26 Jan2012

Luxurious but not stuffy. That’s what we aim for on Christmas Eve. And hopefully, crew done by 9:30 or 10:00 so they can make it to Mass nearby if they want. Christmas dinner started off with a toast — some very well chilled Taittinger champagne in classic crystal saucer.

Next a dish of homemade salmon gravlax served on pumpernickle bread and a dill and honey mustard sauce. We had made this a week or more before, and were just enjoying the most prime piece of the batch… Leftovers were made into scrambled eggs with salmon for Christmas morning brunch…

We casually laid out a large platter of salmon so guests could take as much or as little as they wanted.

On the buffet table were just three items for the main event. Roast Prime Rib, mushroom risotto and asparagus with hollandaise sauce.

If you wanted to be more european, you could have the mushroom risotto as a starter… spreading it relatively thinly on your plate to cool it a bit, while consuming it from edge to center… But in true pinoy fashion, I got a plate of beef and risotto at the same time! :) What’s the big deal with the beef? It was a four rib piece of Meyer Farms humanely raised, Angus Prime Rib. In other words, supposedly some of the best U.S. beef commercially available in the Philippines. It was absolutely wonderful and to describe it as MELT-IN-YOUR-MOUTH seems cliched, but that’s exactly what it was like. On the flavor side, it wasn’t the most flavorful beef I have had, but perhaps I should have just added more salt before cooking it to bring that all out…

This risotto was particularly good, made with the dwindling stocks of wild foraged dried mushrooms from Bettyq! A guest who wasn’t keen on beef (more veggies and poultry) was ecstatic to have this as her main course with the asparagus on the side.

Luckily, I found some medium thick asparagus at the markets that day, and these went very well with the hollandaise sauce.

A simple salad of greens and pomegranates with a vinaigrette dressing (sorry, forgot to take photo BEFORE eating it)…

…followed by a choice of fresh fruit, a cheesecake with fresh strawberries (a Teen request), or Sister’s fruitcake sent in someone’s luggage. Coffee or tea. Done. :)



  1. margrethe says:

    i just had lunch and these pictures made me hungry again. thanks for sharing MM!! :)

    Jan 25, 2012 | 2:42 pm


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  3. ayla says:

    That salmon looks good!

    Jan 25, 2012 | 2:55 pm

  4. Footloose says:

    I’ll take this dinner anytime over the galunggong even if you call me by any epithet in the devil’s dictionary.

    What element would make this lavish tableau stuffy? For me, black tie or joyless cliquey serving staff that spy on and express their disapproval of your every false move through smirky glances swapped among themselves.

    Jan 26, 2012 | 3:26 pm

  5. Marketman says:

    Footloose… we dined in shorts. Or maybe I threw on a pair of jeans for this. No waiters, self-service. Crew to help cook and wash up. And you would be welcome at our table anytime you manage a visit back to Manila or Cebu… :)

    Jan 26, 2012 | 3:29 pm

  6. PITS, MANILA says:

    everything looks good! i also love being in my most comfortable clothes, not stuffy at all.

    Jan 26, 2012 | 5:28 pm

  7. Betchay says:

    I want sister’s fruitcake! I’m sure it’s brimming with fruits and nuts! :)

    Jan 26, 2012 | 7:33 pm

  8. bakerwannabe says:

    What more can be better than a relaxing festive dinner with friends and family. No fuss no frills. Very nice MM. Footloose, I am with you on your comment re stuffy.

    Jan 27, 2012 | 12:52 am

  9. Part Time Homemaker says:

    Love the spread, MM. Simple food, done well, is better than anything in a restaurant in my opinion. But of course it helps that it seems like you cook better than most restaurants in Manila. Hehehe. That mushroom risotto looks outstanding, did you use arborio rice? Love your comment about how it would be a starter anywhere in the world but the carbs/starch side dish for us Pinoys. :-)

    Jan 27, 2012 | 1:50 am

  10. betty q. says:

    Your dried mushroom stock is coming to an end, MM? Then you can have my dried mushroom stock…we are all on a diet…no risottos, wild mushroom bread pudding or mushroom, bacon and gruyere scones, etc. for us for the next 8 to 12 months! BY then, it is mushroom hunting season! If I ship them to Sister….can she include them in her BB box to you?

    Jan 27, 2012 | 2:09 am

  11. natie says:

    THIs while I was having Kashi granola bar on a very empty stomach!!bad timing for me..
    If it’s ok with MM, bettyq, I could alot 2lbs in my luggage for a speedy replenishment of his stock–leaving for Iloilo on the 8th, but staying 3 nights in Makati–i’d be a happy courier….the rest of the bounty can be shipped to sister’s..

    Jan 27, 2012 | 3:54 am

  12. Heidi says:

    Can you tell me where you got the beef?

    Jan 27, 2012 | 5:41 am

  13. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Is that an intricate design on the crust of the cheesecake?

    Jan 27, 2012 | 8:25 am

  14. Marketman says:

    Artisan, hahaha, you are too sly or too kind. It’s a humongous fissure or crack, the oven too hot for the cheesecake… :) Heidi, S&L Fine Foods. I bought it with my wholesale account, but I think if you ask nicely at their retail La Brea delicatessen out front, they will fish it out of the chillers for you. It’s pricey, but worth it. bettyq, you are too kind, but that would fatten me up as well! Also trying to cut down some holiday weight gain… :) Natie, thanks for offering… and you have to give me some tips for Iloilo eating, I haven’t been able to visit the city yet!

    Jan 27, 2012 | 8:42 am

  15. ami says:

    There’s so much in your spread that I personally love love love. Gravlax + mushroom risotto + beef + cheesecake. I usually enjoy these things separately and never in one go.

    Jan 27, 2012 | 8:59 am

  16. millet says:

    MM, same with Artisan, i thought that was a nice reindeer figure on the cheesecake.

    Jan 27, 2012 | 9:03 am

  17. shiko says:

    thanks so much for sharing MarketMan! these days when just about every course is simply purchased, it’s great to see that (1) home-cooked can “still” be elegant and delicious, and (2) one needn’t have towering piles of goodies to make a great holiday meal. thank you for inspiring us all ;)

    Jan 27, 2012 | 1:27 pm

  18. shiko says:

    also, please be so kind as to share your mushroom risotto recipe :) with more readily available local substitute ingredients, if that’s at all possible. :)

    Jan 27, 2012 | 1:28 pm

  19. Marketman says:

    shiko, check out this old post with a description of a mushroom risotto I made then… and read the first comment from MyraP with a “local” version… essentially, I don’t have one recipe, but the keys to a great risotto for me are arborio or carnaoli rice, a good broth, lots of mushrooms, often some dried and some fresh, slow patient stirring, lots of butter and parmesan cheese… it always works for us… :)

    Jan 27, 2012 | 1:37 pm

  20. kurzhaar says:

    We don’t eat much beef in our household but we adore risotto…and mushroom risotto is a favourite during wild mushroom season! But our risotto is normally served as a primo. I agree, the rice is key to the right texture and flavour and it’s worth seeking out the right varieties. After many years of trying various rices (including rather uncommon varieties from the rice-growing areas of Italy), our favourites are carnaroli and vialone nano, both of which I find superior to arborio, but we’ll use arborio as well especially as it is so easy to find nowadays.

    We do differ though in our stemware–the use of saucer-shaped glasses (crystal coupes or not) for champagne is seen as near-criminal in our household. As a winemaker friend has said, it takes years to put the mousse (bubbles) in champagne, so treat the wine with respect and put it in a proper flute.

    Jan 30, 2012 | 1:18 am

  21. Footloose says:

    Legend is specific as to where they originally molded that shape of champagne coupe from, Marie Antoinette’s left breast, which leads me to conclude she was tres petite (another legend attributes it to Madame de Pompadour). Had the modeling happened in the forties, they probably would have turned to Jane Russell to provide the pattern and that in turn would have given us at least a quart of bubbly per serving.

    I use cheap flutes myself (quite suitable for the equally cheap cava I often serve) although I came across somewhere that tulip is the optimal shape for sparkling wine and if it’s champagne from a really great vintage, why some experts even suggest using your grand cru claret glasses. Whatever your proclivity may be though, a woman’s shoe still remains the least recommended, if not the most frowned down vessel of all, to take sips of champagne from.

    Jan 30, 2012 | 7:48 pm

  22. betty q. says:

    Footloose….FUNNY! Can you imagine if Ms. D. Parton or Ms. P. Anderson was around then?!?

    Jan 30, 2012 | 11:19 pm


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