12.25.10: dinner (a low-key Christmas)

Sticky Lemon Chicken with Orzo Pasta Salade with Mozzarella, Cherry Tomatoes, Green Onions and Red Peppers

Christmas comes but once a year, luckily. Okay, I don’t mean that. But it’s hard when you’re young marrieds you can find yourself at the mercy of two families instead of one and the maneuvering gets… difficult. Since we just completed an odd-numbered year, we did Thanksgiving and Christmas day with my parents and Easter and Christmas Eve with Elizabeth’s. My family had a large dinner planned with friends December 26th, so between the Eve and that, a big Christmas feast is right out. So, E and I offered to make the non-feast, far from home on Christmas night.

Spanish-Inspired Salad

I decided to take on this meal like a large weeknight dinner. I feel like my weeknight stuff is tasty but seriously unfussy and not too strong or spicy so as not to offend the more delicate palates (my mom). I always am a fan of my Gordon Ramsay-based sticky chicken, and I’m guessing that the mom/dad/bro/sis aren’t used to this these flavors. They cook delicious food, but it’s mostly Italian dishes and this was anything but. To hedge my bets, I accompanied the chicken with some orzo, tomatoes, mozzarella and scallions, just in case. Finally, I decided to employ a jazzed-up Barcelona-style salad with roasted peppers, eschewing bottled dressing for an egg yolk lemon aioli. I didn’t tell the fam they had eaten raw egg until the next day, as they scare easily.

Browning the chicken parts...

Everyone loved dinner and insisted that I reveal EVERY secret behind its construction, showing clearly that they don’t read this website enough. Oh well. So, sometimes they key to an impressive meal is an execution of your favorite basics in a new place or for a new crowd. So, build your repertoire and you will never be at a loss. Until next time friends, cook on!

  1. Tracy said:

    The egg yolk lemon aioli sounds like something I’d like to try.

  2. Kim said:

    Kudos to sticking with what you know. Last year for Christmas (2009), I wanted to impress my brother with his favorite “bloomin’ onion,” and it was disaster. Because I had no idea what I was doing. So the next year (2010), I stuck with what I knew – classic French Onion Soup. Could do it in my sleep. And surprise surprise, it was a hit. 🙂


    • Deep-frying things on a holiday is always a recipe (ha–pun!) for disaster. Frankly, I’d MUCH rather have your French Onion soup.

  3. Kim said:

    Forgot to mention: I grew up with the dish pattern shown in your first picture! Wow, brings back memories. 🙂


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