A Cook's Diary

Christmas Eve 2013, sometime before midnight

Christmas Eve 2013, sometime before midnight | casaveneracion.com

Christmas Eve dinner was nothing extravagant. It never is in our house. I did take extra time and effort to make it more special than usual but, to be honest, the conversations and the bantering turned out to be more memorable than the food. Which is as it should be, I think. After all, the food is but a backdrop; the real celebration is having the family gathered together.

But this is a food blog so I’ll write about the dishes that I prepared for Christmas Eve dinner.

It started with this appetizer inspired by the starter course served at the 75th birthday party of Alfredo’s Steak House owner, Mitos Araneta. It was so good I vowed there and then that I’d make something similar at home. And I did, finally, on Christmas Eve. Thin slices of toasted bread (day-old pan de sal, actually) were served with a trio of spreads. First, liver paté

Christmas Eve 2013, sometime before midnight: cheese dip

… Second, a new variation of my cream cheese spread…

Christmas Eve 2013, sometime before midnight: Mexican-style salsa

… And Mexican-style salsa.

Christmas Eve 2013, sometime before midnight: vegetarian stuffed potatoes

For vegetarian Sam, I prepared these twice-baked potatoes stuffed with broccoli and cheddar served with a simple lettuce salad tossed with homemade strawberry vinaigrette.

Christmas Eve 2013, sometime before midnight: pan-grilled skewered chicken brushed with the same strawberry vinaigrette

For the omnivores, pan-grilled skewered chicken brushed with the same strawberry vinaigrette that I used for the salad.

Then, there was mojito.

And that was it. Nothing complicated, nothing over-the-top, no eye candy — just good food for the best company in the world.

Happy holidays!

The recipes:

Spicy cream cheese dip (or spread)
Salsa fresca (salsa Mexicana)
Baked potatoes with broccoli and cheese stuffing

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