I know this is a few days late. But I hope you will cut me some slack. I wrapped, I cooked, I cleaned, and then Iumped around.
That’s right. I cooked!
Christmas dinner came out of the Itty Bitty City Kitchen this year!
And there was no skimping on the food just because it’s a small space, oh no! It’s Christmas! There needs to be an overabundance of food. I mean, I’m Italian. And my fiance is Greek and Armenian. It’s all about the food on both sides.
So I have to admit, I was a little nervous to cook the big holiday dinner. I mean, you get one Christmas dinner a year. Talk about pressure!
And I knew this year would be a little harder without meme here with us. So instead of worrying and stressing, I took a deep breath and decided to do Christmas my way. I talked to meme about it first. She told me not to worry and to do it my way.
I tend to talk to her when I’m in the kitchen. Cooking was a passion we both shared. That and our love for family, especially for Christopher. My god, I’ve never seen a grandmother love her grandsons so fiercely.
But anyway. The food. We decided to do a combination of Greek and Armenian mezze and Italian antipasto, a fusion of our families.
It started with meme’s hummus. That is the only hummus recipe you will ever need.
Then we added pita, olives, salami, prosciutto, and basturma (a seasoned and cured meat)
The we brought out the brie (the Armenian side of the family went to France after the genocide so there’s a mix of French and Armenian there), mozzarella, provolone, kasseri (a Greek sheep’s milk cheese) and Armenian String Cheese (no, I did not make that up)
We left this array of munchies out and everyone picked at it while we relaxed, drank some wine and, of course, opened presents!
After gifts were exchanged and thank yous were said, I got started on dinner.
I actually started dinner a few days prior by making a big pot of meatballs and gravy. I just doubled my usual recipe. I also fried up some sweet Italian sausage and added that to the pot of gravy as well.
I stored it in the fridge for three days, so the flavors could, okay dad’s word all together now, fester. Then on Christmas morning I pulled out the pot and pot it over a low flame, stirring occasionally, and filling the whole apartment with that awesome smell of meatballs and gravy.
To accompany the meatballs, I went with stuffed shells. They don’t require boiling. You throw some gravy on them and throw them in the oven, so you’re not standing at the stove and then draining pasta and dirtying another pot like you would if you were making raviolis say.
Instead, preheat the oven to 350 (or follow the directions on your package), pull out an aluminum baking tray, and layer gravy, shells and then more gravy in the pan. Top with mozzarella (because we didn’t eat enough cheese) and bake for about 45 minutes.
The cheese will get bubbly and melty.
And despite the amount of mezze/antipasto consumed, everyone will find room for a meatball or 2 or 3 and a few shells.
And as if that wasn’t enough, for dessert we had fruit salad, chocolate chips and Dad’s Favorite – the Cheesecake Thing
So, don’t be intimidated. Cook what you love. Cook what makes you happy.
And you can have an Itty Bitty City Kitchen Christmas too!
Shnorhavor Surb Tsnund