After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born.
As usual it was a Christmas when I thought I could not possibly get everything done. I'm never prepared ahead of time. You'd think I'd try to change my ways by now, but I haven't. Actually there was a year once, I think it was 1987, when I got most of the presents wrapped ahead of time. The girls were all in school and I wasn't yet in grad school. But this year I had the added problem of making the yule log on Sunday so I could serve it on Monday - Christmas eve. But in the end everything came together. At church on Sunday the pastor prayed that we would all have a stress free Christmas and I thought "Yes!", and I had this feeling that everything would be okay. And it was.
Because I had to get the cake done by Sunday I was not making it on Monday. This was good. First thing in the morning of Christmas eve I started the bread. I decided that I would just keep punching it down until I was ready to have it in the pans for the final rising. This worked just fine. My eldest daughter and her boyfriend had eagerly urged me to make a meatball lasagna, so I did. I began by making 135 tiny meat balls. They were each 1 tablespoon in size. After getting them all rolled up (out?) I put them in the freezer while I made the sauce. I began to fear that my large Italian brazer was not going to hold it all, but decided that I'd think about that problem if and when I came across it. Did I mention that I had Christian and Emily to take care of. But Riley was also home. I think he took the kids to the store with him while I made those tiny meatballs. Once the sauce was ready I began cooking up the little meatballs and off-loading them into the sauce. When all was done they just fit. I let it all simmer just a while on the back burner with the lowest heat.
Christmas Eve Meatball Lasagna
1 Tbl olive oil
4 ounces onion, minced
2 fat cloves garlic, crushed
1 tps dried Italian herbs or oregano
1 pound Italian sausage
3/4 pounds ground veal
1 egg, beaten
50 gr fresh white bread crumbs
1 tablespoons olive oil (for frying meatballs)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 pound onion, chopped
2 or 3 fat cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon chili powder (more if not spicy)
6 ounces tomato paste
4 pounds of canned tomatoes, chopped (you could use fresh tomatoes, peeled)
1 1/2 cup red wine
1/3 cup brown sugar, more if desired after tasting
Sauté the onion in the olive oil until soft.
When cool, mix in the remaining meatball ingredients, seasoning well with salt and pepper. (Fry a tiny bit to check the taste.)
Form into 1 tablespoon sized meat balls (makes about 135 meatballs).
Make the sauce while waiting on the meatballs.
Fry the meatball in olive oil in batches. Add more oil as necessary. Remove done meatballs to the sauce. Let simmer for a while.
Heat the olive oil in a big frying pan and cook the onions until soft but not colored. Add the garlic, the chili and cumin and cook for a further minute. Add the tomato puree and
Marilyn arrived at three-ish, which was great because she can be ever to helpful, especially at washing-up and setting the table. I had the table ready to be set, with a fresh tablecloth. I used the blackwatch on this year. I did have a "moment" with the living room, but I attacked it and it was soon under control. Riley had disappeared to "get ready". He takes much longer to get ready for things than I ever get to and this does "irk me" a bit. But I expressed how I felt about this and after the lasagna was all ready and the table set and the salad dressing made and the bread was out of the oven and the living room tidied I was urged to go upstairs and get dressed. Because of my recent loss of weight because of being so sick I was able to get into an old Laura Ashley dress that I have worn many times on Christmas eve, but in recent times had found to be too tight. This definitely picked up my mood.
I had thought to make a second dessert, one that was familiar to the family, but I changed my mind. I would just serve the yule log and my chocolate fruit cake instead of the usual plum pudding (they are in fact similar). I also decided that I was not going to worry about the fact that I had no presents wrapped. But I really hope that next year I will have them all wrapped before Christmas Eve. I put the lasagna in at six and we all sat down in the living room to play Scattergories. This was an excellent choice of activity for my family. I could easily get up and check on things between rounds. I think that we eventually sat down to a lovely formal Christmas Eve dinner at about seven-thirty. Riley brought out wine and to the great delight of many of us the white wine was absolutely awesome. This set us all in a very good mood. It was a Muscat from the Eugene area. Unfortunately Riley thinks he threw out the bottle. He is so absolutely robotic when it comes to throwing things out, no thinking involved. But he assures me he can remember it when he sees it again. I hope so!! [late breaking news - He found the bottle!] After the salad we all pulled open our snappers (crackers?) and read out our jokes and examined out little toys and put on our crowns, which are to remind us of God's promise to us: 1 Peter 5:4 "And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away."
Almond Tea Ring
1 batch of sweet dough (above)
soft butter, about 1/2 stick
1 can of almond filling (maybe called Solo or something)
Roll out the dough to a big rectangle, maybe 24 by 18
Spread on the butter and then the almond filling.
Roll up along the long edge.
Get a baking sheet and put a piece of baking parchment on it.
Place the roll of dough on in a circle.
Cover lightly with a piece of plastic wrap and then a tea towel.
Leave overnight to rise.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Check on it because everyones oven is different.