What are your holiday food traditions?
Are warm baking spices a prerequisite to the season? Or do you need a standing rib roast to make it official? Here are five holiday food traditions that you may want to include in your home this season.
Decorate a gingerbread house:
Decorating for the holidays in our house can be challenging, so an edible decoration is a great fit. We have made our own from scratch (if you do, I recommend this recipe from Confetti Cakes.) But more recently, we have chosen a kit. Our Costco often sells a pre-assembled gingerbread house, allowing you to do the fun part of decorating. Sometimes Trader Joe’s also offers a kit around the holidays as well.
As far as holiday food traditions go, sugar cookies are a definite crowd-pleaser. If you’ve read this article, you understand how strongly I feel about this sugar cookie recipe- and how easily it can be the perfect addition to just about every celebration. Nothing like a few trees, bells and stars with colored sugar to dress up your holiday table.
Christmas Eve in California usually falls in the middle of Dungeness crab season. So even though my husband grew up eating Swedish meatballs, he has come around to crab. We often celebrate with a light meal of crab, salad, and sourdough bread. If we want a bit more, then we add some clam chowder that we grab from the fish counter when we pick up the crab.
When my husband was growing up, Christmas morning always meant a pan of cinnamon rolls – the neat spirals plucked out of a tube that you had to whack on the kitchen counter to open. In our house, we always had brunch – no must-have menu, but definitely brunch-y food. So now I typically bake a batch of Molly Wizenberg’s cinnamon rolls, and pop a package of bacon in the air fryer. Add a mimosa (or the sparkling peach wine from Trader Joe’s) and you’re good to go.
Potato (and corn) soup:
As a kid, my grandmother and mother would make a pureed potato soup for a light supper on Christmas night. As an adult, I have struggled to make such a soup without it turning out gummy. I am also trying to stay away from as much dairy as is required to make the recipe as they originally prepared it.
Instead, I lean toward a modified version of a corn and potato chowder. If you have more summer corn than you can handle, you can shave it off the cob and freeze the raw kernels in 2-cup portions for later. If not, a bag of frozen corn kernels works just fine (try to find white corn- it doesn’t tend to get as mushy).
Corn and Potato Chowder
- 3 T butter
- 1 cup onion diced
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 t dried thyme or 1 t fresh
- 1 leaf dried bay
- 4 cups stock chicken or vegetable
- 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes scrubbed and diced
- 2 cups corn kernels fresh or frozen
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a 6-quart pot, melt butter. Add onions and garlic and cook until translucent, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Stir in thyme, bay leaf, and stock, and bring to a boil.
- Add diced potatoes, and reduce heat. Simmer until potatoes are cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in corn kernels and simmer until warmed through.
- Remove and discard bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve hot, with grated white cheddar cheese (optional).
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