So, nine sleeps left until the Big Day arrives for another year. Whether you love the hustle, bustle, tinsel and bows of the holiday season or (like me) wish you could hop onto a pane bound for Tahiti for a month and avoid it all, the fact is that most of us will be entertaining at least a few extra people in the next couple weeks, and that obviously means preparing extra (and extra-special!) food and drink too.
This year is a first for us in terms of the sheer number of holiday / celebratory meals we've got on the go, especially the ones we're hosting. Today was a potluck lunch/dinner shindig at my second cousin's home (which I managed to avoid!), which is always a (mostly) delicious mashup of crockpot meatballs, shrimp rings, 7 layer dip and of course the dessert tray to end all dessert trays. Along with our go-to Caesar salad (which admittedly comes out of a boxed kit), Mom's bringing her (now favourite) Italian Salami Pasta Salad with Lemon Parmesan Vinaigrette. My contribution,even though I wasn't attending in person, was pecan pie biscotti.Then, keeping in the Italian traditions of my stepfamily, we're once again hosting the big seafood feast on Christmas Eve. Although this is a source of enjoyment for my stepfather and stepbrother, it's a lot of work to plan, prepare, time, cook and serve everything - especially since we only have one kitchen and my mom is stuck doing all the work! Christmas day is usually our day of relative relaxation, since we normally just do a simple brunch of peameal bacon, scrambled eggs, challah and brioche and then head over to my grandparents' house for turkey dinner. Of course, this year, things have changed slightly in the family - and so my grandma's not shouldering the brunt of the work for one big meal, my mom is taking the torch for that dinner too!
One of our favourite easy-yet-elegant special occasion starters is a warm bowl of Potato-Leek Soup. My version's a little different than my mom's heavy cream, roux-thickened decadent (and delicious) potage, though it's still a rich, "special treat" course. It starts with a buttery saute of leeks, onions, potatoes and parsnip, gets fleshed out with evaporated milk and flavoured simply with a few select herbs. At the end, for presentation's sake, a garnish of fresh chives (and chive blossoms, if you have them) seals the deal.
With all those meals to contend with (not to mention the normal day to day eating in between!) it helps to have some ideas for treats to get the festive mood started. The #SundaySupper Team is having a Holiday Cocktails and Appetizers party, and everyone's invited! With an amazing assortment of recipes, it's easy to have a party for two or twenty this holiday, on any budget and for any style. Conni from The Foodie Army Wife is our host this week.
- Glühwein from Magnolia Days
- Cookies-n-Cream Cocktails from The Urban Mrs
- Cranberry Fizz from Dinners, Dishes and Desserts
- Rosemary Orange Punsch from Galactopdx
- Candy Cane Martini from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Raspberry Hot Chocolate from Momma’s Meals
- Chocolate Peppermint Eggnog from The Daily Dish Recipes
- Jamaican Sorrel from The Lovely Pantry
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate Spoons from Chocolate Moosey
- Homemade Eggnog from Flour on my Face
- Moroccan Mint Tea from MarocMama
- Cherry Bomb from Noshing with the Nolands
- Wassail from There And Back Again
- Cranberry Sparkler Mocktail from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Pomegranate Cosmo from Supper For A Steal
- Poinsettia Mimosas from Big Bear’s Wife
- Mulled Wine: Spiked and Steamy from Daddy Knows Less
- Poinsettia Cocktails from The Catholic Foodie
- The Red Carpet Diva from Cooking Underwriter
Appetizers or Hors d’oeuvres
- Cheese Ball Wreath from The Meltaways
- Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tarts from My Catholic Kitchen
- Prosciutto Goat Cheese Rolls with Fig Preserves and Arugula from Shockingly Delicious
- Muenster and Spinach Pinwheels from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Drunk Moose Meatballs from The Foodie Army Wife
- Smoked Salmon Blinis with Cranberry-Spiced Feta from Chattering Kitchen
- Sticky Wholegrain Mustard & Ginger Cocktail Sausages from girlichef
- Potato Leek Soup from What Smells So Good
- Cheesy Mushroom Pull Apart Bread from Small Wallet Big Appetite
- 5 Quick & Easy Appetizers for Your Holiday Party from Webicurean
- Bacon Peanut Caramel Corn from Gotta Get Baked
- Crostini topped with Voodoo Chicken Cream Dip from Country Girl in the Village
- Mushroom Strudel from Vintage Kitchen
- Roxanne’s Shrimp & Andouille Sausage Queso Dip from The ROXX Box
- Herbed Holiday Party Mix from Curious Cuisiniere
- Old fashioned Swedish Meatballs from I Run For Wine
- Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Bites from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Fried Green Beans with Wasabi Ranch from Juanita’s Cocina
- Salsa Baked Cheese from Home Cooking Memories
- Cookie Dough Dip from The Cookie-A-Day Challenge
- Parmesan Onion Rounds from Kudos Kitchen by Renee
- Lip-smacking Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs from In The Kitchen with KP
- Hot Spinach Parmesan Dip from Comfy Cuisine
- Indian Spiced Tuna Balls from Soni’s Food
- Onion marmalade with Bacon from Ruffles and Truffles
- Sweet Potato Dip from Mama’s Blissful Bites
- Festive Cucumber & Ginger Sushi Rolls from The Ninja Baker
- Baked Jalapeno Popper Ranch Dip from Weekend Gourmet
- Baked Brie from Family Foodie
- Hoisin Asisan Meatballs from Damn Delicious
In honor of the Sandy Hook victims and their families, we have cancelled our regularly scheduled #SundaySupper Chat this week. Let this be a time when we renew our faith in the power of love and realize the importance of time with our families.
Leek and Potato Soup
Makes 6 "lunch" servings
3 tbsp salted butter
3 large leeks (white and light green parts), sliced and rinsed well
1 large sweet onion, chopped
10 oz Yukon Gold or red-skinned potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large parsnip, peeled and diced
1 2/3 cup evaporated 2% milk
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 - 1/2 tsp sea salt, to taste
white pepper, to taste
fresh chives and/or chive blossoms, to serve
- Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat.
- Add the leeks and onion, stir to coat with the butter and cover.
- Cook 10 minutes, then stir in the potatoes and parsnip and re-cover.
- Cook a further 10 minutes.
- Pour in the milk and broth, then add the bay leaves, rosemary, salt and pepper.
- Cover and simmer 30 minutes, until the vegetables are falling apart.
- Remove bay leaves.
- Using an immersion blender (or working in batches in a standard blender), puree smooth.
- Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve.
Total Fat: 7.3 g
Cholesterol: 25.9 mg
Sodium: 177.4 mg
Total Carbs: 27.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.0 g
Protein: 6.5 g