As I sit here recapping Thanksgiving I am working on decking the halls, lighting the tree, and planning the meals, decor, for this next phase of the holiday season. Whether your celebrating Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa or some other holiday at this time of year food always plays a key role in it.
Sure we’re taking a breath and thinking I can’t do that again for another year but in all reality we have to do it all again in about a month. Planning is key this time of year if you don’t want to get stressed out. So, one morning this week, get up early when everyone is still asleep, get out a pen and paper and make yourself a coffee or tea and begin jotting your thoughts as to what makes Christmas the most Christmassy for you.
I for one need the house dripping with holiday decor and I will be writing about that soon but for know we’re going to think about the food and drinks of the holidays.
Growing up my mom always had a pot of mulling spices on the stove simmering. I can also clearly recall going to a family friends house where the mom always made egg nog from scratch. Gingerbread houses are fun and I may do one but they are horribly impractical to eat or do anything with when the holiday is coming to an end. A lot of family have Christmas cookies and candies they make or maybe it’s something equally delicious.
Over the years I have been stumped with Christmas dinner. Normally I focus on Chanukah and Christmas is an after thought. This year we have the dilemma that both Christmas and Chanukah fall at the same time of year. Since Chanukah is Cheese Blintzes and Russian Cheery Walnut Latkes I am thinking that week I will serve those for lunch so I can still do a Christmas dinner.
When it comes to Christmas I have always been taken with traditional images and notions. I love Charles Dickens Christmas Carole, Norman Rockwell’s images of Santa Clause, Victorian Christmas Feasts and so on. This got me thinking about what I could do for a meal. Then it hit me. A Christmas Goose.
So I started digging around through my cookbooks and magazines. There were a few but nothing really grabbed my attention. I then turned to Google and found a Saveur article from November 2011 that was a recipe for Christmas Goose with Stuffing. This recipe uses flavors like chestnuts, apples, beets, potatoes, parsnips, celeriac and Brussels sprouts. This immediately got my attention. This recipe offered the main, sides, and gravy all in one delicious recipe.
Then it was on to dessert. What to make. There are countless options! However in the back of my mind I kept thinking about that victorian feast. That’s when I came across a recipe from Fine Cooking DEC/JAN #114 for a Gingerbread-Brandy Trifle. What says victorian more than goose and trifle!
Now the recipes and the menu were getting me really excited. Next was how to start the meal. Because I was neck deep in planning Thanksgiving I wasn’t thinking about Christmas anymore. I was at the last farmers market of the season and one farmer had mounds of sunchokes. I bought a bunch because I knew this was an ingredient I wanted to work with. When I got home I started digging through my cookbooks for recipes and struck out book after book. I was getting discouraged. Then I turned to Dandelion & Quince. Sure enough she had a section one these little gems. In that section what did I find? A recipe for Sunchoke and Chestnut Soup with Caramelized Chestnuts and Pumpkin Seed Oil. CHRISTMAS DINNER! Shouted in my head. What better way to start off my feast than with this unique soup?! Heck, I might even make a batch of Yorkshire Pudding!
So whatever your feast or treats, and no matter the holiday you celebrate, remember now is the time to plan! Happy Holidays!