Everyone is home. The tree is decorated…finally, and I’m watching Santa’s progress. I love him. Every time I see Santa, I never miss an opportunity to greet him enthusiastically.
Christmas Eve dinner started with Ina’s easy and wonderful chicken dish that she made on her blogger episode. Flavored goat cheese and sundried tomatoes go under the skin of chicken breasts with a bit of parsley. (Ina used basil.) Ina also used boned breasts with the skin. (I kept the bone on.)
I had never bought flavored goat cheese before, but Ina used it, so I figured it would be okay and it was! No artificial garlic flavor, just a really nice almost Boursin taste to it. In fact, Boursin would have been fine too.
I served it with a simple Gratin Potatoes. I peeled and sliced 5 big red potatoes and peeled and sliced one onion. I layered them up in an oval baking dish with salt (I actually forgot the pepper) and dots of not that much butter. Then I poured milk about the halfway up the dish. I poured a few tablespoons of cream in between the 3 rows of potatoes that I had arranged on the top.
Buttered wax paper went over and I baked the gratin in the oven with the chicken at 400°F for 45 minutes. I browned it for 2 minutes under the broiler just before serving. I also served steamed broccoli. I left a 2 inch stem on and quartered or sixth-ed each small head.
Dessert was the result of a 3 minute encounter in a bookstore with Martha Stewart’s new Cupcake book. I saw a beautiful picture of swirly meringues in the shape of cupcakes. It turns out it WAS meringues piped into muffin tins. I just had to make them.
The recipe said to split them and fill them with raspberry something or other and cream. They were easy enough to make and pipe, but I had a really hard time splitting them after they were baked. They splintered easily, but I still think they look so special that I’ll definitely make them again. (The pictures are BEFORE I attempted to fill them. Maybe I’ll take a closer look at the book and see if I did something wrong.) The other downside is that they have to bake for 3½ hours (at 225°F).
I used a standard meringue formula of 4 tablespoons of sugar to every egg white (I used 6 whites) with ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar beaten in. I added a bit of vanilla as well. 6 whites made 13 “cupcakes” and I piped them after lining the muffin tins with cupcake papers.