When there aren’t any children in attendance for Christmas Eve, it really can become a free for all.
Somewhere deep inside you all of the rules and restrictions that were imposed upon you around Christmas as a child suddenly have the need to be disobeyed.
“Please can we open one present???”
“Please can I eat some candy??”
“Please can we stay up late??”
So when you are a grown up……you can do whatever you WANT!!
My tradition with these particular relatives is that on Christmas Eve, instead of a dinner of any kind, I make a bunch of party snacks and we sit around and have a casual time eating them and having a drink or two. Or as my Scottish cousin likes to say “Let’s have a wee Beaujolais!” Which pretty much refers to all alcohol beverages!
So the menu on this night was:
- Beets with goat cheese and spicy sweet walnuts with a balsamic drizzle
- Smoked salmon and boursin cheese on cucumber
- Spicey sausage balls
- Yam cakes
- Stuffed mushrooms
- Dates with bacon
- Cheesey puff crackers
- Caramelized onion tarts
Beets with goat cheese and spicy sweet walnuts:
Boil up a few red beets, skin on, until tender. Let cool, peel and slice into 1/4 inch rounds and top with goat cheese and sprinkle with toasted ( or in my case I sweetened and spiced) walnuts and then drizzle with balsamic and oil.
Smoked salmon and boursin cheese on cucumber:
Exactly how it sounds. Cream together some smoke salmon and boursin cheese and top it onto rounds of cucumber. I cut one inch chucks on an angle and then hollowed out the centre so the salmon wouldn’t fall off.
Spicy sausage balls:
1 pound of bulk spicy sausage meat. 1 medium jalapeno pepper finely chopped. 1/2 cup corn niblits ( fresh, frozen or canned) 1/2 cup grated smoked cheddar cheese, 1 cup of pre made biscuit mix. Mix all ingredients together thoroughly and then form into balls. Bake on a cookie sheet lined in parchment paper until toasty brown. I served this with a dipping sauce of sour cream with chipolte sauce.
Caramelized onion tarts:
One package of store-bought puff pastry, rolled out into 4×4 inch squares on to a baking sheet. Meanwhile caramelize some onions and then further cook them down with a generous slosh of balsamic vinegar to sweeten them further. Then top the squares of pastry with a few spoonfuls of onion mixture, a few of the spicy sweet walnuts ( or other nuts, pine nuts etc) and a light handful of grated cheese like a white cheddar or blue. Then bake in the over according to instructions on the pastry package, or until the pastry puffs and the cheese melts.
The snacks were all a big hit.
But contrary to what I believed about being a grown up on Christmas, there was one stick in the mud amongst us ( I won’t say WHO) who simply wouldn’t give in to the peer pressure and could not be persuaded to let us open our presents before bed!! Imagine! I mean we could stay up as late as we wanted and sleep in as long as we wanted, so why would there be rules about “Christmas morning”??
Oh well, some people just like tradition!