Christmas 2014 has come and gone; my pine garlands have turned a muted shade of brown-green; my Christmas planter is more branch than holly; and the unwrapped gifts under our tree are in need of a permanent home. Exhausted from a holiday of celebration, I stayed put this past Sunday. Mike watched his football and I sat beside him and typed away on my new techy Christmas gift [thanks Mike!!!].
During the weeks leading up to Dec. 25th, I was adjusting to the idea and getting excited for a quiet Christmas; I’ve never experienced such a thing so I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy or be saddened by it. This quiet Christmas would also be an opportunity for Mike and me to establish new holiday traditions with just the 2 of us. Mike’s family is usually in town around this time but this year, their visits were before and are after the holidays and neither of us had flights booked for Winnipeg. However, the idea of a quiet Christmas lasted a whole 24hrs before our guest list grew to us + 4.
In comparison to other dinners we’ve hosted, this guest list is actually quite small. Considering head count, we made the clutch decision to make this dinner a sit-down; a 1st of us! By sheer limitation of condo size, we weren’t equipped for such a dining experience but I was determined to make it happen. In less than 48hrs, I hustled around downtown and picked up an assortment of items that I recall seeing on the table-scapes in movies and magazines. Though the pickings were slim, I got all items at great pre-Christmas markdown prices. With the fruits of my hustle and a quick swap of my work desk for the dining room table, I think I made out pretty good….and I even got to flex my new calligraphy muscles.
red + white table cloth | I have meters and meters of this fabric purchased for a total of $2 at a sample sale
Christmas crackers | HomeSense [$9/set of 6]
reindeer name card holders | Kitchen Stuff Plus [$3.19/set of 4]
marbled napkin rings | Indigo [$3/each]
cloth napkins | Bombay & Co. [$3.20/each]
charger plates | Kitchen Stuff Plus [$1.49/each]
As promised, here are the food details from our magical Christmas dinner.
In preparation for dinner, Mike and I took to Kensington Market and he raided the Latin food stores. He made out with a non North American traditional haul of groceries. Mike felt that we had our turkey fill at Thanksgiving and decided that a roasted suckling pig would be more appropriate; another 1st for us. This pig was the centre piece of our decidedly Mexican cuisine themed Christmas dinner.
along with soft + hard tortillas the following were served to pile on family style:
roasted corn + smoked cheddar polenta
salsa [see recipe below]
tomatillo hot sauce
ancho + pasilla + gaujillo pepper hot sauce
jicama + apple + tequila slaw
washed down with: Jarritos rum punch
for desert: croquembouche
[pic courtesy of Mike’s Instagram]
[roasted pig on a bed of polenta]
. 4 poblano peppers | roasted on a grill
. 2 round slices of pineapples | roasted on a grill
. 8 vine ripe tomatoes | whole roasted on a grill
. 2 cobs of grill roasted corn
. 4 shallots
. 2 cloves of garlic
. juice of 1 lime
. salt + pepper
mince the shallots and garlic
rough dice the poblano peppers + pineapples + tomatoes
chop cilantro and add desired amount to mixture
add freshly squeezed lime juice
season with salt + pepper to taste
Our guest list was made up of orphans [but not actually orphans], who like us, couldn’t fly home to their families this Christmas. Perhaps this was to be our tradition -to share the holidays with friends filling the void of family for each other; un paralleled company! As we sat around my office desk turned dining table, I realized how intimate this dining experience actually was. -largely because the table was quite narrow and we were all elbow to elbow but also because all the faces attached to those elbows were faces that I was grateful to be sharing this delicious meal with at this time of year. Each person’s company was appreciated and the hard work [put forth by everyone] was well worth it.
So I’m ending my 2014 posts on this highest of notes
cheers to friends + traditions + family + especially to the pig who nourished our bellies this Christmas!