This year’s Christmas Eve (and Christmas, if you’re into that sort of thing) was a raging success. The borscht and vodka flowed freely, Sto Lat was sung at least a half of a dozen times, and the seven-plus fish (Harry and I counted ten) were thoroughly feasted upon. All new guests passed the Fish in Gelatin Challenge (a feat in which one must eat unflavored fish cooked in unflavored gelatin–my father’s favorite dish, everyone else’s nightmare) and are welcome to future Christmas Eves.
In fact, minus a small hiccup on Christmas morning after my mother swallowed a fish bone and we spent a few hours in the ER (she is totally fine now, I swear, we even went to Christmas dinner afterwards), the only being that seemed anything less that utterly satisfied with the festivities was this little guy, who had to be caged for “his own” protection, and made a valiant escape effort when he was briefly let out for his annual Christmas carrot feast.
And while I’d like to take some credit for the evening’s fun and tasty times, I know it was mostly pulled off because of the weeks of planning and food preparation that Mommy Anigacz put in. From gutting dozens of pounds of fish, to sealing hundreds of pierogis and mushroom dumplings, to decorating the house and buying presents, Mommy Anigacz had a busy December. Thank you, Mommy Anigacz, for your tireless efforts at orchestrating Christmas Eves–this year’s Christmas Eve, like all previous ones and ones yet to come, was memorable. Please keep it up for at least a few more years–I am so overwhelmed and not anywhere close to ready to take over preparing this feast.
In comparison to the twenty or so dishes that my mother prepared, Harry and I contributed a meager two. And while they may not have been enough to feed a crowd, they surely seemed like crowd-pleasers–and boy did they look festive. My constant admonitions to guests to pace themselves as they ate were heard, and both our goat-cheese stuffed mushrooms (recipe below) and red wine chocolate cake with mascarpone frosting and sea salt flakes (recipe coming soon), were almost completely finished. Glad you liked them, everyone, and so glad you could come and celebrate with the Anigacz’s!
Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes 28 stuffed mushrooms
Olive oil, enough to thinly coat a baking sheet
28 white button mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed
3 slices white bread
2 cloves garlic
7 ounces soft goat cheese
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
A little less than 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Thinly coat a baking sheet with olive oil. Don’t use too much oil, or else it will start smoking in the oven.
Pulse the bread and garlic in a food processor until it has turned into fine crumbs. Remove and save 1/2 cup of the breadcrumbs.
Add the cheese, peppers, parsley, red pepper flakes, and salt to the remaining bread crumbs in the food processor. Pulse until combined. it may be easiest to do this in batches. If your goat cheese is very soft, you may want to process the other ingredients in the food processor, and then combine those with the soft cheese in a separate bowl. Just do what you have to do to get all of the ingredients combined.
Fill the mushrooms with the goat cheese mixture. Sprinkle with the reserved bread crumbs.
Place on baking sheet, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the mushrooms and breadcrumbs have browned. Let cool for 10 minutes, and make sure to use a plate when eating–these mushrooms are juicy!