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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What am I going to make?

As you may know I am hosting Christmas for the first time. My dining room is ready!

I have hosted many gatherings at my home and made plenty of splendid meals but this time, it seems larger than that. So what am I going to make??!! I sat down and planned my menu for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners. It had to be pretty simple as I did not want to be spending the day in the kitchen.

Jim wanted the traditional fish for Christmas Eve so I went in search of and found a wonderful recipe for salmon (love The Food Network).

Christmas Eve Menu:
Spicy Grilled Salmon with Mango, Radish, and Lime Salsa
Smoked Gouda and Roasted Garlic Potatoes
Roasted Medley of Vegetables
Tossed Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Warm French Baguette and Butter

Spicy Grilled Salmon with Mango, Radish, and Lime Salsa
2 mangoes, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks
1 red onion, chopped
6 red radishes, chopped, plus 1 sliced for garnish
2 limes, peeled and cut into segments
1 handful fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Southwest Spice Mix, recipe follows
1 (2 to 3 pound) salmon fillet
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Salsa, put all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped; set aside.
Heat the grill to medium high.
Drizzle some olive oil over the salmon and season it with salt and pepper. Gently rub 2 tablespoons of the Spice Mix into the salmon. Pour some olive oil onto a paper towel and rub the grill with it - this will help to prevent the fish from sticking. Grill the salmon flesh side down for about 12 to 15 minutes.

To serve, spread most of the Salsa onto a platter and place the salmon, skin side down, on top. Garnish with more Salsa, radish slices, cilantro, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Southwest Spice Mix:
2 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 tablespoons whole cumin
2 tablespoons whole coriander
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon sweet paprika

Put the ancho chiles, cumin, coriander, cinnamon stick, and paprika into a small dry skillet over medium-high heat, and toast the spices just until they begin to smell, about 1 minute. Empty into a spice mill and grind to a powder. (Caveat ~ I read a review where the person did not do all this but simply put the already ground spices in a skillet and it worked just fine ~ that's what I'll do too!).

I'm going to pair this recipe with ones I've created and have been doing for years.

Smoked Gouda and Roasted Garlic Potatoes
6 to 8 russet baking potatoes
~ 3/4 pound smoked Gouda cheese
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 head roasted garlic
1 cup light whipping cream
1/4 cup butter
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Shred Gouda and set aside. Coarsely chop red and green peppers and set aside. Scrub potatoes ~ do not peel. Cut potatoes into slices or cubes. Boil until tender. In small sauce pan place cream, butter, and garlic. Simmer over heat until butter is completely melted, stirring frequently. Place cooked potatoes and cream mixture into large bowl. Mash together until potatoes are fairly smooth. Fold in 2/3 of the Gouda cheese, red and green pepper. Add salt and pepper to taste. Please in oven safe baking dish with lid. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove from oven. Remove cover. Sprinkle remaining Gouda cheese and paprika on top and return to oven uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Let it stand for ~5 minutes before serving. (May be made ahead of time and reheated in oven).

Roasted Medley of Vegetables
1 large green zucchini
1 large yellow squash
2 sweet onions
several large carrots
2 tablespoons (or more) garlic infused extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon died basil

Cube all vegetables. Mixed in a large bowl all ingredients. Place all ingredients on one or two baking sheets. Bake in 350 degrees oven for 30 to 40 minutes (until vegetables are tender). Remove from oven. Let stand 5 minutes then transfer to serving bowl. Serve immediately.(I make my own garlic olive oil but you may purchase this at any grocery store).

Enjoy with family and friends!

Photos are not of actual recipes and are courtesy of The Food Network.


  1. Oh, those recipes sound so good! I love salmon and those mashed potatoes look amazing. Merry Christmas!

  2. Looks like a great collection of dishes and the dining room is gorgeous. Relax and enjoy!!

  3. OooOOo! Printing page*

    Sounds delicious! I now find myself incredibly hungry :)


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