Christmas Eve dinner this year was a potluck. It was my friend Annie's idea. This worked out better for me because my big oven and dishwasher were both broken. I managed to make do with my little oven and got a new dishwasher just in time.
Everyone asked for turkey, so that's what I made. Finding a small one to fit my litlte oven was the only challenge. Most turkeys start at 12 lbs but I found a smaller bird, about 10 lbs in size. I also made some sides - stir fried brussel sprouts, cranberry sauce, and the dessert - a tart tatin, which came out perfectly caramelized. One friend was too busy to cook so she picked up sweet potatoes, cream corn and cream spinach at Honey Baked. But she didn't want the others to know they were store bought, so we quickly hid the plastic HB containers under the sink and served everything in my good china. Noone noticed. Pot lucks can be a luck of the draw but we did alright, given the circumstances. The turkey came out nice and moist. I had no leftover turkey meat.
As far as presents go, one present worth mentioning is the one Joe got from Edward. It was a disc shaped metal sculpture - a full moon and two waning moons welded together to look like a gong. Can you picture that? What was Edward, thinking? was Joe's polite question after Edward left. Maybe Edward liked its karmic qualities. Sakai thought it was the best gift because it was unquestionably the tackiest. Edward takes pride in finding such unique things at garage sales and discount stores. One year he gave me a furry switch light cover. I kept it for a few years and then gave it back to him as a Christmas present. We keep our presents light and humorous.
After stuffing myself with all this food, I realized I forgot to serve one plate: the pickles. Japanese and pickles. They are inseparable. I needed them to clear my palate and help digest the heavy food. After the guests left, I ate the pickles - the whole plate. My tummy thanked me for it.
I made these pickles with watermelon radishes. Everything about these radishes are beautiful - their blushed outer skin. Their inner pink hue - the young ones are only partially pink. Their flavor is juicy and sweet.
I did a quick pickle - Asazuke style pickle which I blogged about last summer. There isn't much of a recipe for this one. There were four radishes in this bunch. I washed the dirt off and sliced the root into 1/8 inch thick slices and the leaves into 1/4 -thick pieces. I sprinkled a half a teaspoon of salt and gave the radishes a good massage. Then I put them into the pickle press with a piece of dried kombu, about 3 inches long, and let them pickle for a day.
You can garnish the radishes with some yuzu or lemon rind but these pickles are delicious plain too. The kombu gives the radishes a good savory flavor and a slightly slimy texture. I served the pickles on my favorite dish by Christiane Perrochon. The dish is pink and oval, and reminds me of the delicate seashells I used to collect with my grandmother at the beach in Kamakura when I was a little girl. I still have the shells.