegranate, Clementines, Apples, Pears)
Assorted Pastries My Aunt Made
Nuts and Dried Fruits



For the baked Cornish game hens, there is more of a method of prep than a recipe, so I will simply share that here.  We took a bunch of Cornish game hens and split them in half.  Then I mixed together a lot of crushed garlic with chopped fresh sage, rosemary, and thyme.  I added some extra-virgin olive oil to make it more of a paste.  I used my fingers to loosen the skin from the flesh of the hens and I slathered some of the garlic-herb paste under the skin, spreading it around evenly.  Then we seasoned the Cornish game hen halves with kosher salt, pepper, and paprika, and lightly brushed garlic oil over them before baking at 350 degrees F for just over an hour, until cooked through and nicely browned (timing depends on the size of your hen halves, ours were pretty small).  Soooo delicious, juicy, easy, and definitely a crowd-pleaser :)



I also made some really easy and delicious baked flounder fillets.  The method of prep is as follows... wash fillets and pat them dry.  Lightly oil a sheet pan (or 2, depending on how much fish you're making).  Lay the fillets on the oiled pan, season with kosher salt, pepper, paprika, and drizzle with a bit more oil (we used more garlic oil), and rub it all over to lightly coat the fish.  Then season with za'atar (a Middle Eastern spice mixture), it will stick to the oil.  Bake at 350 degrees F until cooked through (about 15 to 20 minutes), but be careful not to overcook or the fish will get dry.  Enjoy!



My aunt made the tas-kebab (Middle Eastern beef stew).  I don't have her recipe, but the next time we make it in the future ourselves, I will write out the measurements and share with you all :)



Tune in throughout the week as I share recipes for the Leek Bread Pudding and Red Lentil-Basmati Rice Pilaf (both pictured above) and the Crack Pie, which was served for dessert!  Merry Christmas, everyone!  What was your favorite dish you had this year for Christmas?  I really loved the Cornish game hens and the leek bread pudding :)


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