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Christmas dinner ideas

meowow's picture

I have the in-laws coming (just FIL and MIL) and need something special. I don't eat meat, and I don't have any problem making it, but the problem is that I am not confident making meat because I can't taste it for quality control. Also, MIL isn't a meat person either, and we never, ever eat it at home.

I am thinking about this early so I can be super-prepared. FIL is kind of grumpy and hard to please sometimes, but I want to knock his socks off in spite of himself.

Any ideas? There will only be four of us but I want something spectacular.

meowow's picture

(post #33552, reply #1 of 45)

By the way, we eat seafood--so I was thinking of salmon as a main.

Gretchen's picture

(post #33552, reply #2 of 45)

Salmon would be delicious. A crab and shrimp "casserole" could be lovely.

Gretchen

Gretchen
meowow's picture

(post #33552, reply #3 of 45)

But what sides to go with the salmon? For Thanksgiving, I made regular sides-but I'm open to something unusual and dramatic for christmas.

meowow's picture

(post #33552, reply #4 of 45)

FWIW, this was the recipe I was thinking of for the salmon :

Spiced Maple Glazed Salmon

2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground dried ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon chopped green onions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine the paprika, chili powder, ancho, cumin, garlic powder, and brown sugar.
Place salmon on lightly sprayed baking dish or tray.
Sprinkle the fillets with the salt, then rub with the spice mixture.
Combine melted butter and maple syrup, then drizzle each fillet with a bit of the mixture; sprinkle each with a bit of green onion.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until it flakes with a fork.
Makes 4 servings.
Serve with rice or orzo pasta and steamed green vegetables like broccoli, gai lan (Chinese broccoli), bok choy, or green beans, drizzled with bottled fish or oyster sauce.

Gretchen's picture

(post #33552, reply #5 of 45)

Oh, asparagus, almost any green veggie. A potato gratin. Salad. Everything goes with salmon I think.

Gretchen

Gretchen
marie-louise's picture

(post #33552, reply #6 of 45)

Will they eat hot Asian food? Terra Restaurant in St. Helena makes an amazing salmon dish that's in their cookbook. DH made it for me for my 50th birthday, that's how much I love this dish. It goes well w/ champagne.
Here's a link to part of it, follow the link to the rest of it. http://forums.taunton.com/tp-cookstalk/messages?msg=14639.6

meowow's picture

(post #33552, reply #7 of 45)

FIL has a strange tendency to have sneezing fits after he eats spicy asian food. We can't figure out why! Otherwise, I'd be game for this recipe. I'll save it for DH and me :) thank you for your recommendation.

So, does this sound ok?

Some kind of salad (Caesar? would that flavor compete too much with the salmon's spice?)
Spiced Salmon with Maple Glaze
Brie Potato Gratin
Roasted Asparagus wrapped in Prosciutto

Is that enough? What else would I need? I'll have a lot of appetizers--hummous, baked brie, spinach/artichoke dip, et cetera.

Jean's picture

(post #33552, reply #8 of 45)

It all sounds good, but I'd forget the prosciutto wrap for the asparagus. JMHO.



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meowow's picture

(post #33552, reply #9 of 45)

Yeah, I wouldn't eat the prosciutto, obviously...but FIL loves it. I'd only put it on 1/4 of the asparagus, probably.

marie-louise's picture

(post #33552, reply #12 of 45)

You could wrap it on breadsticks & serve it as an appetizer. If you can find it, there is a combination proscuitto/ Mozzarella cheese combination that is incredibly good wrapped around a thin breadstick. (It looks like an ugly spiral log in the deli case.)

I don't find proscuitto & salmon on the same plate particularly appealing, especially w/ Brie in the potatoes. That's a lot of high-fat foods. I like salmon w/ rice pilaf. It also goes well w/mashed potatoes.

I have a nice cumumber-dill sauce I've made for poached salmon. Would you like to see that?

meowow's picture

(post #33552, reply #13 of 45)

I have a nice cumumber-dill sauce I've made for poached salmon. Would you like to see that?

Indeed. :) I'm all for suggestions. I don't want to fill them up too much so that they can eat whatever dessert I decide to concoct.

marie-louise's picture

(post #33552, reply #15 of 45)

Here you go...

I think I've served this w/ grilled salmon as well as poached. (FC has that great pan-seared recipe.)

Cucumber Sauce

1 cup peeled, seeded & chopped cucumber
1 cup crème fraiche, sour cream or plain yogurt
2 tablespoon cider vinegar
about 2 tablespoons mustard (to taste)
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
about 3 tablespoon chopped dill (to taste)

Dice the cucumber and sprinkle w/ salt and cider vinegar. Drain in a colander until all the liquid has come out of it.
Mix remaining ingredients; thin with ¼ cup fish stock/ court bouillon if needed.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS: This sauce can be heated and served with warm fish or chilled and served with cold poached salmon.
adapted from The Making of a Cook

meowow's picture

(post #33552, reply #17 of 45)

Thank you! :)

Wolvie's picture

(post #33552, reply #20 of 45)

I had some fab asparagus wrapped in proscuitto the other day, it also had a bit of cheese, and a light lemony sauce on the side - it really is good. I usually crisp proscuitto in the oven, then sprinkle it over asparagus when I do that sort of stuff at home. Easier method.


Of course, meow doesn't do meat, so it's a no go at the fest, but - for those that do eat meat - go for it! :-)


 


I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. - Will Rogers

 

Jean's picture

(post #33552, reply #21 of 45)

I'm sure it's delicious, but I didn't think the salmon 'needed' it. :)



They told me I was gullible and I believed them.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

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Judy/AZ's picture

(post #33552, reply #39 of 45)

This is our very favorite salmon recipe.

BAKED SALMON WITH MUSTARD-CRUMB CRUST

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/3 cup vegetable oil

4 6- to 7-ounce salmon fillets
Dried thyme
1 cup fresh French breadcrumbs

Place vinegar, sugar and both mustards in blender. With machine running, slowly pour in oil and blend until medium-thick sauce forms. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill.)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Arrange salmon in prepared dish, skin side down. Season with dried thyme, salt and pepper. Spread 1 tablespoon mustard sauce over each fillet, covering completely. Press breadcrumbs onto fish. Bake salmon until cooked through and crumb topping is crisp and golden brown, about 18 minutes.

Using large spatula as aid, transfer salmon fillets to platter. Serve, passing remaining mustard sauce separately.

Serves 4.
 
Bon Appé####
October 1993
Dorothy Sweet: Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania

Wolvie's picture

(post #33552, reply #43 of 45)

thanks for posting the recipe - my sister loves salmon and I will try this pretty soon. :-)

 


I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. - Will Rogers

 

pamilyn's picture

(post #33552, reply #45 of 45)

I have a recipe like that but I add a little honey, some tarragon, and a little orange juice instead of the wine.

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

Syrah's picture

(post #33552, reply #10 of 45)

Caesar sounds out of whack to me. How about something with fruit? Roasted pear slices, mesclun, feta, walnuts with a simple dressing?

"god, I'd love to turn this little blue world upside down", Tori Amos

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be obtained." -Marie Curie

meowow's picture

(post #33552, reply #11 of 45)

I sort of threw the Caesar in as a lark. you are right, I'm sure--something more subdued that won't compete, right?

What about pear/spinach/toasted candied walnuts/goat cheese with simple mustard-sweet dressing? As a first course, not as a side? OK or no? This is just another lark, so no offense will be taken if someone thinks it would be a bad combo.

Thanks for the feedback so far :)

Edited 12/9/2006 8:27 pm ET by meowow


Edited 12/9/2006 8:28 pm ET by meowow

Syrah's picture

(post #33552, reply #14 of 45)

YES!

That sounds much better. I also have a poached salmon recipe that has a dilly mayonnaise as the sauce. It is served on cucumber ribbons. If you like the idea of it, I can post. I thought it might be too light for your time of year. I thought it applied more to my own season.

ETA it is actually a mustardy mayo, not dilly. You poach with some dill. I think it would make a nice transition from your salad.

"god, I'd love to turn this little blue world upside down", Tori Amos


Edited 12/9/2006 8:39 pm by Syrah

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be obtained." -Marie Curie

meowow's picture

(post #33552, reply #16 of 45)

I would love the recipe, even though it may be too light. I am a salmon lover who is always on the lookout for new fab recipes :)

thanks for your help!

Syrah's picture

(post #33552, reply #18 of 45)

Here you go. I first made it for my MIL's birthday dinner when I was just learning how to cook.

Sally's Birthday Salmon

2 lebanese cucumbers
2 cups water
1/2 cup white wine
1 Tbs lime zest
2 sprigs dill, dried works okay about 1/2 tsp
4 salmon fillets
Sauce
1/2 cup good quality egg mayonnaise
2 Tbs grainy mustard
1 Tbs lime juice
salt and pepper

1 Using a vegetable peeler make the cucumber into long wide strips.
2 Set aside.
3 Put the water, wine, zest, and dill in a deep frying pan.
4 Bring it up to the boil.
5 Reduce heat to a simmer.
6 Add salmon.
7 Simmer for 5-6 mins until the fish flakes easily.
8 For the sauce combine ingredients in a bowl.
9 Season well.
10 Serve salmon on a bed of the cucumber, make it look really pretty.
11 Drizzle with the sauce.

"god, I'd love to turn this little blue world upside down", Tori Amos

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be obtained." -Marie Curie

pamilyn's picture

(post #33552, reply #25 of 45)

I don't think you should do a sweet dressing with your sweet salmon. JMO. I would do a wild rice side with that maple salmon and I would pick a veggie that is in season. Not asparagus.

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

meowow's picture

(post #33552, reply #28 of 45)

Do you have any other salad ideas? I am ready to impress so any and all feedback is welcome.

pamilyn's picture

(post #33552, reply #30 of 45)

Any nice red wine or balsamic vin. would be good. You have to use GOOD STUFF. Good olive oil and good vinegar. Pamilyn

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

meowow's picture

(post #33552, reply #31 of 45)

Yeah, I have some really high quality stuff from Zingerman's in Ann Arbor. So ust a simple vinaigrette with greens?

Gretchen's picture

(post #33552, reply #32 of 45)

And when making the vinaigrette, do it the French way--a lot more oil than acid/vinegar.  It is the thing that makes French salads just SO good.

Gretchen

Gretchen
marie-louise's picture

(post #33552, reply #33 of 45)

That is one of the things that makes a French salad so good. The other thing is that they use much less dressing-so all in all, you aren't eating any more oil.

msm-s's picture

(post #33552, reply #34 of 45)

how about a hefty caraway fondue? :-P

everything sounds great so far!
IMO, salmon is the standout and plain, but excellent, whipped potatoes are lovely with such a strong flavor. to be festive, use a pastry bag with fancy tip to pipe them around a platter and broil.
i, for one, am greatly appreciative of holiday meals that are not laden with fats. the menu that sounds most appealing to me so far is the original spicy salmon, wild rice or whipped potatoes, asparagus and the salad mentioned in post #12 (possibly hold the dressing and provide 2 or 3 choices at the table)