Mom’s Asparagus Almondine, a Toddler’s Love for Shark’s Fin Soup, and More from Christmas Evefeatured

Asparagus Almondine

Asparagus Almondine

christmas-2008-013 When I go home I take full advantage of my mom’s home cooking 🙂 . She has an uncanny way of throwing together a dish without a recipe, and timing everything just right. Must be a mom thing.

Our Christmas Eve dinner was no exception, and as usual, we had an interesting mix of American and Chinese food on the table.

We started the meal with some Shark’s Fin Soup, which is often served at special occasions like holidays and wedding banquets. My mom makes it with homemade chicken broth, chicken meat, and dried scallops.

Shark’s Fin Soup

Shark’s Fin Soup

From what I’ve been told, I had a penchant for this delicacy ever since I was a toddler.

I was two and my brother was four. The scope of our “eating out” experience was limited to the few wedding banquets we had attended with our parents. Now, if you’ve ever been to a traditional Chinese banquet, you’ll know that all sorts of interesting foods are served, like abalone, roasted pigeon, and shark’s fin soup.

In our little worlds, these (expensive) dishes were normal restaurant food. One evening, my Italian-American Uncle Tony took up the challenge of babysitting us. He had one task at hand: feed the kids dinner. He decided it would be easiest to just eat out. So, off we went.

We sat down, and he asked us what we wanted.

“I want shark’s fin soup, Uncle Tony!” I cried.
My brother declared, “Roasted pigeon!”

That was the last time Uncle Tony ever babysat for us 😉 .

Also on our Christmas Eve dinner menu was Prime Rib, prepared with a secret rub courtesy of my Grandpa.

Prime rib

Prime rib

Nice and rare

Nice and rare

Sides included a Medley of Roasted Potatoes, with Red Russet, Purple Peruvian, and New Potatoes…Roasted Carrots, Parsnips, and Celery


Stir Fried Shrimp

Stir Fried Shrimp

…and Asparagus Almondine.

Asparagus Almondine
Incredibly easy to make, this dish is great if you find healthy, fresh, asparagus spears.

1 bunch of asparagus
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash asparagus and trim the bottom ends of the stalks. Fill a pot with cold water, place asparagus in, and bring to a boil. Test a piece at this point. The asparagus should be cooked until just tender (not mushy).

Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the garlic until fragrant.

Pour over the asparagus, top with almonds, and salt and pepper to taste.

(Serves 4).

Print Recipe

Other highlights from Christmas at home – I walked away with some pretty awesome gifts. Loot Specimen 1: A Mandolin!

Unrapping Mandolin mandolin

I can’t wait to break this baby in. Perfect, thin, even, slices with one effortless swipe, here I come! Apple Gallette? No problem. Scalloped Potato Gratin? Sure thing. Oooh so exciting!! Thanks, Katie and Big Bro 🙂 .

Loot Specimen 2: A Tomato Pie from Corropolese! The real thing. Straight from Norristown. If you read this, you know how obsessed I am. Amazing.

Corropolese Christmas tomato pie

Ya done good, baby.


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