Simple foods make dinner manageable

[attach]1089[/attach]For many, Christmas Eve is a time for a time-intensive feast of turkey, stuffing, and all the trimmings.

For chocolatier Ingrid Laederach Steven, the busy holiday season has forced her to pare down the festive feast.

But not the flavour.

For the owner of Swiss Master Chocolatier on Bayview Avenue, the holiday season means working around the clock to stuff gift baskets with delicious goodies. A third generation chocolatier, Steven moved to Toronto three decades ago and quickly developed a simple Christmas tradition.

In a recipe called raclette, after the cheese that adorns the dish, unpeeled potatoes are boiled and served warm in a bread basket with a hearty topping of onions, paprika and the namesake Swiss cheese on top. Steven likens raclette’s flavour to a mild Oka cheese, and says the dish is a big hit in her household.

“We have a very close knit family, and I am sure they love it,” Steven says. The simple meal may have roots in Switzerland, she says, but has mostly developed as a response to her own busy holiday schedule.

“It’s crazy, crazy, crazy, and by the time it’s Christmas I have no time to make a big meal,” she says.

Another Swiss dish Stevens serves during the holidays is a roulette wheel with tête de moine cheese and chocolate which, when turned, rolls the chocolate and cheese together.

Stevens, who has two daughters in the Toronto area, says simplifying the holiday traditions leaves more time for enjoying with family.

“Tradition is a funny word,” she says. “You build your own traditions with your family.

“There are so many traditions, but Christmas Eve is a very special time for family.”