A Christmas Dinner Gift

December 28, 2011 at 10:00 am 2 comments

My mom made it very clear to my sister and I that she did not want us to get her a Christmas present this year. Since both of us are still poor students and on the family “pay roll,” she didn’t want us spending money on her and my dad. “My gift is having both of you home,” she said over and over again. Cute, Mom, but we weren’t buying it. We couldn’t do nothing, considering everything you do for us! We decided to give them the gift of food: a gourmet dinner at home, cooked by us. We wanted them to have something to unwrap, so we got creative and stenciled some placemats and wine glasses as well. We set the table with our gifts and got to cooking!


Appetizer: Petite Beef Wellington and a Cucumber Gin and Tonic


My Food Network addiction finally paid off! I saw this recipe last year, and the idea stuck with me when my sister and I were brainstorming an appetizer that would thrill my dad. He is a meat lover, and so we knew our Christmas present had to present at least a few morsels of beef. With sauteed mushrooms and shallots wrapped with a bite of beef in puff pastry, this appetizer was a hit! The recipe is simple, with just 5 ingredients, and can be found here. Since this appetizer was Dad-inspired, we knew a gin and tonic was in order! To take it to another level, we mashed some cucumbers into the gin and let them sit for a half hour. We strained them from the gin, and then mixed a standard gin and tonic. The cucumbers really shone through, and added a nice twist to my dad’s classic favorite.


Salad: Warm Beets and Goat Cheese over Baby Spinach


Nothing is better than warm beets with baby spinach. We chopped the beets and roasted them with olive oil, salt and pepper for about an hour. We spooned them over a bowl of baby spinach leaves with crumbled goat cheese, olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, and cracked black pepper. The warm beets made the goat cheese melt in your mouth, and the spinach was tender and amazing. I would eat this salad every day if I could!

Entrée: Lobster Ravioli with Vodka Cream Sauce


We flew by the seat of our pants for this part of the meal! We cooked two lobster tails, chopped them, added them to melted butter and some reduced white wine, stirred in some sauteed shallots and grated Parmesan cheese, and allowed it to simmer for a minute or two. The filling was not quite thick enough for ravioli, so we made a roux of flour with a bit of milk, and that thickened the filling perfectly. We spooned that onto sheets of fresh pasta dough, and cut out the ravioli. My sister made a vodka cream sauce that complemented it perfectly. She doesn’t follow a recipe for this sauce, telling me that she “cooks by color.” The base of the sauce was sauteed onion and garlic with a bit of vodka. After the alcohol cooked off, she added some tomato puree and paste, seasoned it, and added light cream until it was the perfect reddish-pink. We spooned the sauce over three cooked ravioli and served it with a touch more of shredded cheese. Another hit! My sister and I are perfectionists, and so we were disappointed that the lobster was a little chewy and overcooked. However, the flavor of the filling for the ravioli was amazing, and the sauce my sister created was a highlight. My parents loved it!


Dessert: Rum Poached Pears with Dulce de Leche Ice Cream


As good as the rest of the meal was, this was the true highlight! We found a great recipe at Baking Bites, and followed it exactly (with just a 1/2 cup less sugar). The pears were so sweet and took up the rum and vanilla flavors, and practically fell apart in your mouth . We reduced the rest of the liquid to make a caramel sauce, and then served the melt-in-your-mouth pears with a scoop of dulce de leche ice cream. We wanted to serve them with egg nog ice cream, but couldn’t find any at the grocery store! (We know this exists out there somewhere, my sister has definitely seen that flavor before!) Our game plan was to use creme brulee ice cream instead, but a brain fart during my grocery run led to my picking up dulce de leche. Still a great combo with the pears, though! Next Christmas, maybe someone will ask for an ice cream maker so we can make our own eggnog ice cream! ;)

The meal was a success, and it has been another great Christmas with my family. I am so thankful for this past year, with all of its highs and lows, new experiences, and great memories. Now that our Christmas celebrations are over, we can look forward to the next year!


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide  |  December 28, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    That is such a cool gift and you guys are pretty artistic. Love the pears too.

    • 2. homemadeadventure  |  December 31, 2011 at 11:17 am

      Thanks! I love poached pears because they are so simple but elegant and tasty!


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