The Tasty Days of December!!
Christmas is my favorite Holiday of the year! A time to Celebrate with Family and Friends and enjoy the magic in the eyes of children. A time to remember and reflect upon traditions we share even if some are now Low fat! ;) From sharing a kitchen years ago with my Grandmothers, Mother and now my Daughter and Son our culinary delights keep growing each year!
From the Christmas Eve feast of the seven fishes, to the Ham or Turkey and yes one Christmas Day Roast Duck (thanks to my son Stephen).. then a week long sharing of cookies and visits with neighbors to culminating with a New Years Eve toast of Champagne and Herring! Yes before you all stop reading the Herring is for good luck and judging by my beautiful family it was worth it! As I child my Parents had it each New Years either in Wine sauce or in Cream sauce. I tasted it when I was young and liked it. If you taste things early in life you will be more apt to have a larger palate as you get older.
Actually there are very few things I don't like although my #1 dislike is Caviar!!! I will never forget one Christmas party I was at and had a lovely drink in one hand and picked up a puff pastry with the other and to my surprise it was stuffed with Caviar. OMG horror on my face followed by swallowing quickly and gulping my Bloody Mary to block out that horrible flavor. Of course it was very good Russian Beluga caviar but the only thing Russian I like is Stolichnaya Vodka. Either a Bloody Mary or Dirty Martini or my diet drink of Stoli and Seltzer with Lemon or Lime. I am not as strict as the Queen who prefers her Lemon under the ice... Ha Ha...mine can float on top!
I have tried a few new ideas for this years Christmas festivities and will share them with you. I have also added Christmas pictures at the top under Christmas 2016 on the right of the home page. I will keep updating with food shots and visitors there. Below is a Focaccia with Lemon, Onion and Rosemary and a Clam Pie I made last week. They were both very tasty and will make them again for Christmas Eve. You can tell my pictures aren't photo shopped by the sauce smudge on the clam pie....truly authentic!! ;)
2 1/2 to 3 Cups Flour
1 cup warm water and 1 pkg yeast
After yeast proofs add to flour mixing with 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil and 1 teaspoon Salt. Mix in a mixer or knead dough and then form a ball and put in a bowl with a little oil on the sides of the bowl so the dough doesn't stick. Let Dough rise till doubled in size. (about an hour) Roll out and then dimple with your finger tips with a little olive oil and then let sit for 15 minuites and then top and cook. For the Onion and Lemon above saute onions adding salt, pepper and a little fresh garlic or garlic powder. Let cool before putting on Focaccia. Then when ready to cook spread out onions on top and slice lemons thin and cut fresh rosemary and Parsley and sprinkle on top! Bake at 450 for about 35 minutes and check that the bottom is light brown. Brush the border of the Focaccia with oil and stick with a fork all around so it cooks evenly.
For the Clam pie....the dough is the same as above and the filling is Canned clams, Parsley Garlic, Sweet Onion, Red Pepper and Salt. I used one can of tomato paste and the juice from the clams to thin it out. I find the tomato paste supports the clams on the top of the Focaccia and has great flavor. Again Saute garlic and sweet onion (I like Vidalia) in a little olive oil, add tomato paste, clams and their juice, red pepper, salt and cook 5 to 10 minutes to blend flavors together. If its too thick use more clam juice or add a little water. Cool before putting on dough. When cooled spread out on dough and add Parsley. Cook at 450 for about 35 minutes or cooked through and bottom of Pie is light brown. You could also put Anchovies on the top for the last 10 minutes of cooking. I like anchovies but serve them on the side as well as long hot finger peppers that have been sauteed in olive oil. Yum!!
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