Christmas Party Recipes クリスマスパーティのレシピ

Here are a few recipes I came up with for the Kitakyushu JET Christmas party this weekend (thanks for having us, Mash!). People seemed to like them (unless they were just lying to be nice to me), so if you’re pressed for something to cook next weekend, these are pretty easy and fun to make. Actually, the lobster stock wasn’t that easy… but it was good. I would also recommend serving the lobster stock at a more “formal,” “sit-down”-type gathering as opposed to a potluck-type event, because it can be difficult to serve and keep warm at the latter, and the greens tend to lose their structure and aroma if they’re kept in the broth for too long.

Note: Measurements are completely approximated (be careful), and all herbs and spices are to taste.

Meatballs with Fruit and Spice Sauce


about 2 pounds ground beef, pork, and/or poultry
1/2 medium onion, minced
about 1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
about 1 cup rye toast crumbs
fresh parsely, chopped
fennel seed
mustard seed and/or horseradish
sharp cheddar cheese, crumbled or shredded
Gruyere cheese, crumbled or shredded
salt and pepper
butter, for frying
olive oil, for frying

  1. Combine all ingredients except salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl with your hands until homogeneous. If mixture appears too dry, add more Worcestershire sauce; if it appears too wet, add more bread crumbs.
  2. Form into small balls, about 4 centimeters in diameter. Arrange on a plate and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Melt butter in olive oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet until butter begins to sizzle and smoke. Add meatballs and brown on each side (about 1-2 minutes per side, or 6-8 minutes total, depending on size of meatballs), then remove and drain on paper towel or a mesh rack.


1 medium onion, chopped
about 3/4 cup prunes, chopped
1 medium apple, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
1 persimmon, peeled and choppped (about 3/4 cup)
1 small green bell pepper, chopped (optional)
about 12 ounces canned diced tomatoes
about 1/4 cup dark lager beer
apple cider vinegar
carraway seed
salt and pepper
butter and/or olive oil, for sauteeing
Tabasco sauce (optional)

  1. Heat butter and/or oil on medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet. Add onions, prunes, and salt and pepper and cook until slightly softened, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add apple, persimmon, an ounce or two of beer, a few tablespoons of vinegar, carraway seed, and a large pinch of salt. As for the beer, I used Yebisu Black, which was perfect; malty but not cloying, with low hop content and mild chocolate notes. Any Dunkel weizen would be an excellent choice as well.
  3. Cook, covered, for about 5 minutes, or until apples and persimmons are tender.
  4. Add tomatoes and spices and cook, uncovered, for another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Optional: Ladle mixture into a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth.

  6. Taste to check spice, salt, and vinegar content. Adjust accordingly. If mixture is too tart, add more beer and cook for a few more minutes.

Finally, add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for just a few minutes to warm. I served this on some homemade spaetzle with butter and fresh parsely, but I’m not going to post the recipe for that because it turned out kind of wonky. Good, but… wonky. You could also serve it with regular egg noodles, dumplings, brown rice, or a thick chunk of rye bread. Whatever floats your boat. Your Christmasy, meatball-filled boat.

Seriously geeked about meatballs.A pretty blonde and an artisanal ale. Life is good.They're happy because they ate lobster soup.

Lobster Stock with Red and Green Vegetables

3 medium lobster carcasses, roughly chopped (do not remove innards)
olive oil, for frying
butter, for frying
sesame oil, for frying
about 1/3 cup dry sake, dry white wine, or dry vermouth
1/2 bulb of garlic
1 large or 2 medium carrots
1 onion, halved
salt and pepper
3 bunches chrysanthemum greens (shungiku) or other fragrant, leafy greens, roughly chopped or torn
1 kintoki carrot or other red vegetable, sliced
peel and juice of 1/2 yuzu or kabosu
about 3 liters water
prepared dashi or red miso broth (optional)

  1. Melt butter in oil over high heat in a large stock pot or dutch oven (without non-stick coating) until smoking. Add lobster carcasses and press down into the oil. Add salt and pepper and fry for about 5 minutes, allowing the lobster to stick to the pan.
  2. Pour in sake/wine/vermouth to deglaze (be careful of spattering oil) and use a wooden spoon to scrape up carbonized lobster bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until most of the liquor has evaporated.
  3. Add garlic, carrots, onion, yuzu/kabosu peel and juice, and a few healthy pinches of salt. Pour in water and bring to a boil.
  4. Once water boils, reduce heat slightly and simmer, uncovered, for about an hour. Let sit for another 30 minutes to cool, then remove large chunks with tongs or a slotted spoon, and strain broth through fine cheesecloth or a thin, lint-free towel.
  5. Taste and adjust with more salt, pepper, or yuzu/kabosu juice. If you need a larger volume of stock, add prepared dashi or miso broth.
  6. At this point, stock can be frozen and stored for quite a while (I assume).

  7. Just before serving, bring stock to a boil, and add carrots and greens to blanch until tender (don’t overcook!). Serve piping hot in deep bowls.

Variation: If you want to make this even more Christmasy, you can use leeks or green onions in place of the greens to add a bit of white to the soup.


These recipes are easier than this picture would suggest. Trust me.


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