Everyday Mom's Meals: Weekend Company New Year's Eve Addition {Guest Blogger Kathy}

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Weekend Company New Year's Eve Addition {Guest Blogger Kathy}

Goodbye 2011, hello 2012!! I have to admit, I'm not usually one to "wish" for the new year, but this time, I'm kind of glad 2011 is leaving us. It's been a hard year for our family and I'm excited to see where the new one takes us, and pray it's a better one than the last. Do you have big plans for tonight? Ever since Alex was born, it's become a quiet night for us. I put out a buffet of appetizers and we eat all night, watch movies and just enjoy time as a family. However you are ringing in the new year, I hope it's w/ someone you love, and I wish you all of God's blessings in 2012!

Now onto our company, please welcome Kathy to EMM and share part of our New Year's Eve learning something new through her fascinating post!

My name is Kathy Blais and my food blog is called Kathy's Kitchen.You can also find me on Facebook. My blog is a collection of recipes that I have created or adapted from various sources - friends, cooking shows, magazines, etc.  I love to share these recipes with all my readers and hopefully inspire them to step out of their comfort zone once in a while and try something new, whether it's a new flavour or ingredient, or a recipe that looks too difficult to tackle (but is really quite simple!)
I'm from the Saskatchewan, and my husband is from Quebec, so I thought I would share one of his family traditions that has become a favourite in our household.  I hope you will enjoy it too!
Nine years ago, we spent our daughter's first Christmas in Quebec with my husband's side of the family. It was a bit of a whirlwind for me - his family is much larger, louder, and Frencher than my side! My family traditions consist of church on Christmas Eve, stockings and presents on Christmas morning, and a big turkey dinner later that day. Sweet and simple. My husband's family traditions consist of midnight Mass, and traveling around to all the relatives' houses for lots of laughter, presents, games, tacky gift-exchanges, brunches, snacks, suppers, etc. It's a little crazy, but it's a lot of fun!

Amidst all the hustle and bustle of my first Quebec Christmas, I discovered the Raclette. My sister-in-law hosted a big raclette supper on Christmas Eve that year, and it was love at first bite! I am forever in her debt for introducing me to what has now become our family's favourite traditional holiday meal! Since we still like to do our big turkey dinner for a Christmas meal, the Raclette has become our traditional New Year's Eve meal instead.
The simplest way to describe raclette is "fondue on a grill". It's an open-faced grill that sits in the middle of the table, and you can cook your food on top and/or place it in little broiler trays that slide underneath the grill.  You can purchase the grills at most stores that carry small kitchen appliances. 

The traditional Swiss raclette features melted cheese (there's actually a type of cheese called raclette - careful, it stinks to high Heaven, but it's really good once it's melted!), cured meats, boiled potatoes, gherkins, and pickled onions. That's not how we do it, though! Our raclette meal is a feast of the following ingredients:
  • thinly sliced meats (usually chicken and beef) in a couple different marinades
  • seafood (usually shrimp and scallops, but we have also used salmon)
  • cured meats (usually prosciutto and something a little spicier)
  • boiled potatoes (we use quartered baby potatoes and julienned sweet potatoes)
  • assorted diced veggies (bell peppers, onions, mushrooms)
  • french bread
  • 3 different kinds of sliced cheese (some of our favourites are Raclette, Smoked Gouda, Provolone, Meunster, Edam... anything that melts nicely)
  • dipping sauces (usually 3 different kinds - some of our favourites are Curry Mayo, Honey Mustard, Sweet & Sour, Barbeque, etc. We usually have garlic butter as well.) 

The meat and vegetables should be cut into very small pieces, so that they will cook quickly on the grill.  We typically have 2 marinades for chicken and 2 marinades for beef.  Here are some simple marinades that work well:
  • Chicken Marinade #1: oil, lemon juice, garlic
  • Chicken Marinade #2: lime juice, ketchup, cumin, chili powder or fajita seasoning
  • Beef Marinade #1: vinegar, ketchup, garlic, onion powder, cumin, oregano, pepper
  • Beef Marinade #2: soy sauce, ginger, garlic, brown sugar
You grill meat and veggies on top, and then put them in the the broiler trays with a slice of cheese on top. The combinations are endless!  You can also put a slice of French bread underneath the broiler with some garlic butter, or top it off with a piece of prosciutto and a slice of cheese.  You can take some seafood from the top of the grill, then transfer it to your broiler tray and add a little garlic butter.  You can mix and match the marinated meats with the dipping sauces and see which flavours work well together.  Basically you spend the meal experimenting, and generally everything tastes fantastic!
Once the raclette meal is over, two things are certain: you will be incredibly full, and you will have tons of leftovers. You know the story of Jesus feeding 5000 with just a few fish and some loaves of bread? Well the raclette is kind of like that - you start out thinking you'll never have enough food for everyone, and somehow you end up with enough for at least one more large meal!
There are a number of ways you can use up your raclette leftovers. Often we just do it all over again the next night, since we love the Raclette meal so much. You can also use the leftover cheese and veggies to make omelettes or quiche, or you can use the leftover meat and veggies to make stir-fries.  It's amazing how far a little bit of food will go!
We had 6 adults at our last Raclette meal, and used 3 chicken breasts, 1 tray of rouladen beef,1 c. shrimp & scallops, a very small salmon filet, 10 slices of prosciutto, 3 bell peppers, 2 small onions, 1 sweet potato, 1 small bag of baby potatoes, 1 c. sliced mushrooms, and 2 baguettes. And like I said, that was more than enough - way more than enough!
I hope this post will inspire you to try a Raclette meal.  Please check out my blog or my Facebook page to see what other meals are cooking in Kathy's Kitchen!

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