Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Holiday Menus, or Holy Crap It's Almost Vigilia

I, like many people I know, am way behind in holiday preparations. I've had vague ideas floating around in my brain about what to serve for Vigila and Christmas dinners, but it wasn't until last night that I sat down to actually think out the menus. (OK, for those of you who are lifelong procrastinators, this may not seem remarkable. But I am a woman who writes out timetables for Thanksgiving dinner and weighs biscotti dough. I am, or at least I used to be, All About Planning. See what having kids does to you?)

Despite my tendency to over-organize prior to an event, I'm not so good at keeping notes on how it all went afterward. Here's where the blogging thing becomes a major bonus: I can check my posts to see what I made for Vigilia (Christmas Eve) last year, and how it came out. (Note to self: don't serve kapusta with cod again).

This year we're going ever farther away from the traditionally meatless Vigilia feast. We'll still be meatless, but I'll be adding two Korean recipes as well: a seafood pancake and a seafood stew. My friend Marta won't be joining us this time; instead, my sister-in-law's family will be with us for the holiday duration. This will be their first Vigilia away from home - my hubby's family usually congregates at my parents-in-law's. We're thrilled that Sis et al. will be making the journey. To keep our nephews happy (I'm not sure how receptive they'll be to Korean seafood stew!) I've kept crabcakes, pierogies (potato-cheese as well as saurkraut-mushroom), and stuffed mushrooms on the menu.

Last night, it occurred to me that (1) although I have eaten several, I have never actually MADE a Korean-style pancake and (2) it might be a good idea to do a trial run before Christmas Eve. So I got out my trusty bag of pancake mix that I purchased at the recently-opened H Mart in Burlington. The instructions couldn't have been simpler: combine pancake mix and water, add seafood, cook. Except that I couldn't stop there and just had to search online for Korean pancake recipes...all of which contained an egg or two. I checked my bag of mix: no egg in the ingredients, no egg in the instructions. Moreover, both the online mix bag instructions directed me to add uncooked veggies and seafood to batter. I was unconvinced that the fillings would cook sufficiently in the time it took to brown the pancake. What to do?

I decided to wing it, of course. One cup pancake mix, one egg, and 3/4 cup water. Veggies (red bell pepper strips, sliced garlic, shredded Napa cabbage, and sliced scallions) and seafood (just shrimp in this trial run) were sauteed until limp/cooked, and then the whole batch of pancake batter was spread on top. Cooked in the skillet until golden, then slid onto a plate and flipped back into the skillet for more golden goodness on the flip side. And it was....yummy. So yummy that I was tempted to make another one tonight. I'm glad I went for it with adding the egg to the batter.

And for Christmas dinner? Very straightforward, just kielbasa and kapusta. With rye bread and creamy horseradish. And some hot mustard. And more pierogies. And...oh, you'll just have to wait and find out what we finally ended up with. It's three days away - I haven't planned my menu yet.


Val said...

Yum yum...You are making me hungry, as always. So what else did you end up with for Christmas dinner? We readers need a full report. :-)

Karen said...

Heh heh...we did have kielbasa and kapusta for dinner, but we also had the seafood stew for lunch. I made too much food and by the time we'd eaten the mushrooms, crab cakes, seafood pancakes and pierogies, everyone was too full for stew! So I cooked it anyway and put it in the fridge for the next day.

I did take some pictures of our feast, and now that Jeff has our computer up and running again I may actually be able to post them, along with a more complete report :-)

Kate said...

Man. So okay, you made about a trillion times more stuff than we did. As always, I'm impressed.

I need to know more about this kapusta...And Adam is going to get that mix next time he goes to H Mart.

Val said...

YUM. Can't wait to see those pics. :-) I need to get myself over to H Mart again one of these days!