Christmas Eve Feast

Dinner is served!

For two months, Chef Bill has been talking about his plans for his holiday dinner (thankfully, Bailie and I are invited). The  meal would center around his rookie attempt of Demi-glaze. So, that means red meat.

What else we he surprise us with? A completely decadent meal…slaved away for hours to make every bite perfect (and fabulous).

  • Mashed potatoes (more accurately riced potatoes)
  • Roasted squash with walnuts
  • And, of course, the filet mignon with Demi-glaze

And then it was time for dessert…

  • A pile of traditional homemade Christmas cookies
  • Cranberry pudding cake, a Meyer Christmas tradition
  • And way too many Fleur de sel caramels

Time for bed. And sugar plums dancing in our heads.

Holiday Baking Traditions

Another great way I enjoy the holidays is finding a new treat recipe to try…and possibly add to the list for next year. This year’s attempt knocked it out of the park. F – A – B – U – L – O – U – S.

If you don’t know, I am sucker for a great caramel dipped in super dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt. I know these days you can find them almost anywhere. Most of them are over priced and not very good. Fran’s (who rumored to create this treat) are my baseline. Boehm’s are my favorites. Partly because the caramel outweighs the chocolate. And I get four bites from each square. {{Maybe nibble is a better word.}} 

So in honor of my love of sea salt and caramel (plus dark chocolate dipping skills learned a few month ago), I went in search of a recipe. I settled on one of Ina’s.

Fleur de sel caramels

{{Decided it was better to get the caramel right instead of worrying about finding the double-whammy of chocolate and caramel.}} My touch was using both fleur de sel and chocolate fleur de sel – and I used more than the recipe called for both in melting and sprinkling. I also figured out that I don’t have a candy thermometer. But never fear, Bing gave me a great tip on how to use a glass of water as my temperature gauge. Bottom line: Thank you, Ina! 

And the next day (after restraining myself from sitting down and eating the whole batch), I did a little semi-sweet chocolate dipping. The downside of this recipe is you do have to refrigerate – and the chocolate gets a bit too hard. Still, after 10 minutes, the chocolate fleur de sel caramel was DELICIOUS!

An Evening Downtown

What a better way to enjoy the holidays than an evening under the lights around downtown Seattle including dinner in the market and a performance at Benaroya Hall? Even Ebenezer Scrooge would have been in the holiday spirit by the end of the night!

We started with dinner at Il Bistro.

Our appetizers: 

  • Bruschetta al Pomodoro  Grilled Tuscan Bread, Vine Ripened Tomatoes, Garlic, Basil, Sicilian Olive Oil
  • Carpaccio Thinly Sliced Beef Tenderloin, White Truffle Citronette, Shaved Parmigiano, Capers, Red Onion & Arugula
  • Antipasto Misto A Selection of Italian Salumi with Smoked Mozzarella & Marinated Vegetables

My entree:

Gnocchi — Housemade Potato Dumplings in a Sweet Tomato Sauce with Romano Cream, Basil & Parmesan

My dessert:

Torta Cioccolato — Flourless Chocolate-Espresso Tort with Raspberry Coulis & Fresh Cream

And finished at Benaroya Hall enjoying Handles Messiah.

Each year, I think I will get tickets for Handels Messiah. The radio commericals always pull me in! And this year, we finally got our act together and got tickets early (at the Day of Music).

Our balcony seats provided an excellent view of the Seattle Symphony, the Seattle Symphony Chorale and the soprano, the tenor, the counter-tenor and the baritone. We were so close that you could see the conductor’s emotion as he turned toward musicians to his left.  {{We could also see the un-natural blonde streaks in the counter-tenors hair, Bai pointed out several times.}} Of course, the “Hallelujah” chorus stole the show. FABULOUS!

Oh, and some one now wants to learn to play the violin.

The location:

Il Bistro | 93A Pike Street | Seattle WA | 206.682.3049 | Website