Are you looking for a quirky theme for your Christmas dinner? Perhaps a last-minute effort to spice up your holiday? Have you run through the fun decade-themed holiday menus (Victorian, mid-century, Star Wars)? Do you want a very good excuse to wear your fuzzy Santa slipper socks to a formal dinner? Then you should think about hosting Christmas in the North Pole!
The idea for this Christmas dinner came from the desire to have a party that was a little goofy and required less research and costumes than the typical dinner party [at our house]. The vision for the party was more or less "Santa's elves on their night off throw a dinner party and trash talk their office culture." We thought a Christmas in the North Pole menu would be part Scandinavian, part sugar plums dancing in your head. What we ended up serving is this:
First course: Candy Cane Salad
This was a goat cheese and beet salad. We sliced the beets and cheese into same-sized rounds and arranged them in the form of a candy cane alternating between white food thing and red food thing. The "candy cane" was placed over a bed of spinach. It was sort of like a caprese salad, but with completely different ingredients and shape.
Second course: Snowflakes and Naughty List Coal Nuggets
This I think was my most brilliant North Pole invention. We seared sea scallops that served as the center of the "snowflakes" (our vegetarian guest had slices of daikon). We made a shallot and white wine cream sauce to serve with the scallops, and we put the cream in a pastry bag and piped it onto the plates in the form of snowflake arms. We placed the scallops right in the middle of the cream snowflakes and bam - we had winter on a plate. The coal was lumps of sticky rice dusted with dried shiso.
Third course: Reindeer, Candy Apples, Gingerbread Puree, and Sled Team Pre-flight Pie
We actually intended to but reindeer/caribou for the dinner, but the butcher didn't have any in stock, so we ended up serving an elk roast instead. It was delicious! We roasted the elk for 4 hours and served it with a blackberry gravy. The Candy Apples were actually apples, but they were sliced into discs and reassembled into apple shape with discs of celery root alternating between layers of apple. Red current jam was spread between layers, and then they were thrown in the oven for about 45 minutes. The sweetness of the apple with the tartness of the red current and the coolness of the celery root really made a nice dish. The Gingerbread Puree was simply mashed sweet potato into which I dumped a bunch of ginger and gingerbread spices. Finally, the pre-flight pie was a nut loaf with apricots, cherries, pistachio and almond flours, chestnuts, and feta cheese. It was delicious!
The last course included a Yule Log, or a buche de noel. I made a chocolate mousse, caramel, and pear cake in the shape of a log. There were definitely lessons learned from trying this yule log out, but the most important one is that "log" is an excellent cake shape.
As always, it's not a Christmas party without the Christmas crackers. Don't forget to set your Christmas table with Christmas crackers! That's a Queer Martha pro-tip.
Try it out! Christmas in the North Pole! "Now that Santa is busy delivering presents, we can get drunk because we're finally off the clock" party!
And definitely don't forget to don your fuzzy Santa slipper socks. This is the moment they have been waiting for.