Celebrating Christmas with family and friends

Twas the day before Christmas and all through the house, was the smell of food baking with the exception of grouse.  The cookies were placed by the chimney with care, for all Christmas guests who soon would be there.  OK so I’m not a poet!  What I am, though, is a person who loves to cook.     The anticipation of Christmas coming has always been a source of inspiration.  This year was no different.   In planning the menu, I wanted the food to be festive, interesting, luscious and a little over the top, yet traditional.  For traditional, I decided to go with eggs Benedict, Quiche, gravlax, bloody marys and roasted chestnuts.

 chestnut shelling

For festive, there were ginger bread eggnog martinis. I thought miniature cheddar grit soufflés in their own little ramekins and prosciutto wrapped figs with balsamic reduction would be interesting and what could be more “over the top” then Blueberry – goat cheese – basil pie.

Blueberry Goat Cheese Pie

I needed a vegetable to round off the nutritional aspects of the meal so cauliflower gratin was thrown in for good measure. Oh, and one more thing, something special for my husband……….a raspberry crumb cake. He always has had a sweet tooth.

Gravlax with capers and mustard-dill sauce

Gravlax with capers and mustard-dill sauce

With all the food on the table (except the eggsBenedict, which were made to order), family and friends gathered enthusiastically to celebrate.  My daughter made a scalloped oyster dish that has been in our family since I was a small child.  A neighbor friend of ours shared the recipe with my Mom and Dad that had been in her family for generations.  We loved it so much, it has become a tradition.  My daughter’s boyfriend contributed a scalloped potato dish with a beautiful golden-brown crusty cheese top.

What a wonderful Christmas day it was. There is always an undeniable heartfelt connection when sharing food and conversation with friends and family.

As everyone left I heard them exclaim “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good bite !”

 

Basil Infused Buerre Blanc Sauce

Ingredients:

¼ C dry sparkling wine

¼ Cup tarragon vinegar

2 T minced shallots (1 medium shallot)

6 whole black peppercorns

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 vanilla bean, split

¾ cup heavy cream, room temp

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, cubed and chilled, but not cold and hard

2 T finely chopped fresh basil

 

In a small sauce pan combine the wine, vinegar, shallots, peppercorns and thyme sprigs.  Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the pan with the bean.   Turn the heat to medium high and reduce the contents until the pan is nearly dry.  Add the heavy cream and cook until slightly reduced and the sauce coats the back of a spoon.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Whisk the butter into the sauce a piece at a time. Add the finely chopped basil.  Let rest for 10 minutes.  Strain the sauce through a fine sieve.  Season with a bit of salt.  Use right away or hold in a warm bath or thermos.  Serve with sea scallops, lobster, fish or steak. Makes about 1/2 Cup.

Kim Bokampers Sports Bar & Grill: casual water-side dining featuring comfort food and football

Bokampers signBokampers sign

Initially my fears were realized when I found myself standing in a line of twenty people at the door of Kim Bokampers Sports Bar and Grill.  However, the line went fast and I was seated within minutes.  Even with the wooden tables and the crowds of people standing two deep around the bar, the mood of the place was captured: televisions lining every wall end-to-end, lively patrons cheering spontaneously as the football games streamed across the screens, the hum of conversation, the bustle of servers with plates piled high coming out of the kitchen, every table occupied, the feeling that what was happening was worth being a part of.

The server greeted me right away as I sat on the patio overlooking the intra-coastal water way.  She had a big smile and a bright, sunny attitude.  I was here about ten days ago and asked for a gluten-free beer but the manager told me they didn’t have any yet.  He said it was on order and it would be in sometime next week.  So I asked my server if they had any and she said they had one, “Angry Orchard”.  It tasted like apple cider and upon further investigation; I found out that it is hard cider, not beer.

Tropical Roll

The “tropical roll” looked like an interesting menu choice. For $14.99 you get a sushi roll filled with pineapple, cucumber, mango, avocado and albacore tuna.  It took 10 minutes and was well executed and beautifully plated with a delicious sesame-sriracha sauce.  All of the ingredients were fresh with the exception of the star of the plate, the albacore tuna.  It tasted like a washed up sea urchin that had been sitting in the sun for a few hours!

Wings

Bokampers is famous for their signature chicken wings.  The wings are tossed in a combination of medium, BBQ and garlic sauces, and then grilled. For $13.99 you get ten “Bo’s wings”.  I decided to try them; after all, this is a sports bar and what better to eat while watching the game?  The wings took 20 minutes to come to the table and were served just barely warm.  I must admit though, the flavor was perfect. A little spicy and a little sweet, delish!

Overall, the service was good and I had no problems with my bill.  They got it right the first time…..amazing!……and they didn’t automatically add in the gratuity, something that I detest!

Bokampers menu features mostly comfort food like peel and eat shrimp, smokehouse ribs, fish n’chips and macaroni and cheese. Finger foods are also prevalent on the menu with mahi-mahi fish tacos, BBQ pork sliders, sandwiches, wraps, and a variety of flat breads and burgers.  Mostly everything is reasonably priced under $20.00 with the exception of the New York strip steak at $26.99.

Be prepared if you are a non-smoker and you want to sit outside.  The entire patio section allows smoking.  Some of the smoke drifted towards small children at neighboring tables.  If you don’t like it, you have to sit inside or go somewhere else.  For boaters, the convenience of docking on the intra-coastal waterway goes a long way.

With families and people of all ages dressed in shorts, sneakers, t-shirts and swim suits it’s a great casual place for college students to go to watch the game and hang out with friends, however, it lacks the charm of places that have been doing the same thing for decades, a time when eating out was enchanting and special, reserved for either the beautiful people or an occasion.  This restaurant is located at 3115 NE 32nd Ave., Fort Lauderdale, FL  33308.