Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Getting our Christmas on

Ann and I had a pretty great day Sunday, getting ready for Christmas. We planned to stay in, put up the tree, and cook, cook, cook. Aside from the few minutes I needed to run to the restaurant to pick up some meatball supplies, we stayed at home and got into the holiday spirit. Of course, a few mimosas to kick off the morning didn't hurt our spirits any.

The Christmas Cookie Elf

Mimosas to Get the Spirit Rolling
While Ann started getting her cookie things together in the morning, I mixed up some mimosas for us. We had a bottle of Conde de Subirats Cava in the fridge and while it wasn't all that awesome on its own, it made a great mimosa, the wine's abundant acidity cutting through the sweetness of the orange juice.

Smoked Sausage, Onion, Tomato, and Pesto Frittata
After I got back from erranding and while Ann was working on her cookies, I baked a smoked sausage, onion, tomato, and pesto frittata for our breakfast around 1pm. It was just the thing for a self-indulgent stay home meal, though neither Carter nor Ann liked the tomatoes in it. Note to self.

Making Chocolate Bark

Ricotta Christmas Cookies

Chocolate Covered Popcorn
Making cookies and putting up the fir tree consumed the afternoon. Along towards dark, I made meatballs. First thing in the morning, Ann decided she wanted spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread. Well, at least it made deciding what to make for dinner easy, but it did require a trip into town to collect supplies. She knows I don't really care for spaghetti as a pasta cut: it is too thin for my liking. Fortunately, I have a small cache (now depleted) of perciatelli at the restaurant for emergencies like this.

Pork Meatballs Braised in Marinara
These meatballs are 100% ground pork shoulder with red wine, cream, pesto, parsley, panko, grated pecorino romano cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. I like to make them about 3 ounces apiece because I want a meatball, not a scrawny little thing. The marinara is tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, basil, salt, and pepper, all blitzed up in the blender and poured over the meatballs. I cover the meatballs in marinara, wrap the whole thing in foil, and braise in a moderate oven for a couple hours. I am not a fan of browning meatballs before braising. Whatever it adds in flavor, I think it takes away in texture. My meatballs always have a soft, silky texture.

Perciatelli, Meatballs, Marinara, Garlic Bread
And here is our dinner complete with Ann's kick-ass garlic bread. She's a full-blooded Italian, so garlic is a basic vegetable at our house. No vampires need apply. I love her garlic bread! And, yes, yes, we know that meatballs and garlic bread are not appropriate garnishes for perciatelli with marinara. Did I mention that Ann is full-blooded Italian? You go ahead, taking your life into your own hands, and tell her how they eat pasta in the old country. Go ahead, I dare you!

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