It is always a challenge to decide what to make for Christmas Eve dinner. I have done lamb, crab & lobster bisque, and last year I made tamales—since Jan discovered that she is a quarter Cora, we have been trending toward Mexican cuisine in our Christmas celebrations. This year, Miriam asked for tri-tip tacos—and tacos call out for beans.
Category Archives: Holidays
Jan’s family Christmas Eve traditional meal was Grandpa Von Hausen’s goulash. This was a Depression era dish of bacon, hamburger, onions, a whole bottle of ketchup, garlic, paprika, and cans of peas, kidney beans, and pork & beans. The idea was that this dish would sustain the family throughout the days of Christmas—without anyone needing to stop and cook.
This Thanksgiving, I did a deconstructed stuffed turkey. Jan invited one of her former Chinese students to dinner and she had requested American “festival foods.” Since I still have half a turkey in my freezer, I did not want to do another, but I thought I could adapt my recipe to chicken.
One of Jan’s students is coming to dinner with her husband and she had asked for (American) festival food. I decided to do a chicken variation of my Thanksgiving turkey and I wanted a hot vegetable dish to go with it. Green beans are always a good choice, because you can steam them to just tender and then set them aside. Reheat them with some aromatics, just before serving, gives you a quick hot vegetable.
This is a simplified variation of the turkey I made two years ago. It produces a really moist bird and a savory stuffing that was well worth repeating. It also has the advantage of roasting in under two hours—true it does not produce a Norman Rockwell turkey, but flavor and convenience over presentation!
A meat and carbohydrates heavy Thanksgiving dinner calls for at least one green vegetable side. This year, I decided on Brussels sprouts, one of Jan’s favorites. However, being a holiday meal I wanted something more than just plain steamed sprouts.
I made some deviled eggs for Jan’s Ethno Breakfast—a local (Bay Area) meeting of corporate ethnologists. We had some leftover smoked trout and I thought I would experiment with it, in case Jan asked me to make another dish for the next event. Plain deviled eggs are an infinite canvas for creative new dishes.