Welcome the season for traditions. We’re Jewish and love celebrating the Jewish holidays, marking our heritage and history. We also enjoy nice, festive meals on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Anything to celebrate.
Christmas 2020 and the choice was between duck or leg of lamb, two family favorites. The lamb, a nod to my Greek (Jewish) heritage, won. For side dishes, another attempt to make Persian rice with saffron and tahdig and artichokes.
Early in the day, walked to the nearby shopping area. The last of three stops was Trader Joe’s with the intention to buy raw almonds for another try at marzipan. Then I saw the beautiful artichokes and knew they were perfect for the meal.
There was some other cooking that I called my name when I got home starting with another round of wine gummies, this time with chocolate flavored sparkling wine (recipe on April 27 post). Next some applesauce using the drawer full of granny smiths and other apples.
Dinner was a carefully choreographed production especially because of all the steps to make the Persian rice. And I did them all. And, once again, I did not get the tahdig, the crispy crust, correct.
One of the many food zooms I watched in the past months was from Seattle’s Congregation Ezra Bessaroth. Rita Sikavi took viewers through those many steps so easily. I’ll have to watch it again (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SP5Noqp018A&list=PLYygyL0–uvV9iGEITPsrmpoxkskrjKrv&index=4. Here’s her recipe and ingredients (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tPAKygR2wCNdytixamQXc3dBP6uWcqVu/view).
Then I prepped the artichokes. I cut off the stems, trimmed the bottoms and the tips of the leaves. Then into boiling water for about fifteen minutes.
The small leg of lamb was simple. Rub with oregano and also dried rosemary. I squeezed half a lemon on it. Into a 375 degree (Fahrenheit) oven. It was a small, boneless leg and cooked for just about an hour to be nice and medium in the center.
Our traditional “non Christmas” dinner was ended by enjoying the choco-secco gummies while listening to writer/comedian David Sedaris relate his experiences as a Macy’s elf – SantaLand Diaries. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5XLjG_S6eE)
And then I forgot another tradition in our home, and many others. Chinese food on Christmas Day. Much is written about Jewish Christmas Day customs – here’s a favorite (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPSLWauwwZM).
Constant Companion phoned in an order and brought home a feast for daughter and me. What a guy … Dim sum never tasted as good. My fortune for the day was “You have the ability to nurture and work creatively with others.” What do they know?
Traditions – those actions that pass from generation to generation are so lovely for a family, a community. They keep us grounded in times that are good and times not so good.