Monday, December 28, 2009

It's still Christmas...

I think that I could get used to not having to go to work. Day 5 - lazing about. Well, not really lazing - but being at home - puttering, walking the pups, making turkey soup, eating chocolates, watching a movie during the day! So much fun.  

There isn't really much happening - I feel like I should be out and about - doing chores, having friends in for tea - but then part of me just really wants to sit on my Royal Canadian and embrace it.

I thought I would share a few recipes from Christmas Eve. It was a low key evening, but it was so nice. Instead of making a big dinner, I thought that we would have a progressive type dinner with different appetizers in stages. It turned out just as I had planned. 

We first started out with White Bean soup. I LOVE white beans (white kidney or navy beans they are called some times). This was a super easy soup to make - and I will definitely serve it again. I served them in small bowls, so that it was still an appetizer size. 

White Bean Soup with Goat Cheese Croutons

2 shallots - chopped
1/2 pound of bacon - chopped into small pieces and cooked separately
4 cloves of garlic - minced
2 19oz cans of white beans - drained and rinsed
3 1/2 cups of chicken stock
6 sage leaves - chopped
1/2 cup of heavy cream

In a large pot, saute the shallots in 2 tbsp of olive oil. Let the saute for about 5 minutes - give them a sprinkle of kosher salt - they will love you for it. Add the garlic and the bacon - saute for another couple of minutes. Add the beans, sage and stock - and let everything simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, it's time to blend the soup up. I used my hand blender which worked really well. A blender would work great too - just be careful the soup is really hot. Once everything is blended nicely, add the cream, stir it all up. If you are wanting the soup to be not as thick, you can add more cream or stock. 

Goat Cheese Croutons
Goat Cheese

Cut the baguette on a diagonal, relatively thin pieces and toast. Spread the goat cheese on baguette and cut the baguette into for pieces. Add the baguette to each bowl of soup. I also served a piece of baguette with the goat cheese and served it on the side.

I will definitely make this again. It's a delicious soup - hearty and a small bowl is a great start to any dinner.

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tarts

I made these for our Christmas Party too - they were a huge hit. They can be made in advance - which is one of my favourites things to do. I made this dish before, but in a large tart size - check it out HERE

18-24 frozen tart shells. Pre-heat the oven to 375, defrost the tarts for 10-15 minutes - and then bake for 10-12 minutes. When they are cooled enough to touch, remove them from the aluminum shells.

4 medium sized yellow onions - cut into thin strips
Olive oil
Kosher salt
1 cup goat cheese

In a large skillet, saute the onions in the olive oil and kosher salt over medium heat for at least 30 minutes. Continue to stir throughout this time. Make sure that the onions don't burn. When the onions are soft and have caramelized - they will be soft and will have turned a golden brown colour. Turn the heat off and let the onions sit for a couple of minutes. Then it is time to add the goat cheese - crumble the goat cheese and mix it with the onions. 

Add a spoonful of the onion and goat cheese mixture to each tart. Once they are all filled - you can put them in a baking dish and let it sit in the fridge for a day or two. When you are ready to serve them, bake them in a 350 oven for 15 minutes.

You will LOVE these. The onions are so sweet and the goat cheese is so incredibly creamy. 

Well - that's enough for me for now. I have an afternoon jam packed. If I have time, I might take a trip to Pier 1. They always have great after Christmas sales. 

Alright - enjoy the Christmas spirit - hopefully you still have some.



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