26 December 2009


Christmas is over.

The problem with Christmas on Friday is guests feel they should just spend the whole weekend. If they insist, have them take down decorations, or shovel snow, seriously, put them to work!

It they decide to head on home and you have a moment to breath, take this opportunity to sit quietly and rehash the holiday festivities with a simple aperitif and an olive or two. Georgeanne Brennan has a lovely book called Aperitif. Like all of her books, they are simple and gorgeous. It really doesn’t matter if you ever make a recipe from her books; you simply want to look and them and crawl inside.

It is a little late to have you make your own aperitif, so grab one you like from the bar; a nice sherry, Dubonnet, Campari, or my favorite, Lillet.

Now try one of these simple snacks.

In the Mediterranean they have a tiny clam called tellines, which are about the size of your thumbnail. They are a favorite accompaniment to an aperitif. Look for the smallest clams or mussels you can find.

Garlic Sautéed Clams

1 pound small clams or mussels
1/4 cup olive oil
4cloves garlic, minced
1/4 minced fresh parsley

Wash the clams thoroughly under running water to remove and grit, sand or dirt. Discard any that do not close when touched. Clean the mussels in the same way, plus, using scissors, clip any beards that are evident. Rough dry the shellfish with a towel.
In a skillet large enough to hold all the clams or mussels at one time in a near-single layer, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or two, stirring, but do not let the garlic brown. Add the clams or mussels to the pan and turn them with a wooden spoon, coating them with the olive oil. Sprinkle on the parsley and cook, shaking the pan and stirring, just until the shells open, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Or try this one.

Dried Figs with Bacon and Fresh Goat Cheese

12 dried figs as Mission
1/4 pound fresh goat cheese, divided into 12 equal portions
2 or 3 slices bacon, cut into 2-inch-long pieces, to total 12

Preheat the broiler. Make a lengthwise slit in each fig. Tuck a portion of cheese into each slit, then wrap with a piece of bacon and secure closed with a toothpick.

Arrange on a broiler pan and slip into the broiler. Broil, turning once, just until bacon is browned and barley crisped.

Sit quietly, and enjoy the silence. Only 364 days till Christmas!

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