I’m in the holiday groove right now, so to speak and thought I’d write a bit about Yuletide foodstuff simply because it plays such a vital role in our celebration of the holiday.
My mother was always big into food during this time of the year.
Many of my memories are found seated deep in her love of cooking.
She lived to entertain, no lie.
When I think of Christmas Eves long ago and I think of pans of warm lasagna, Éclair pie creamy as clouds in heaven, spicy marinated mushrooms, BBQ Meatballs simmered in a simple sauce of grape jelly and barbecue sauce; all these remind me of the holidays, thanks to my mater.
She would live in the kitchen for weeks (pitching a tent) prior to the holiday making sure there was enough food prepared to feed the entire east coast.
She used to love to fill this curvy glass bottle with individual compartments with three different liqueurs; green crème de menthe, red cinnamon schnapps and a yellow aperitif, maybe Galliano.
It wasn’t that anyone drank anything from the bottle she just liked looking at it—her tri-colored tradition in glass. I loved that bottle.
There was endless shrimp cocktail, a cracker spread of cream cheese, red pimento, green olive and minced onion (totally addictive).
Do you sense a green/red motif here?
It was beautiful and I always looked forward to it.
In my mind, I can ‘see’ her subtle contentment as she watched all of us eating, drinking and enjoying each others company.
Music would be playing, coloured lights flickering and time seemed to almost stand still, embraced by warmth she lovingly created every single year.
Looking back, I realize this was an extraordinary time in my life, not so much because of all we had but because my mother gave so freely of her love for family.
It was so obvious.
This feeling was palpable for anyone fortunate enough to visit our house on Christmas Eve.
Before I get all silly and emotional on you, my dear reader, let me just say that I pray you find yourself surrounded by the warmth that surrounded me so many years ago.
My Maker’s Mark Eggnog will certainly help (Nog Rocks!) and this following recipe will help your total sugar Jones.
Here’s to tradition! Create one this year!
You have to make these. They are INSANE!
1/4 pound butter
1 package chopped dates (I used to buy chopped dates in a box years ago, but now I can only seem to find them in plastic containers, like the ones they use at the deli.) I’m not sure how much is in a package or plastic container, but I usually just use one container or box. Make sure you get the chopped dates, not the whole dates, and if they have sugar on them that is okay.
1 egg beaten
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 bags shredded coconut
(I usually double this recipe when I make them)
Put first five ingredients in a large pot on the stove (spaghetti pot) and melt and bring to a low boil. You should stay close and stir quite often so it won’t burn.
Once it is all melted and it comes to a low boil (it will take awhile, you will see the mixture start to bubble), you can turn off the heat and move the pot to a pot holder or another burner and add the Rice Krispies and nuts and stir until it is combined.
You then lay out wax paper and cover it with coconut.
You want the mixture to still be warm so the coconut sticks to the ball.
Roll them into balls about the size of meatballs.
You can actually make them as big or small as you like. (I usually use rubber gloves when I make them because it seems easier to me because the mixture is so sticky, but you don’t have to.)
Roll the balls in the coconut and push the coconut onto the ball.
Sometimes this is frustrating because it seems like the coconut is not sticking so well, but you can always sprinkle the leftover coconut on top of the snowballs when you are finished making them.
You can either put them on a plate or in a container and sprinkle the remainder of the coconut on top.
When I was younger and made them with my mother, we used to put them in Christmas tins and sprinkle the leftover coconut on top.
They are not hard to make, just very messy.
(AND THEY ARE INCREDIBLE!)