Germany celebrates 12 days of Christmas, beginning on the 25th (a holiday) and ending on January 6th, All Kings Day (a national holiday where kids get presents brought from the “kings”). But before embarking on this season, Christmas Eve hails in the gifts of the Christ Child and sets the spiritual tone for a time of closeness, intimacy and basically, hanging out. On Christmas Eve, the kids are occupied in one room while the Tree is placed out and decorated. A bell is rung, and the kids emerge to find it glowing, and each family member has a special plate with his or her name on it filled with candy, sweets, nuts. The family enjoys a huge feast, and opens the gifts the christ child left for them while they were at church (Saint Nick comes on Dec. 5th, leaving candy in shoes placed outside by the front door). Expecting my brother to arrive on Christmas Day, I invited people over for a Eat the Christmas Goose and Trim the Tree Party…really just an excuse to MAKE A GOOSE!
Honestly, the cooking adventure PALES in comparison to a single woman trapezing around Germany trying to find a fresh goose in really slurred German. But found one I did…and it cost only 12 bucks! Seriously? The fixings for the spreads cost more. And because I had to earn my American dollar on Christmas Eve, I lovinging thawed, brined and coo-ed at her (we’re on close terms given that I cleared out her cavities and disposed of her innerards. For those of you who do something with those goodies, fine, just save me from your how-tos). Then, I, CONFESSION TIME (I was going to hide this part and lie to you and my guests, feigning hard work roasting the bird all day like a slew of holiday chefs yonder)….gently ladeled her in a crock pot a quarter filled with homemade turkey stock…and hit the slowest setting….and after 12 hours, boy, did she come out juicy. Who would have thought a crock pot could brown like that???
Spicy Edamame Spread
Blend up 1 cup shelled Edamame, with half a block of cream cheese, 3 TBL dried onion, a few TBL spoons FISH Sauce, 2 TBL spicy curry powder….then stir in 1 TBL red pepper flakes.
Sweet Hummus Shmear
Blend up 3/4 can garbanzo beans with half of the liquid from the can, with a whole head of garlic that you roasted for 30 at 425, with 2 tablespoons good quality molasses (NOT MAPLE SYRUP) and some sweet dried basil (about 1 TBL). Then stir in 2 tsp coarse sea salt, pepper and drizzle with high quality olive oil
Cabarnet Cranberry Coulis (perfect for spreading on the goose!)
Take a container of cranberries and soak overnight in more than a cup of SWEET Cabarney Sauvignon, Pour the wine out into a pan, add 1/4 brown sugar, 1/4 orange marmelade, a few sticks of cinnamon, and 1 TBL pumpkin pie spice….bring all to a boil then add back the berries, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes..You can serve it warm or cool.
So the food? Got Goose was Great! It made up for the fact that the guest bringing the tree didn’t make it! No worries, I had made homemade ornaments for each guest and had them huddled upstairs together for 20 minutes while I put everything together for each of their plates and then pretended to ring a bell and have them all come down and see their plates and ornaments!
Making personalized plats might just be my holiday tradition…it was so MUCH Fun, even though I felt a little awkard as the host leaving all my guests unattended to. In fact, I realized that yes, I love having people in my home…but I think about 12 people is perfect for me to handle on my own. After that, I need “second” hosts to greet, say goodbye and offer people drinks and napkins and wine corks and be attentive. I felt a little pulled and didn’t get to build much conversation save for a few quick moments here and there.
Anyway, before I head out to Prague for a few days, I thought I’d say THANK GOD THAT THE DAYS ARE NOW GETTING LIGHTER! GOOD NEWS, HEH?