That's right. I cooked Christmas Eve Dinner. And it was actually less challenging than Thanksgiving, where I cooked for eleven people. Christmas Eve was more simple and I only had to cook for six people. The menu consisted of Spinach Artichoke Dip served with Tortilla Chips, Potatoes Au Gratin, Traditional Green Been Casserole, Fettucine Alfredo with Chicken and Mushrooms, Caesar Salad, blackened Cajun catfish (how cute is that name!? CATFISH!), and two Racks of Lamb. Let's just say that the oven got a nice little workout for once. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas Eve/Christmas Dinner!
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Move oven rack to the center position.
2. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, garlic, rosemary, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss in 2 tablespoons olive oil to moisten mixture. Set aside.
3. Season the rack all over with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy oven proof skillet over high heat. Sear rack of lamb for 1 to 2 minutes on all sides. Set aside for a few minutes. Brush rack of lamb with the mustard. Roll in the bread crumb mixture until evenly coated. Cover the ends of the bones with foil to prevent charring.
4. Arrange the rack bone side down in the skillet. Roast the lamb in preheated oven for 12 to 18 minutes, depending on the degree of doneness you want. With a meat thermometer, take a reading in the center of the meat after 10 to 12 minutes and remove the meat, or let it cook longer, to your taste. Let it rest for 5 to 7 minutes, loosely covered, before carving between the ribs.
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (I cut this in half & it was perfect)
2 teaspoons lemon pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1 pound catfish fillets
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup Italian-style salad dressing
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking dish.
2. In a shallow, medium bowl, mix cayenne pepper, lemon pepper, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
3. Brush both sides of catfish fillets with butter. Rub fillets with the cayenne pepper mixture on both sides.
4. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until really hot. Add fillets, and fry approximately 2 minutes on each side, until slightly blackened.
5. Arrange blackened fillets in a single layer in the prepared baking dish, and coat with Italian-style salad dressing. Bake 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until fish is easily flaked with a fork.
On Christmas Day we had Shabu Shabu, which is a traditional Chinese style of cooking everything in a big pot at the table. There were rice noodles, sliced beef, pork, and lamb, fish balls, beef balls, lots of delicious vegetables, mushrooms, etc. It was delicious and technically easy to "cook". It's reminiscent of a soupy Korean BBQ style and for Shabu Shabu (which ironically my mother cannot pronounce for the life of her) there are lots of delicious sauces you can buy/make to dip the meat in. Yummmm...