For Christmas Eve Eve dinner my mom made cioppino and pasta with clams. The deliciousness was totally lost on my girls who aren't fans of seafood unless it's in fried form (a la fish sticks, clams, or tempura), but the rest of us devoured everything, sopped up the sauce with crusty bread, and had fun licking our fingers.
For the cioppino, the seafood was added to a simple sauce made with fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, fennel, fennel fronds, parsley, chilis, and wine.
My mom's clam sauce started with bacon and garlic sauteed in olive oil, then the clams were added and cooked until they popped open.
Pasta was set out in bowls and we could top it with either the cioppino or the clam sauce. I like clam sauce with my pasta, but cioppino just on its own.
For Christmas Eve, we're having a turkey dinner. It's not something we usually do for Christmas (we usually do a standing rib roast--which we might do as well), but my niece loves turkey and we didn't get to see her for Thanksgiving so turkey it is. I'm in charge of roasting the turkey. Right now it's getting happy in my sister's dry brine (a salt rub), which will ensure it's flavorful and moist tomorrow. We'll have the usual sides and loads of cranberry sauce for the kids who love it. Pecan pie is for dessert. (I'd love to hear about what you're having for Christmas Eve dinner and what your plans are.)
After our dinner we'll go and sing Christmas carols at hippie church, take a cruise down Christmas Tree lane, set out the carrots and cookies and milk, and then get the girls tucked up into bed to await Santa Claus's visit.
Christmas is almost here and I can feel the magic in the air! This time of year is just the best.