After making a successful dinner for my dad last weekend, I decided to make a 3+ course dinner for my aunt (she’s here from Russia for 2 weeks) and my parents. I really love having people over for dinner, but I also get a little nervous about making sure that everyone’s happy. Adam was a big help in prepping the space. The Christmas tree was ready for our guests…
Our house smells like Christmas!!
Fresh flowers in the vase…
And the dining room table set…
Everybody – have some wine! [This was a fantastic Chianti my dad brought.]
We started with a nice salad: mixed greens, arugula, roasted apples, pomegranate seeds and hazelnuts
I thought all the salad ingredients complemented each other really well – the sweet and savory balance was spot on (she pats herself on the back…). 😀
I followed this recipe for the dressing (cut the oil by 1/2).
These guys were inspired by a pasta I used to love at an old local restaurant in New York. They’re topped with vodka sauce, roasted asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts and a graded parmesan. Delicious!!
The star of the show: sweet-spicy glazed salmon. This is one of my favorite salmon recipes – I follow this recipe from Cooking Light, substituting 1/2 honey mustard and 1/2 country dijon mustard for Chinese-style hot mustard.
Haricot verts, steamed then sauteed in a tiny bit of EVOO with garlic.
Couscous pilaf (recipe based on p. 12 of The Best of Cooking Light, Great Plates) – ww couscous, dried cherries, almond slivers, lemon zest and S&P.
My plate (I ate 1/2 of it… getting stuffed!)
The salmon was a hit! This glaze is fabulous!! 😀
The cherries in the couscous were my favorite. I <3 cherries 😀
Let’s not forget the veggies. Simple preparation doesn’t mean simple taste.
The almond, cherry chocolate clusters made their appearance on the dinner table. This recipe is already becoming a staple in my entertaining repertoire because it takes just minutes to make and everybody loves these clusters!
All 12 were gobbled up!
My aunt also brought a dessert – a local specialty called “chuck chuck.” Her mother-in-law made this particular batch with nearly every ingredient home-grown. This is little homemade pastry noodles, fried then covered in a honey glaze. The eggs are from the chickens they have and the honey is from their own honey-combs. Pretty awesome. We picked on this sticky mess all night. Mmm…..
My first portion (I had a whole lot more of the chuck chuck)
Family pic for evidence 😉 Happy bellies…
I’m really in the holiday spirit now!! Thank you, parents, for my early Chanukkah cash. I’m off to shop! Oh, I have to go to work first? Ok, ok… 😀
See you guys later!