This time of year, ham and turkey are the stars of the show with stuffing, gravy, and ALL the yams playing a supporting role. Sometimes, however, there is such a thing as too many mashed potatoes (I know, my Irish grandparents are rolling over in their graves right now). Instead of the traditional Christmas Roast Beast, why not mix it up with something new and creative? Here are a few ideas that might suit your palate and have your guests praising your culinary prowess all the way through Valentine’s Day.
Pick a Cultural Spotlight
This is one of the best ways to learn about how other cultures celebrate this holiday as well as to try new types of food and explore customs of others. Instead of going the traditional Christmas Dinner route, pick a country or culture, and research if and how they celebrate this time of year. Maybe it’s the Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve or the fact that in Japan, Kentucky Fried Chicken has managed to successfully market itself as THE Christmas food, but no matter what you choose, honor the people by learning a little about their traditions and the meaning behind their customs, and then find some recipes and bring a little bit of the world into your kitchen.
Go wine country with this one, and create a spread of cheeses and fine meats mimicking your favorite charcuterie board, or ask your deli counter for some recommendations on a great salami and cheese pairing. Spruce up your counter with some olives, a baked Brie en Crute, and your favorite cabernet, and you’ve got yourself a sophisticated and yummy little feast.
Breakfast for Dinner
This year, my family has decided to forgo the typical feast for a Christmas Brunch. I think it probably stemmed from a craving for Mimosas, but, no matter where it came from, it promises to be an amazing spread. Think of the possibilities! Breakfast is the most diverse meal, offering both sweet and savory options, multiple textures, and the potential for some major flavor. Our menu this year will be Skewered Mini Pancakes, Cheesy Bacon Scrambled Eggs, Smokey Links, a fruit tray, freshly baked muffins, gourmet coffee, and, of course, that beautiful sparkly creation, the Mimosa. You could mix it up with an omelette station or a yogurt bar (different types of yogurt and toppings), swap pancakes for waffles or french toast, or even offer different types of bacon (Canadian Bacon, fried, or my favorite, Million Dollar Bacon).
Don’t Wanna Cook?
Merry Christmas to You: no dishes! Here is a list of local places that will be open on Christmas Day.