I’m back!  School is done for the semester and I am back home in Grand Rapids, Michigan for the holidays.  Since I have nothing to do for a few weeks I thought it was about time I restart this bloggy thing.

Every year my family prepares our traditional Christmas Eve Dinner.  It varies slightly from year to year but always consists of London broil smothered in a garlic and oil mixture, steamed artichokes with Italian dressing, and boiled potatoes with Bearnaise sauce.

You’re probably wondering, “how is he blogging about Christmas Eve already?  It’s only the 21st.  Does he have a time machine?”  Good questions.  You’re smart.

We had to do Christmas a little early this year because my sister and her boyfriend could only make it up here from North Carolina for the week before Christmas.  They flew back yesterday.  So we decided we’d just play around with the calendar a bit and move Christmas back to the 19th to accommodate them.  So Christmas Eve dinner was on the 18th this year (which also happens to be my sister’s birthday.  There was cake.  I’ll get to that).

And, yes, I do have a time machine:

For this cooking adventure I handed the camera off to my sister.  Let’s see what happened.

Here are some beautifully posed pictures of the various ingredients that went into the meal:

Artichokes!

Artichokes, redskin potatoes, garlic, gross asparagus, and a bottle of wine for some reason

Garlic on my parents' fancy new cutting board thingy

Flank steak!

The first thing I did was to chop the garlic with the fancy cutting board/knife thing, while making faces at the camera.

It worked really well.  It takes a lot less effort and concentration and the garlic came out well minced.

I put the garlic in a bowl with some lemon juice, olive oil, black pepper, and salt.  Then I mixed it all together while making another silly face.

While all this is happening the artichokes were steaming and the potatoes were boiling.  The artichokes take roughly 45 minutes to an hour.  The potatoes will vary by their size.  Just stick a fork in them to see if they are done.  Artichokes are a bit trickier.  You need to pull a leaf off occasionally to see if it is softening up.

Once I was done mixing the oil and garlic mixture together it was time to score the meat.  This is done by running a sharp knife blade across the surface of the meat.  Each slice should just cut into the meat.  You don’t want to make deep gouges into it.  Space each slit about 3/4 of an inch apart across the meat.  Then do the same thing running perpendicular to the first lines.  Flip the meat and repeat (that rhymed).

Next, I slathered on the oil and garlic mixture.  I didn’t use all of it though.  You need to save a little for later.

It is important to have a towel thrown over your shoulder while you cook.  People do it on TV so you should do it in real life.

While I was slaving away in the kitchen someone set the table.  We go all out for Christmas Eve dinner.  We use the fancy dishes and everything.

Behold!  The dining room table:

Can you spot the difference between this picture and the previous one?

We always have the artichokes as an appetizer while some of the other stuff finishes cooking.  With artichokes it is important to have one or two discard bowls for all the leafy bits and a bowl of Italian dressing for dipping.

The artichoke heart is the reward for all the hard work that goes into eating an artichoke.  A well steamed artichoke will have a soft, warm and hearty center.

Once we finished our artichokes it was time to finish up the rest of the cooking.  My mom made the Bearnaise sauce.  This is easy.  Buy butter, milk, and Bearnaise sauce packets.  Read the back of the packet.  Do what it says.

Bearnaise sauce is not healthy, but it is delicious.  It is basically butter, milk, and various herbs.  It is good on everything.

At some point the potatoes happened.

Why can't I look at the camera with a normal face?

The next step was the steak.  This is the star of the meal and usually the only time during the year that my sister eats meat (don’t worry, I’ve given her a hard time about it over the years).

The meat gets 5 minutes per side on the broiler.  When you flip it spread the remainder of the garlic and oil mixture on it.

When it is done let it rest on the cutting board for 10 minutes.  This is important.  Just let it be.  10 minutes should give you ample time to take pictures of it and pose people with the meat.

After the meat has rested for 10 minutes it is time to give in to temptation and cut it into thin strips.

Cut the meat at a diagonal.

Once again, very photogenic.

The meat should be rare and bloody.  Most meat should be rare and bloody.  If you are going to eat all your meat well done you might as well eat a salad because you are ruining a perfectly good piece of meat.

Here’s the recipe we used for the London broil.  It comes from an ancient Sumerian text known as the Betty Crocker Cookbook.

At some point there was asparagus in the meal, but let’s try to forget that.  It is a retched vegetable.

Begone foul thing!

After dinner we had red velvet cake.  Red velvet cake is the greatest of all cakes.  This is fact, not opinion.

You know the meal was a success when you look like this afterwords:

One more silly face:

Merry Christmas!