Casual family dinner for the holidays- 12/14/13

Table set up/appetizers/guests Dinner/Desserts

This year there are only three weekends before Christmas and trying to schedule a dinner during this time of the year can be challenging.  Eating out is also not great as all the restaurants are so crowed and service really suffers so the other option is to eat at home.  Even though Hoa is traveling to India I am having our friends over for dinner since this the only Saturday that everyone can make it.  Tonight it is going to be a casual dinner meaning the ingredients I am using tonight are basics for a home meal.  However I decided at the last minute to  dress up my table to make it more festive.


Table set up

Once a year I get to bring out my Christmas plates to reflect the holidays.


I choose a brown table cloth and decorate the table with a variety of pears ornaments, added some silver candlelight holders to complete the look.


A centerpiece made with pine cones, green apples, festive ornaments, and pine branches brings out the holiday spirit.

Menu is also printed out.


More views of the table.

Originally I wanted something more casual but changed my mind at the last minute to make a festive table so I really did not spend a lot of time putting it together but I like the outcome.

Table is done and ready for us to sit down for dinner.


Indurian is an appetizer from the Basque country.  It is usually made with Bonito tuna Belly, Anchovy, Guindilla pepper, & olive.

I like everything about it with the exception of the tuna belly so I used raw tuna instead.  I could not find Guindilla pepper so replaced it with pepperroncini.



It is briny, salty, spicy, all in one bite and very flavorful.

Click on LINK to see preparation

For the appetizers I am taking my guests to the flavors of Spain with Indurian and Boquerones (marinated anchovies).


Indurian platter, olives, and Boquerones.

Click on LINK to see preparation

Boquerones are so time consuming to prepare.  I think it took me a least a good hour just to de-boned, gutted and cutting off the head of the anchovies.  However they are delicious with a nice piece of bread.

Gathering around the appetizers table.

Ha, Hang, Loan, Maily and I

Hanh, Huyen, Maily and Loan.

There was an accident on the freeway and Huyen and Phuc got stuck and arrive a bit later.


All the ladies...



Looks like Tuan is describing something while Phuc and Tuan are smiling...

Champagne are brought out but Phuc decided we should stick to red and white wine for the evening.

Pahlmeyer Napa Vlley Merlot 2008

Calera 2010 Mi8lls vineyard Pinot noir

We ended drinking 5 bottles during the course of the evening. 3 reds and 2 whites.

White wine: Pahlmeyer Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2010 and Fare Neinte Napa Valley Chardonnay 2012

Red Wine: 2 bottles of Pahlmeyer Napa Vlley Merlot 2008 and a bottle of

Calera 2010 Mi8lls vineyard Pinot noir

Next.. Dinner/Desserts



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