Our Cleveland-inspired Christmas Dinner

After a nerd-tastic Christmas morning filled with LEGOs, Muppets, Doctor Who, video games and Monty Python, Scott and I cooked our Cleveland-inspired Christmas dinner.

The best gift that Scott and I gave each other this Christmas was a day off.

We had visited Scott’s parents a few weekends ago for an early Christmas. And on Christmas Eve, my parents, sister, Scott and I met halfway between Virginia and Cleveland for our fourth annual Christmas Eve lunch. So that meant we had a full day off on Sunday to stay at home, relax, and not worry about work.

Honestly, this was the first day in over four months where we had an entire day completely to ourselves.

Part of our Christmas Dinner spread, including sausage stuffing, cured salmon, bacon brussel sprouts and a roast from Geauga Farms

So after the most nerd-tastic Christmas morning we’ve ever had, it was time to cook!

I’ve said countless times here that I don’t like cooking. But one of the things I’ve realized this year from exploring more of Cleveland’s restaurants is the importance of eating local at home, in addition to when we’re out.

Over the last few months, I’ve been trying to cook more and working in more local ingredients. I haven’t been 100% successful at this, but our little steps here and there have started to make a difference.

Because of this, Scott and I wanted to make a Christmas dinner that was inspired by some of the delicious food we’ve had this year.

One of my contributions to Christmas Dinner: Baby Blue Salad with crumbled blue cheese, blackberries, pecans and pears

We started with one of my favorite things I learned at this Fall’s Fabulous Food Show: cured salmon. We added lemon zest to the lime and grapefruit zest we tried last time. And I’m happy to say the Ruhlman’s Twenty recipe still held up the second time around!

For one of our sides, I then took inspiration from a dish I love at Deagan’s in Lakewood. Scott’s always claimed to not be a fan of brussel sprouts. But after I had Deagan’s amazing pork belly brussel sprouts at an Ohio Blogging meetup, I knew that if Scott mixed bacon with the vegetable, he’d be won over.

My other contribution to Christmas dinner: bacon and brown sugar brussel sprouts

Deagan’s does it much, much better than I could ever dream of doing, but I used a bacon and brown sugar brussel sprouts recipe I found online for our Christmas dinner.   Scott admitted when I came home from work yesterday that he enjoyed it so much at Christmas dinner, he had brussel sprout leftovers for lunch.

Scott having vegetables for lunch? That’s unheard of!

Scott slicing our roast from Geauga Family Farms

Our main course was courtesy of Geauga Family Farms.  I wanted to try out a CSA for meat (we don’t eat enough vegetables for a vegetable-share) so through our friend’s subscription we ordered a small box of their grass-fed beef. For $63, we got:

  • 5 pounds ground beef (at least 90% lean)
  • 4 steaks (2 sirloin and 2 T-bone, Porter or Strip)
  • 1 roast (approx. 2.5 pounds)

The roast was the perfect size for our 2-person Christmas dinner. Scott cooked it up with some mushrooms, bacon and the fresh spices leftover from the other dishes. It was so juicy and delicious that I can’t wait to try the rest of beef that came in our “Box o’ Beef.”

The salmon, brussel sprouts and roast – along with the salad, homemade vinaigrette and sausage stuffing – were perfectly complemented by the Spann Chardonnay Viognier blend I picked up at Miss WineOH’s Market Ave tasting and bottle of Amador Foothill’s Late Harvest Semillon Scott and I picked up at Light Bistro. I’m a huge fan of the blend’s rich flavor, and the strong honey notes in the Semillon were a welcome addition.

The sweets from Hungry Bee that we picked up at the Fabulous Food Show really pushed our mini-pecan pie and ice cream dessert over the top - so good (and pretty)!

Handmade sweets from Chef Kimberly McCune’s Hungry Bee topped our dessert, ensuring our dinner was just as deliciously sweet, as it was savory.

I will fully admit there was some highly stressful moments as Scott and I cooked dinner together and maybe a couple instances of me yelling my head off about something. Cooking still causes completely irrational stress in me. However, the more I do it, the more comfortable I’m becoming with certain things.  And I’m seeing how you can make something work, even if you’ve messed something up in a recipe.

I needed a lot of this to unwind after cooking!

The valuable lessons I learned, coupled with the accomplishment I felt at cooking Christmas dinner made our relaxing day at home so much better.

Next up? New Year’s Day dinner with pork, lentils and more brussel sprouts. In fact, I need to go draft up our West Side Market shopping list right now!


If you’re really curious what we cooked, here are the recipes Scott and I used with some modifications where noted:

7 thoughts on “Our Cleveland-inspired Christmas Dinner

  1. Jill (@bonnjill)

    My Christmas dinner was inspired by the Grovewood Tavern’s Mad Men cocktail dinner from several years ago. I had my parents over and made bacon-wrapped filet mignon with a bourbon sauce and grilled brie salad with pear vinaigrette. My mom made two vegetable side dishes that were inspired by the Barefoot Contessa (rum glazed carrots and a potato, zucchini and tomato layered dish). I screwed up the bourbon sauce and almost went without, but my mother improvised and saved the day. I used my George Foreman grill while Mom had the oven. Everything turned out wonderful. Glad to hear your Christmas was as peaceful and restful as mine.

  2. mryjhnsn

    You did an amazing job! For new years you should try caramelizing your brussel sprouts in olive oil with onions and then add bacon (cause everything really does taste better with bacon). K never ate them till I made them for him and he is hooked 😀

    I think I am going t try the salmon some time soon!

    Enjoy your time off and till the Austin kids, hey!

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