Posted by: Hil | December 27, 2008

Christmas Eats

Christmas Eve


Christmas Eve at the in-laws house means raclette.  As you can see, a raclette is a little double-decker grill/melting device.  The idea is simple.  First, you prepare little dishes of assorted chopped toppings, such as meats, cheese, garlic, onion and vegetables.  Everyone creates their own combinations of toppings, usually by grilling up some things on the top layer, then scraping them into a little melting dish with some cheese.  Then you take the resulting yummy concoctions and scrape them over potatoes to eat.  It is a fun, varied, social dinner.  I like to vary my bites as much as possible, but I think my favorite combination of the night was red pepper, onion, mushroom, bacon and havarti.  So good!

The Lemonator’s family opens presents on Christmas Eve, so we got to open our Christmas presents immediately after raclette.  Based on the presents that I received, I think people have noticed that I am a bit of a foodie.  First, my sister-in-law gave us a beautiful sushi making kit, complete with cookbook, chopsticks, rolling mat, rice molds, and bowls for dipping sauce.  I am incredibly excited about this!  The husband packed it up before I could get a picture of it, but I can’t wait to try it.  Then the Lemonator’s parents gave us a McCormick and Schmick’s cookbook , which we are also excited to try out.  The recipes look great.  The Lemonator, true to form, immediately zeroed in on a lemon butter sauce that he wants to try.


Then, my big surprise.  The in-laws remembered how much I love orzo and how much trouble I was having finding a whole grain version, so they bought me three and a half pounds of whole wheat orzo!  I think this means that my favorite orzo salad is going to be a lunch staple next semester!


Christmas Day

On Christmas Day, we opened our stocking stuffers and I got even more fun foodie gifts.  My father-in-law Santa brought me an assortment of my favorite German sweets.  I got two bars of my favorite lavender-blueberry dark chocolate mousse bars and a big bag of Haribo gummy bears.  I have no idea why I love gummy bears so much…I typically prefer dark chocolate candy over sweet fruity candy.  But there is something about a really fresh, well-made gummy bear that I just can’t resist, and the ones from Germany are fantastic.


Delicious as the candy looked, we decided that something more substantial would be a good idea for breakfast.  The Lemonator’s mom slipped on a patch of ice and hurt her back and both his dad and sister were sick, so I volunteered to make breakfast.  I love cooking in the in-laws’ kitchen.  It’s huge and high tech and there’s enough room for lots of people to cook at the same time.  It’s a fun change from our little kitchen.


I decided that a frittata featuring raclette-leftovers was the best way to go.  I started by chopping and frying a few pieces of bacon.


When thhe pieces were crispy, I took them out to drain on a paper napkin-lined plate.


Next, I added a few tablespoons of chopped onion to the bacon grease.  If you wanted to, you could drain off the bacon grease and use olive oil instead, but the bacon grease tastes so good!


When the onions were slightly softened, I added a couple tablespoons of chopped red bell pepper.  I would have added more, but the peppers went quickly at raclette the night before so there wasn’t much left.  I seasoned the onion-pepper mixture with salt, pepper, and cumin.


I was short on eggs, so I decided to use some of the leftover potatoes to add bulk.  Besides, eggs and potatoes taste great together.  The potatoes were already cooked, so I just let them heat through and get a little bit browned on the outside.  Depending on how much bacon grease you had and how brown you like your potatoes, you may need to add a little extra olive oil at this point.


Next, in went five eggs.  I turned down the heat and let the eggs set.  When the eggs were about half-way set, I added the crumbled bacon back in.  When the eggs were almost completely set, I crumbed some cheddar cheese over the top and finished it under the broiler.


I garnished the finished slices with cilantro.  (The Lemonator wouldn’t let me add any to the actual frittata.  It ended up being very tasty.  Adding potatoes to an egg dish is a really good way to make it extra hearty and filling.  With a piece of fruit, this midmorning breakfast held me for several hours.


The Lemonator enjoyed his cilantro-less slice.  Here he is looking skeptical as to why his mother is taking his picture instead of sitting down so that he can eat his food.


Christmas Dinner


Christmas dinner was a traditional feast featuring a large rib-eye roast–the Lemonator’s favorite.  Rib-eye has never been my favorite cut of beef, but I must admit that I was extremely impressed with the beautiful crust the father-in-law achieved.  I later learned that his secret was rubbing the roast with large amounts of cranberry mustard.  I knew that mustard tasted good on everything, but it had never occurred to me to try it on beef.

My contribution to the meal was a simple dish of steamed brussel sprouts with lemon and olive oil.  I would have roasted them, but the roast took up all of the room in the oven.  They still tasted good steamed, and a light preparation tasted good with the rich beef.


But my favorite part of the meal was the warm, crusty sourdough bread.  I ate mine with butter, of course.  It was wonderful:  soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside, and with that perfect sourdough taste.



While airport food will never be the highlight of anyone’s holiday, I must take a moment to express my deep affection for SeaTac’s food court.  Get this:  the food isn’t marked up!  Seriously!  And they have lots of perfectly edible options.  When we first flew in, I grabbed a BLT on a toasted whole wheat bagel for dinner.  It would have been better without the mayo (they put it on before I could think to tell them not to and I was too tired to ask for a new one), but other than that, it was a perfectly respectable sandwich.  And anytime I can find something whole grain in an airport, I’m a happy camper.


On my way out of Seattle, I picked up a grilled vegetable “naked”  (i.e. no tortilla) burrito for lunch.  This was very tasty and filling.


The husband picked up fish and chips at the SeaTac Ivars.  I stole a few bites of his food.  I love Ivar’s fish and chips and I usually get them when I’m at SeaTac, but I was in the mood for something a little less fried yesterday.  But if you are ever passing through SeaTac, I highly recommend seeking out some fish and chips.


We are home now for 24 hours before driving off to Northern California to see my family.  This break is going by in a whirlwind!



  1. I’ve actually never heard of a raclette before – intriguing!!

    Looooove your kitchen!!

    Have a safe trip to CA!!

  2. Hahah awesome! Everything looks great!
    Have a save drive!

  3. i LOVE new kitchen tools like the raclette… now im off to google it and see if i can get one 🙂

  4. I’ve never heard of a raclette. Very cool!

    I’ve been looking for whole wheat orzo for so long! I am super jealous. How nice of them to think of you!

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