Archive | December, 2011

Holiday Traditions – Food, Friends and Family. A very special Christmas dinner with the Isernios.

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If you love food and spending quality time with good friends and family, this really is the most wonderful time of the year.  What are your favorite traditions for the holidays?  Do they include any kind of special meal or food?

Frank Isernio and his wife Margaret have an annual tradition of hosting a Christmas dinner party for a group of great friends.  Margaret goes all out, putting exquisite detail into each course.  Here’s the menu from this year’s dinner:



Appetizers in the Living Room as guests arrive

    • Crostini with Lox, Goat Cheese & Chives, with a dab of Crème Fraiche & Caviar
    • Crostini with Rapini cooked with Shaved Garlic & Hot Chili Flakes, topped with shaved Pecorino Romano
    • Homemade Spicy Roasted Nuts (Cashews, Pecans, Almonds, Walnuts & Pistachios)
    • Champagne


    • Roasted Marinated Red & Yellow Peppers with Olive Oil, Garlic, Oregano & Balsamic Vinegar
    • Marinated Deboned Smelts, cured with fresh Lemon Juice, then marinated in Olive Oil, Garlic, Thyme & Chili Flakes
    • Marinated Fresh Anchovies that were cured in White Wine Vinegar & Lemon, then marinated with Olive Oil, Garlic, Parsley & Hot Chili Flakes, on a bed of greens (Watercress, Parsley, Celery leaves & Chives) dressed with Olive Oil, Lemon & White Wine Vinegar
    • Steamed Cauliflower Florets with an Olive Oil, Anchovy dressing, served warm
    • Alaska King Crab leg chunks, dressed with Olive Oil & Lemon
    • Good crusty Italian Bread
    • 2006 Campogiovanni Brunello Di Montelcino

Primo and Secondi Courses served together

    • Margherita’s homemade Sausage, Spinach & Cheese Ravioli’s with a tomato sauce of braised Pork Spareribs and Isernio’s Pork & Chicken Sausages.  The meat was served on a platter separately.
    • 2006 Sloan Asterisk Rutherford Cabernet




Insalata Course

    • Baby Arugula Salad with lots of shaved Fennel in an Orange Fennel Olive Oil dressing, served on a platter with peeled sliced Navel Oranges.

Took a break to smoke Cigars and drink liquor (Sambuca & Solerno, a Blood Orange Liqueur) and sparkling water.


    • Margherita’s Struffoli (honey-dipped deep fried dough balls)
    • Margherita’s Italian Fruit Cake, with rum soaked Figs & Raisins, crystalized Ginger, roasted Walnuts & lots of spices.
    • Margherita’s Almond Biscotti
    • Lucia’s homemade Lemon Tart (one of our guests)
    • Angela’s Hazelnut cookies (one of our guests)
    • Margherita’s Dried Figs cooked in Honey, White Wine & Thyme, then stuffed with a roasted Almond & drizzled with good aged Balsamic Vinegar
    • Platter of Red Grapes & Bartlett Pear slices with a Cheese Assortment
    • Espresso & Moscato D’Asti

Now how’s that for some dinner inspiration?  We would love to hear about any special meal or recipes you and your family enjoy around the holidays too.  Feel free to share them here! 

Hoping you all have a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year!