Christmas dinners require extras that all your family and friends will enjoy. Accompaniments are important. Think potatoes, beans, peas and tomatoes plus salads and sauces.
Peas are a tradition that will never die in our household. Except — not as in earlier years when they were freshly popped from their pods on Christmas morning — they are now fresh from the freezer and dunked in a little boiling water with sprigs of home-grown mint plus a dash of sugar, butter and a little melted mint jelly.
For those of you — like me — who have vegetarian and gluten-free family members, then festive foods are less traditional. Long gone are our meat-heavy feasts. Now we choose vegetables that can be enjoyed as mains as well as sides.
Cheese or eggs combine well with vegetables but grains are also protein rich and add interest to many summer meals. Whole-grain Israeli or pearl couscous is a great base for warm or cold salads. However, it is not gluten-free. Brown rice could be substituted.
My go-to easy Ranch dressing for warm or cold veggies or salads is: two tablespoons of buttermilk combined with one-third of a cup of mayonnaise, a tablespoon of white vinegar, one clove of crushed garlic and a pinch of sweet paprika.
This could be baked in two pans — one for each end of the table. The Hungarian paprika I used is a little spicy. Get the recipe
This can be prepared a day ahead and reheated — covered — in the microwave. Get the recipe