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Old 11-18-2007, 05:14 PM   #1
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Christmas Eve

After many years of "begging" I just inherited Christmas Eve. So now I need a menu. I am of Italian descent and remember when the meal consisted of only fish dishes. I don't want to go to that extreme but would like something along those lines. The number of guests will be in the 25 range. So my request is a menu. Including different courses. The meal itself doesn't have to require all sit down. Would like to have different stations. I am hoping (with fingers crossed) that Verablue sees this and offers some help! Thanks in advance for everyone's help!

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Old 11-18-2007, 05:53 PM   #2
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I'm of Italian descent, too, and I remember my grandmother making all of the different fish dishes. I don't make Christmas Eve dinner like she did; I do more of an appetizer thing for Christmas Eve. I've been making this for a few years and everyone loves it.

Hot Crab Dip
1/2 cup butter
4 T chopped green onions
3 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup half & half
1 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Tabasco to taste
2 lbs fresh lump crabmeat
Crackers and/or chips

Melt the butter on low heat in a medium size skillet.
Saute the green onions in the butter
Add the flour, salt & pepper; stir until smooth
Remove from heat and add the half & half slowly, stirring constantly
Return to the heat
Add the Gruyere and stir until melted
Stir in the lemon juice
Fold in the crab meat
Add a few shakes of Tabasco (optional)
Cook 5 minutes over low heat until heated through
Serve hot (chafing dish works best) with crackers and/or chips
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Old 11-18-2007, 07:23 PM   #3
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Crab Cakes
(Got this recipe from a restaurant called Jimmy's in Colorado). Complicated, but amazing. You can find this recipe on various web sites.

2 lb lump blue crabmeat
1/2C mayonnaise or homemade aioli
4t Old Bay
6 green onions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
2 large eggs
Salt and pepper
3 to 6 tablespoons fine bread crumbs (use just enough to help the cakes start to bind)
Canola-olive oil blend
Cocktail sauce (see below)
Flavored aioli

-Pick over the crabmeat to remove any shells. Be gentle, as the lumps of crab are delicate and will fall apart. Set aside. Mix together the mayonnaise, seafood seasoning, scallions, basil, eggs, and salt and pepper. Pour mixture over the crabmeat and with your hands gently mix together. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the crab mixture and continue to mix. Divide the mixture into 4 parts and mold the cakes with your hands (do not rinse off you hands between mixing and forming the cakes, as it is mixture on your hands that help the cakes stay together). -Refrigerate the cakes for at least 30 minutes.
-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
-Paint the crab cakes with a miniscule amount of oil and sear in a hot oven-safe skillet or on a griddle top until lightly golden brown on both sides. The cakes have such little binder that you need to be careful when flipping them over so that they don't fall apart. Place the pan in the oven for about 5 minutes, or to heat through.
-Serve with a red cocktail sauce and/or a flavored aioli.

Cocktail Sauce:
1 quart ketchup
2 tablespoons horseradish
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
Pinch cayenne
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

-Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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Old 11-18-2007, 08:49 PM   #4
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Okay, Girlfriend....

25 people, not all fish....right?

Start feeding people in the parlour...offer shrimp cocktail (and please feel free to not serve traditional cocktail sauce....a pesto mayonnaise would be lovely, and very christmasy looking). Do a hot clam dip, too. I could give you my mother in law's recipe, if you like.

I'd serve a cream of mussle soup, next (first course in the dining room), but if you want to skip the fish, how about tortellini en brodo?

I'd serve stuffed calamari next, stuffed with raisins, bread crumbs, chopped anchovies and pignoli nuts. I'd braise them in a sherry/clam juice sauce.

Would you consider a champagne sorbet at this time? It's the perfect way to get the fishy-ness out of everyone's mouth...

Pasta with clam sauce next.......or.......shells stuffed with ricotta served with a pomodoro sauce and chopped basil.

How do you feel about a crown roast??? Lots of people put stuffing in the middle...but I'd skip that, and serve the portions atop a bed of polenta with roasted chestnuts (peeled, please!!) and grilled shallots with a port sauce.

If you care to, a cheese course would be great now...or, serve a bed of greens with a goat cheese rillete and marinated orange slices (marinate in champagne and cloves)

For dessert, I'd serve strufoli, torrone and tiramisu.

If you are interested in any of my recipes, naturally, all you have to do is ask.

Buono natale
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Old 11-20-2007, 06:56 PM   #5
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Everything sounds wonderful! Thanks for the suggestions. Crab cakes sound tasty. Crab dip too!

I would like the recipe for the hot clam dip.

The calamari sounds very very interesting. Love to do that. My dad would love it.

I was thinking of something along the idea of a roast. Chestnuts seem appropriate but can't say I have had much experience with them. My mother used to boil them (not good). I would love to do the chestnuts.

I think the pasta with clam sauce would be my choice but should I do clam dip if I am doing clam sauce?

We have a great cheese shop near me so a cheese course would be a go. Would I serve greens and a cheese course? Or is it one or the other?

champagne sorbet? Sounds nice. Is this something I would make? If not would lemon sorbet be a good substitute?

Dessert....dead in the water. Not much of a baker. Maybe some Torrone and buy something. I am not far from the North End in Boston where I could pick up something.

Thanks all for you response. I am hopefully not as helpless as I sound on here!
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Old 11-20-2007, 07:59 PM   #6
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What about this mostly Italian and then a few other dishes to round it out.Maybe some french onion soup or maybe not.Ok back to Italian a couple of non fish pasta dishes like cappelini with a lemon cream sauce and maybe a sausage based pasta,mushroom brushetta or other kind.Finish off with some canoli and italian cream cake from the bakery.
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Old 11-20-2007, 08:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elaine l
After many years of "begging" I just inherited Christmas Eve. So now I need a menu. I am of Italian descent and remember when the meal consisted of only fish dishes. I don't want to go to that extreme but would like something along those lines. ...
Elaine - I'm a little confused (that doesn't take much at my age) - are you wanting to depart from celebrating the traditional "Feast of the 7 Fishes" for some reason - or are you just having trouble finding 7 "fish" recipes that don't require a sit-down dinner?

Will there be any sit-down eating - or a place for some people to sit and eat while others hover around and mingle - or does it all need to be stand-up buffet cocktail appetizer type fare?
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Old 11-20-2007, 10:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elaine l View Post
Everything sounds wonderful! Thanks for the suggestions. Crab cakes sound tasty. Crab dip too!

I would like the recipe for the hot clam dip.

The calamari sounds very very interesting. Love to do that. My dad would love it.

I was thinking of something along the idea of a roast. Chestnuts seem appropriate but can't say I have had much experience with them. My mother used to boil them (not good). I would love to do the chestnuts.

I think the pasta with clam sauce would be my choice but should I do clam dip if I am doing clam sauce?

We have a great cheese shop near me so a cheese course would be a go. Would I serve greens and a cheese course? Or is it one or the other?

champagne sorbet? Sounds nice. Is this something I would make? If not would lemon sorbet be a good substitute?

Dessert....dead in the water. Not much of a baker. Maybe some Torrone and buy something. I am not far from the North End in Boston where I could pick up something.

Thanks all for you response. I am hopefully not as helpless as I sound on here!
Before I address any of the rest of this post....if you are near the north end of Boston (and how jealous am I????????) you simply have to go to Michaels and get a dozen canoli. You have to.

I'll get back to the rest of this in the morning.
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Old 11-20-2007, 10:41 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by VeraBlue
Before I address any of the rest of this post....if you are near the north end of Boston (and how jealous am I????????) you simply have to go to Michaels and get a dozen canoli. You have to.

I'll get back to the rest of this in the morning.
LOL VB - a "dozen" canoli for 25 Italians on Chfistmas eve?
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Old 11-20-2007, 11:45 PM   #10
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Did you mistake the "a" for a "5" before the dozen? ;)
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Old 11-21-2007, 04:24 AM   #11
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I'm not sure a dozen cannoli would feed 12 Germans for our Christmas eve!
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Old 11-21-2007, 11:01 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael in FtW View Post
Elaine - I'm a little confused (that doesn't take much at my age) - are you wanting to depart from celebrating the traditional "Feast of the 7 Fishes" for some reason - or are you just having trouble finding 7 "fish" recipes that don't require a sit-down dinner?

Will there be any sit-down eating - or a place for some people to sit and eat while others hover around and mingle - or does it all need to be stand-up buffet cocktail appetizer type fare?
The reason is that I am not crazy about fish. This will be a sit down dinner but just don't care to spend all the time at the dining table. Appetizers and dessert not to be served at the table.
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Old 11-21-2007, 11:36 AM   #13
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My recipes won't acommodate 25, but here are some thoughts:

Antipasti or antipasti pasta salad

And/Or a seafood salad

Italian Wedding Soup

Seafood Ministrone (Have a recipe but, again, not for a large crowd.)

Ravioli Nudi (Naked Ravioli) - Here's a peek:
Global Holiday Recipe: Ravioli Nudi (Naked Ravioli)

Butternut squash-filled ravioli w butter sage sauce (posted here & on foodnetwork)

Or - Gnocci (gratin, etc.) (Posted a recipe here)

Or - Linguine and fresh clams

Main dish - if you were a fish lover, I would go with salmon wellintong (salmon wrapped in puff pastry)

Or a standing Rib Roast

Or roast and Yorkshire pudding, creamed corn & spinach (or spinach souffle)

Dessert - First thing that came to my mind:

Chocolate cannolli (buy the shells & fill yourself)

And/or Tartufo

Cheesecake - Everyone loves cheesecake.

Fruit /cheese/wine (Brie En Croute) - I like to serve w smoked oysters on crackers.

My head is filled w turkey right now, so remind me again after Thanksgiving

Have a great party
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Old 11-21-2007, 03:36 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Michael in FtW View Post
LOL VB - a "dozen" canoli for 25 Italians on Chfistmas eve?
Touché.....

What was I thinking?????????????????? hahahahha. In my defense, I did forget how many people were coming to dinner.

Or...the dozen canoli from Michaels are for me...?
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Old 11-29-2007, 01:19 AM   #15
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elaine I,
Using VeraBlue's idea, let me suggest you a different cocktail shrimp.

Cocktail ingredients
Three green apples
Cup of roasted walnuts
One Lb of cooked and peeled giant shrimp
One celery stalk cut in 1/2 inch slices
Two advocados
One lemon
Sugar to sprinkle over advocados (optional)
Marie-Rose sauce
4 tbspoons of mayo
4 tbspoons of ketchup
Lemon
Cayenne pepper
Horseradish (optional)

Preparation
Marie-Rose Sauce
Mix mayo and ketchup and add lemon juice and pepper to taste.
Add horseradish if desired.
Cocktail ingredients
Peel, remove seed and dice advocados, cut the lemon in half and squeeze one half over advocados ensuring all are wet. Optional: Sprinkle sugar over wet advocados, specially recommended if you prepare the Marie-Rose with horseradish.
Peel, remove seeds and dice apples, squeeze the other lemon half over the apples also ensuring all cubes are wet.
Mix advocados, walnuts, celery and apples.
Incorporate Marie-Rose sauce and mix.
Divide the mix in equal parts and put into glasses
Divide shrimp equally among glasses and add to the edges

This goes well with Prosseco.
I hope you like it, it should be made one hour before is served to avoid having black apples/advocados. Should serve 6/8 depending on the size of the cups you are using.
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Old 12-05-2007, 05:00 AM   #16
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For the main dish I'd go with a pasta with red sauce. A lasagna can be made in advance. I'm of French-Canadian background, so I have it easy .... tourtiere for everyone! Lots of meat.
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Old 12-05-2007, 10:02 AM   #17
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Here's an idea for gnocchi: A local tapas place serves a potato gnocchi with lump blue crab in cream sauce, topped with wilted spinach. It was just delicious.
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