Twas the Night before Christmas and the wonderful aromas of our traditional Italian dinner were permeating throughout the house making us all anxious to have this fabulous meal. This Christmas Eve dinner has been a tradition in my husband's family going back for generations.
Let's begin with the scene this morning:
When I came into the kitchen I was surprised to see the bread dough that only covered the bottom of this large bowl last night had mushroomed into a gigantic ball. I added extra dough this year and didn't think about the consequences. I was extremely happy that I had it covered with plastic wrap, otherwise it would have overflowed onto the counter top. Oh My, what a mess that would have made.
sugar. It takes awhile to fry them, but well worth the effort. Of course a lot of them are eaten right out of the frying pan under the notion that they might not be quite done inside.
(UMM... I think I just gained another five pounds)
My son Michael, who is a fantastic cook, has added baking to his repertoire.
He made the most delicious Mexican Wedding Cookies also know as Russian Tea Cookies. I had never had these cookies and was delighted with the outcome. When he added the finishing touches, I thought they looked like little snow balls. Talk about delicious, they had a wonderfully nutty, buttery flavor and the confectioners sugar not only made them look so pretty but added to the flavor as well.
NOW, ONTO THE ENTREE..
Our tradition consists of two seafood dishes, a spaghetti dish with marinara
suce and fried smelts. The first one is made with calamari. It took me years before I would try this wonderful dish, but when I did, I wondered what on earth took me so long. I look forward to having this every year. This picture of the calamari shows it still in the pot that it was cooked in. It is mixed into a bowl of spaghetti for the final presentation to the meal.
The second one is an Anchovy sauce which is also mixed into a bowl of spaghetti. My sons love this dish and it is so easy to prepare.
The smelts, however, are quite a process. First the cleaning which takes awhile, because we had four pounds of these little beauties. Then there is the filleting, battering and then frying them to a golden brown. Everyone loves them. They are salty, crispy and downright delicious. My son's, Chef Michael along with his sous chef, Charlie, were in charge and I must tell you, they did an outstanding job.
The centerpiece for the table was given to my husband and me from his parents years ago.This is the first time that I have used it as a centerpiece and thought it looked beautiful with the white dishes.
My four year old Grandson said Grace, then sang a little prayer he learned at his pre-school. It was incredibly sweet.
My table was blessed with the presence of Charlie, Tina, Little C, Michael, his friend Joey and her sons Caden and Ethan. I wished that Trina, George, and my Grandchildren George and Melissa could have been with us. It certainly would have made the day complete.