Hope all of you are doing well and are almost ready for Christmas! I am mostly ready. All of my gifts are wrapped and most of my Christmas food shopping is done. I am a first generation Italian, so we always do a version of the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. We usually have deep-fried smelts and pasta with calamari for dinner. I’ve never prepared seven fishes. The most we usually have are four, but this year only three. My third fish is cold shrimp cocktail as part of our appetizer.
Another traditional food we have on Christmas Eve is a soup made of chestnuts and garbonzo beans. Christmas Eve is a day of fasting from meat for Italian Catholics so that is one reason why we always have fish. My mother was always very strict about adhering to this No-Meat rule. But I’ve bent the rules a little and serve our traditional Christmas day antipasto on Christmas Eve, because that is when ALL of our family is gathered. I do the antipasto again on Christmas day, but on a smaller scale. What does my antipasto consist of? Well let’s see…there are usually two to three different kinds of cheese; blue, fontinella, and sharp provolone. There is sliced salami, pepperoni, and prosciutto. There are black olives, green olives, wrinkled black olives (Greek Olives) and sometimes smoked salmon and anchovies. After the antipasto and soup, when the third course rolls around, people are usually too full and I have tons of pasta left over!
It is a great feast, but a lot of work to prepare. I will begin on December 23rd when I clean the calamari (squid) and begin making the meatless sauce for our pasta. We will also begin to prepare the antipasto platters. My son has promised he will come to help. On the 24th he will arrive early so we can begin deep-frying the fish. He is my biggest helper in getting ready for Christmas Eve dinner. It usually takes several hours. On the 24th I will also prepare the soup. Family will begin to arrive around 4:00 p.m. By 5:00 p.m. we will begin dinner. I used to try to do a sit-down dinner with real china for 14 adults, but this year I’ve decided the only real dishes we will use are wine glasses. It doesn’t taste right in a plastic cup. The rest is paper and plastic and will be buffet style this year!
What is traditional in your family for Christmas?
Enough about food! If you are like me, there is always that one last-minute gift that you need to get ready. I’m going to share a few of my last-minute gifts with you that will only take 15 minutes max to get ready.
The first is another bar of soap. Back on July 11th I shared a video called Decorator Bath Soap and Box or something like that. In the video I mentioned that it would be neat to decorate a bar of soap for Christmas. That is just what I did! I chose a bar of Ivory soap because of its color; white. A good color for Christmas. The link for the pattern for the soap box is here.
My second last-minute gift is a tree ornament that uses up all of my 3/8″ Glitter Ribbon Combo Pack plus the Pool Party 3/8″ Glitter Ribbon from this year’s Occasions Catalog. Unfortunately, the Pool Party ribbon is retired. It was easy to make. Just take the top off the ornament, and start feeding the ribbon…all three at once…into the ornament. Replace the top, tie a bow and your are done!
My last last-minute gift is a gift that I got started a few months ago. My husband and I made our own Limoncello (pronounced limon-chello) from a recipe I got from friends in Italy when I visited in 2006. It has taken me this long to try it! I tasted it while I was there and it was delicious. If you are not familiar with it, Limoncello is made from the zest of lemons, pure alcohol and a sugary syrup. It is traditionally made in Southern Italy, especially around the Gulf of Naples. It is served ice-cold by the shot glass. You wouldn’t want to drink more than that at one sitting. There are many recipes and I got this one from our friends that live about an hour northeast of Rome. I made tags for the bottles that I plan on giving to several people.
And…if you are interested…here is the Limoncello recipe! You can email me for the translation! 🙂
I hope you enjoyed your visit today. Until next time…