December 24, 2011
28th Day of Advent
Christmas Eve Checklist
□ Make Chocolate Chip Cookies for Santa
□ Make Gingerbread Cutouts, too!
□ Go to Family Mass
□ Indulge in the Feast of the Seven Fishes
□ Ice the Bûche de Noël
□ Drink Hot Chocolate and Sing the Carols You Wrote in Your Pajamas
□ Open One Gift From Under the Tree!
□ Leave Cookies, Milk, and Reindeer Biscuits by the Fire
To say we’ll be busy this Saturday is an understatement…But we’ve gotten most of the prep work done ahead of time. So, the “business” will be in the fun! The cookie doughs have been in the freezer for a week, as have been our pasta sauce and soup for this evening’s feast (see below). We made our reindeer biscuits on Wednesday and wrote our carols last weekend! So, aside from heating up the supper and whipping up an easy peasy jelly roll cake, ie the Bûche de Noël (and I skipped the meringue mushrooms this year!), we’re good to go!
The Feast of the Seven fishes (festa dei sette pesci), sometimes also dubbed the Feast of the Thirteen Fishes, is a traditional Italian supper celebrating The Vigil (la Virgilia), or Christmas Eve. The “Seven” typically represents the Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church, while the “Thirteen” usually represents the twelve apostles and Jesus. I never grew up with this particular feast in my own Italian-American families per se, but my mom always made clam sauce on Christmas Eve. Over the past several years, my Italian-Canadian family has incorporated this into our own set of traditions. Typical Italian festas incorporate delicacies such as salt cod, deep fried fish, marinated eel, squid salads and stuffed lobsters (mmm, dying to try!). We make life simple for ourselves at our house by serving, at most, 3 or 4 courses that incorporate 7 or more fish within them. You can actually just get it down to just 2! I typically serve cold shrimp with a fancied-up cocktail sauce and fried calamari as apps (you can just get these in the freezer box at your grocery store). Although, this year, I might even pass these by. I always serve an easy fennel seafood soup (I’ve been tweaking Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe for Cioppino in recent years) in which you could pretty much incorporate all seven fishes in one fell swoop. And I always make fresh linguine or spagettini (purchased) with a homemade red sauce of smoked mussels and clams with an onion, garlic, and anchovy base – this blessed trio deglazed in good red wine, of course.
We hope your Advent has been as wonderful as ours!
Our Christmas Eve Shadowbox: