Happy day after Christmas! When I was a kid, I hated the dreaded 26th of December because Christmas was over, no more gifts or Christmas music and we’d have to start thinking about taking the tree down at some point. But now I love it because it still feels like Christmas minus the stress of meal and party preparation and it’s usually a relaxing day to enjoy gifts. Which is what we’re doing today as it’s chilly and overcast, perfect to sit home by the fireplace and enjoy the tree lights. I had an incredibly busy Christmas with two family gatherings and way too much food. I am feeling guilty about certain indulgences consumed, but I also contributed only raw dishes to the gatherings. I flipped through all my raw books and got recipe inspiration from many websites, but trying to keep things simple, I ended up using recipes from Choosing Raw for our Christmas celebrations.
Christmas Eve was at my sister’s house and her husband’s family is Italian, so he likes to celebrate with a seafood Cioppino and I decided to take Gena’s Raw Corn Polenta:
The problem was neither Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or Costco had fresh corn and I ended up using defrosted and drained bags of Trader Joe’s fresh frozen corn, each bag having 3 cups in it. I had to up the recipe quite a bit to feed 12 people. But figuring there would be plenty of food, I tweaked it a bit to not be as heavy. I used 9 cups of corn and 2 cups of pine nuts adjusting the rest of the ingredients accordingly. I was prepared to add more pine nuts, but the taste was great with just 2 … good thing because my 14-cup food processor was close to being maxed out. The recipe complemented the Cioppino and overall Italian theme nicely and the non-vegan guests at the gathering were very impressed with it.
Many were in disbelief that it had no cheese or dairy and the 2 and 4-year-olds really enjoyed it as well as my ninety-something grandma who could not stop raving about it. My mother also brought this beautiful raw salad from the Cafe Gratitude book also containing pine nuts and was a huge hit.
Christmas Day, we had another gathering at another sister’s house where I brought two more raw dishes. The first was Gena’s Sweet Cheese with dried lemon-juice dipped apple slices I did.
My dehydrator can’t do large batches of crackers and I knew my grandma loves apples, so I loaded with it apple slices instead to serve. The tart lemon flavor on the apple chips paired very well with the sweet fruit spread. It was also a huge hit and my father raved about what a cool and original dish it was. The apple slices disappeared quickly, but we also discovered that it sweet cheese was great with raw celery sticks swiped from the neighboring veggie tray. This also disappeared quickly.
For dinner my sister served lasagna with garlic bread, so no starchy sides were needed, but more veggies desperately were. So I brought a monster salad with Brazil nut dressing and my mom brought another raw Caesar salad with avocado dressing, we had dueling raw salads :-)
I had fun using my new Oxo juilienne peeler I got for Christmas on the carrots and am looking forward to using this for carrot fries and many more veggie recipes. I did really well this Christmas getting lots of raw-related gifts including gift cards to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, the Breville JE900 juicer from my amazing husband, a gourmet salt sampler kit, and the Cafe Gratitude book. I am looking forward to using and writing about it all! My husband and I spent most of Christmas morning juicing apples and carrots in the juicer and I’m really looking forward to writing more about it as I use and and try more raw recipes using the pulp. Overall, I had an amazing Christmas and was pleasantly surprised at how well the raw dishes were received by my non-vegan family.