Last night my family observed our annual Red and Green Dinner, one of our more enjoyable and unique Christmas traditions. The idea is pretty basic. Everyone signs up to make one course for the meal (children team up with a grownup or an older sibling), the only directive being that each dish needs to have the colors red and green in it. The presentation of the food has typically been a little nicer, too, with garnish on the plates and multiple forks on the table, that sort of thing. Family- or buffet-style serving is perfectly functional for most other meals, but for the Red and Green Dinner a little more polish is in order; each person, therefore, gets up in turn to serve their dish to the family.
All in all, it makes for a special and memorable event. There isn’t usually much coordination between people in choosing what to make, so it’s always fun to see what surprises people are planning as you all are making final preparations in the kitchen together.
This tradition has been going on for over twenty years now, and I’m amazed as I think back at all the Red and Green courses I have made over the years. Some projects been pretty successful, like the Ukrainian borscht. Others, not so much, like the cranberry/pistachio cookies (“compressed cranberry/pistachio biscuits” is more like it) from a few years back. And of course, for all in attendance at the 2007 Red and Green Dinner, the super, super spicy South Indian rasam created a very special memory, especially for Grandma Rose.
This year I made uramaki sushi rolls as an appetizer, with crab, avocado, green onions, and red bell pepper inside, the wasabi and pickled ginger adding even more red and green qualities to the dish. It predictably wasn’t a big hit with the kids at the table, but I think I’ll remember it as a success nonetheless.
We should have taken pictures, because the food was as visually satisfying as it was delicious. The appetizer was followed with a green salad, dressed with avocado, honey dew, grapes, mushrooms, and a berry vinaigrette (by Lisa), then strawberry and lime Jell-o parfaits (by Hyrum and Lizzie). The main course featured salmon with a sweet pomegranate glaze (by Darrel); on the side were green beans and beets and crescent rolls with red jelly filling (by Lisa), as well as twice-baked potatoes with bacon and green onion bits for color (by Becca). As a beverage we enjoyed kiwi-strawberry juice (by JoAnna). Later in the evening, we were treated to a dessert of peppermint shakes, with crushed candy cane mixed into the ice cream (by Sam).
I’m just now realizing, by the way, that Lisa cheated and made more than one thing!
So that’s the Red and Green Dinner. Who else has fun Christmas traditions? We’re actually hunting for some new traditions right now, since some of us aren’t sure what we’re going to be doing with ourselves on Christmas Eve this year.