I've just returned from Christmas dinner at my siblings' apartment. We had the traditional family feast we've had every year since I was at least 10 years old: Christmas Jell-o, Roladen, mashed potatoes and gravy, buttered cabbage and carrots, homemade crescent rolls, and Black Forest Cherry Cake. (Our maternal ancestors are German, so we lean that way at the holidays.)
Christmas Jell-o is a tradition from my late maternal grandmother. It was her favorite and involves raspberry Jell-o, chopped celery, slivered almonds, and raspberries. I know. Gross, right? As I grew up with it, it's really not that bad. And it's Christmasy. Besides, you can't grow up Mormon and not have at least one Jell-o salad at events and holidays of significance.
Roladen is a German dish with as many variations as there are varieties of spaghetti sauces. In our family, this hearty German dish involves thinly sliced beef filled with onions, mushrooms, and bacon. You roll it all up and tie it together with string. Then, you brown each roll, make a gravy, and let it simmer for five or six hours. It is total heart attack on a plate.
Couple that with good mashed potatoes and the gravy from making the Roladen, as well as several dozen of my mom's buttery crescent rolls and you're destined to find yourself on Crestor by the end of the holiday season. It's a vegan's worst nightmare and a meat and diary lover's utter bliss!
Once you've let all of that settle, you top it off with four layers of Black Forest Cherry Cake (more commonly known as Schwarzwälderkirsch Torte in the German-speaking Länder.) I made the BFCC this year; my first time. It turned out all right, although, I set my top cherries too close to the edge of the cake and they slid. Still, it was quite tasty.
And now, I'm full. And I'm going to bed! Guten Appetit und Gesegnete Mahlzeit!
Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 12/07