Thanksgiving may be all about food (and football), but Christmas has myriad elements besides the Roast Beast. Gift presentations and all that oohing and aahing, to be more precise.
Growing up, we had a turkey dinner on both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I am not allowed to repeat that tradition. For Dec. 25, "they" want an entirely different menu, and usually something different every year.
Serves me right. I created these monsters, albeit adorable ones. My mother used to call it being "hoisted on your own petard." Look it up.
It's not so bad, these days, as the little dears really seem to enjoy cooking together. So we do a co-op meal, with some of the elements cooked solo on their stoves and some cooked tout ensemble here at my place.
Whether you're on your own prepping the holiday meal this year or enlist help from family and friends, we proffer some elements from Christmases past at our house. No matter how your holiday takes shape, though, it's a good idea to keep in mind that it is the loving people with whom you spend your day(s) that makes the "season" something to anticipate every year. We wish you the warmest and merriest ever.
You can make this up to three days ahead. Bring to room temperature before serving. Besides the cheese wafers, you'll want to provide French bread toasts and/or crackers for spreading the pate.
1/3 cup each, dried currants and pistachio nut meats
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 stick unsalted butter
2 pounds chicken livers, trimmed
1/2 cup cognac or brandy
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
Pinch of ground allspice
In a bowl, cover currants with boiling water. Let stand 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
In a non-stick skillet, dry-roast pistachio nuts for about 10 minutes over medium heat. Watch carefully. Stir now and then. Let cool and chop finely. Keep currants and pistachios handy.
In a large, non-stick skillet, over medium heat, cook onion and garlic in butter until softened, about 5 minutes. Pat chicken livers dry, Add to skillet with onions/garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until barely pink inside, about 12 minutes. Add cognac and simmer 3 minutes. Transfer to a food processor (in batches, if need be). Add nutmeg, pepper and allspice. Puree mixture until very smooth. Cool.