Posted by: carolyn / through a widow's eyes | December 22, 2011

How does this sound?

Christmas Dinner menu, 2011

• Prosecco (several bottles)
& Antipasto for late afternoon lazy present-opening round the Christmas tree: I’m thinking roasted cauliflower with a balsamic dressing as a nod to pale sere winter, bright red and yellow roasted peppers as a nod to festivity, marinated artichokes, olives, slim flutes of capicola and provolone. You know. Like that. On a heavy white stoneware platter.

• Mom’s special ham – best ever, and a family tradition.
• Scalloped potatoes – Mom again, yay!
• Winter Squash Galette – E & D’s specialty. A command performance. (Well, E. offered, but probably because she knew I would ask.) Eggy rich brioche dough filled with squash roasted with caramelized onions and sage. I love this recipe! Not that I have ever made it myself, because I haven’t…
• Local beets stacked with goat cheese, w/ baby spinach, arugula, and hazelnuts: a riff on a yummy appetizer Mom and I had somewhere around town this fall. On the restaurant menu it was called Beet Napoleon but I cannot quite bring myself to follow suit. I think that dressing featured walnut oil and candied walnuts. We’ll see how far we get with this one.
• Fresh green beans with glazed pearl onions and red peppers. Maybe? Or something? Still pondering the construction of this.
• Local apple/local cranberry smash. A relish of sorts. A bit tangy to counteract all the sweet roastiness of everything else.

Haven’t figured out what wine with all this plummy richness. Any suggestions? I am a wine cheapskate. But. It is Christmas.

For dessert I wanted to make something new, not pulled from any menu in the last 30+ years of selling my wares. Settled (so far) on individual buttery shortbread tarts filled with bittersweet dark chocolate ganache. Garnished with a little sprinkly pile of finely chopped candied ginger. I want to serve these with something that harkens back to the renowned feast that was Jeff’s last Thanksgiving. Described here in the first thing I wrote about food that was not for a brochure.
That sacred Thanksgiving day I poached tiny little pears, one per person, in a syrup made of reduced cranberry wine infused with spices. Jeff’s college roommate Bill brings us cranberry wine from Nova Scotia, and I love to use it in cooking. Reduced, it is fortified, dark red, and syrupy. So I’ll make those again, and serve the diminutive chilled ruby pears, with a drizzle of their syrup, alongside the rich chocolate dessert.
Strong coffee.

I am happy to be staying home this year. Strong enough to stay present, to abide here, not run away from home like the last couple of years. Running didn’t help all that much, it turned out. Wherever you go, there you are, eh?

Need a reason to be somewhere besides where you’re expected? I’d love to have a few more people around this table.
There are plenty of beds here too.

Scribbled quote snatched from National Public Radio; I hope I’ve got this right. I wish I knew who said it:

“One of the most important things I can do while I’m on this planet is to honor those I love through celebration.”



  1. Sounds delish Carolyn, especially the Cranberry wine from Nova Scotia – my province <3. I wish you calming peace, love and bountiful blessings. This is my first solo Christmas so I'm just "winging it". I am running away with my kids to my best friends house for Christmas Dinner. I know I can't escape it, but hoping that being around friends will lessen the tears a little and allow me to laugh a bit.
    Again, wishing you all the best ❤


  2. “calming peace, love and bountiful blessings.” I wish you the same, my fellow traveler on a journey we never wanted to be on. Best you can be.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: