Monday, January 10, 2011

A Traditional Christmas Breakfast...

There is something about the idea of heritage that really strikes a chord with me. My holidays are very much a celebration of heritage. My fathers mostly, but absolutely a family affair. As my family often liked to do things, it was a big deal. The whole celebration is focused around a huge breakfast of what one might call "old world" flavors. There is crusty bread, pickled onions, olives, hot and sweet Portuguese chorizo, Gin, and then as my aunt Joan calls it "de gyarlic pork". Garlic pork is made for Christmas breakfast at my house and the whole insane process is as follows.

a) chop up 40 or 50 cloves of garlic
b) layer a 3L or 4L jar with garlic, thyme, hot pepper, slices of uncooked pork, vinegar until it is full. seal the jar, leave it for 3 -5 days.
c) wake up at 5am on Christmas morning and boil the pork in the pickling juice, waking up everyone in the house with an equally terrifying and delicious smell of meat boiling in garlic pork juice. its intense.
d) remove the pork from the boiling pickling juice and fry it until golden on both sides.

The taste is briny, sweet, and savory from the thyme. It could be described as an acquired taste.

So all of this food usually makes it on the table for right before 10am, at which point somewhere between 20 to 40 relatives and family friends start pouring into the house. No joking. There were my brothers and sisters, and their families, my uncle Almindo, uncle Burnie, uncle John Vera, sometimes my uncle Joe, and my uncle John (who is the only actual real uncle out of that bunch of dudes). My dad would have a shot of Gin with all the guys and pass out by lunch time. then he would wake up a few hours later to make dinner. which obviously was a whole other affair that is worthy of its own blawg post sometime in the future.

in the theme of heritage, i want to shout out my girls Kat and Michelle who bought me a sweet Opinel knife for Christmas. its a great knife, with a rich 121 year history. goggle it.

The recipe im including is a riff on a classic French salad i saw someone make on a PBS show about 5 or 6 years ago. The original has baby potatoes, mustard, shallots, boiled egg, radicchio. i adapted it to make it a side for big roasts.

Mustard Potato's


1 pound red and yellow baby or fingerling potato's - washed
3 shallots - sliced thin
3 table spoons mustard Pommery or Dijon with the seeds
1/4 of a head of a radicchio, sliced as thin as you can
1 - 1.5 oz Grade A maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil for cooking


1. Boil the potato's in heavily salted boiling water for 15 minutes.

2. remove potato's from the water and set aside. they can sit for 20 mins to half an hour, as it should be a warm salad.

3. in a pan cook shallots in the olive oil over a low heat until fully caramelized.

4. add potatos, to the pan with the schallots and and remove from heat. combine all other ingredients and mix until covered.

serve as a side and enjoy!