Friday, January 2, 2015

Ghosts of Christmas Eve past

My oh my, it has been a not-eating week around these parts; not because we overate at Christmas (thankfully) but because I came down with a gross stomach virus on Tuesday that left me weak and exhausted and sipping broth for New Year's Eve dinner. Bleh. How festive, right? Thankfully, I am nearly back at full strength and didn't want to miss the opportunity (while I still have a little vacation time left) to tell you about this year's lovely Christmas Eve meal, which I was very pleased with. Mainly because of all the time it left me to hang out with my awesome husband watching movies and admiring my tree. Also, we managed not to gorge ourselves and feel too gross to move, always a plus.

I left the hard work of the appetizer to the excellent people at Whalesbone Sustainable Fish Supply this year - their house-smoked fish cannot be beaten for flavour and texture, and although it's dear, it was worth it for the celebratory evening. We purchased a huge chunk of their smoked trout and consumed about half of it with crackers, cream cheese, and some homemade sweet-and-sour pickled red onions (recipe via Food in Jars, a wonderful canning blog).

A gorgeous Riesling from Flat Rock in Niagara accompanied both the appetizer and our main, some seared scallops (also sourced from Whalesbone) atop Yukon Gold potato mash, with lightly steamed snap peas, crispy bits of maple-smoked bacon, and a honey-Riesling reduction drizzled over it all. Fans of the blog (hi, you two!) may recall me doing a similar dish a few years back, for an appetizer; it's a riff on a scallop dish that Play food and wine here in Ottawa did a while ago that I loved and tried to replicate. I loved it so much that this year I wanted more of it. We alternate meat and seafood years, so I had to seize my chance. It turned out gorgeously and I'm thrilled with it.

Finally, after an appropriate interlude, we turned our attention to dessert: tiny brownie sundaes with salted caramel ice cream (President's Choice black label; I could not make ice cream this good, people) and homemade hot fudge sauce. It was the perfect rich but not too sweet ending to the meal, which we formally ended with boozy coffees (a delightful party guest earlier in the month left us a bottle of Laura Secord chocolate cream liqueur, which is awesome in coffee).

All in all, it was a terrific evening and a great start to our festivities, which went on to be loads of fun with both my family and Chris's. I hope you and yours had a similarly excellent end-of-December, no matter what you celebrate, and look forward to writing at you all more in 2015!

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