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Help--re Christmas theme--foods related somehow to "star", "stars", "light" ????

n
Normandie Nov 30, 2009 10:28 PM

I always pick out a Christmas theme to work with in my own head as I plan decor, menus, so forth. This isn't even necessarily a theme that my family or guests would spot every year (though sometimes they have, if it's been a color scheme, etc.). Mostly, it's just a device I use to narrow the countless choices out there for holiday decorating, food, etc.

This year I've decided to use the theme, "Beautiful Star of Bethlehem", for those of you who know the song, which Emmy Lou Harris and many others have recorded. The visual decorating surrounding that is easy, but I could use some help thinking about foods and ingredients that relate some way, whether it's through their name or cultural customs...or whatever...to "stars". I don't use the theme excessively to pack our menus with cutesy items, but it's usually nice to have one or two items refer back to the theme and the year's holiday decorating scheme.

I'm not finding it easy to think of foods/ingredients that relate to "star"/"stars"/"light", but here are a few that have occurred to me thus far:

Star of anise
Starfruit (don't think I'll find that around here this time of year, though)
Starlite peppermint candies (great crushed to use in chocolate peppermint bark)
Champagne (via DP)--can do some kind of Champagne sauce or Champagne dessert

Any other inspirations? Thanks if you can help me out.

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  1. bushwickgirl RE: Normandie Dec 1, 2009 12:41 AM

    Wow, I've been racking my brain over this for an hour (can't sleep tonight) and can only come up with star-shaped sugar cookies with edible glitter. Starfish don't count.
    By "light", I'm sure you don't mean "lite.";-)
    Well, I'm sure other more well-rested posters will weigh in on this.
    You very well may be able to find Starfruit this time of year. I see it most of the year in NYC.

    Here are a couple cookie links:
    http://www.floras-hideout.com/recipes...

    These are made with chocolate and Andes mints:
    http://busycooks.about.com/od/cookier...

    I know you don't drink but:
    Starlight cocktail (adapted by me:)
    1 1/4 oz Campari
    1/4 oz. cointreau
    1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
    1/2 oz fresh orange juice
    1/4 oz simple syrup
    1/2 oz brandy or Champagne
    Club soda
    float orange and lemon slices

    Combine all; you could make this in quantity and use as a punch.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl
      n
      Normandie RE: bushwickgirl Dec 1, 2009 08:04 AM

      I think I'm going crazy. I responded to you first, and my other replies posted, but the one to you did not. I'll just try again and hope it's not a duplicate.

      Anyway...no, other than the once- or twice-yearly Cognac or glass of wedding bubbly, etc., I don't drink and nobody in the family does either, really...but, um, bushwick, this recipe sounds so yummy, refreshing and....pretty!...that I just might start. Did you really call it a Starlight cocktail?

      I'm thinking there's got to be a way to turn it into a "Starlight mousse" or "Starlight Charlotte" or...omg...a "Starlight meringue pie"... What do you think? Any of those could be a brighter alternative to the chocolatey and cheesecake desserts I'll always put out. Hmmm...Starlight cheescake? OTOH, this might also convertible into a savory sauce for chicken...

      Those starlight crisps look good, too, bushwick, with the sour cream. I can see that it will be quite easy to come up with a little star-themed dessert table. So all I really need is an item or two on the savory items. Season something with Star of Anise and I'll be all set.

      1. re: Normandie
        bushwickgirl RE: Normandie Dec 1, 2009 08:49 AM

        Yes, Starlight Cocktail, it's a long story.
        I think the dessert table would be really nice and you could certainly expand on the star theme.
        I think about pork or duck when I think of star anise (among other things) like a crown roast with a star anise rub and orange or roasted duck with plums, honey and star anise; not Asian at all. Star anise also works with lamb, like leg of, with plenty of garlic, and a side of or a whole salmon, either as a rub or as a glaze.
        Sides could be a nice wild rice pilaf, for the duck or the pork, roasted vegetables, carrots, parsnips and Brussels sprouts, in case you didn't have enough at Thanksgiving.
        Just throwin' it out there, food for thought.

    2. v
      Volume RE: Normandie Dec 1, 2009 02:11 AM

      Hi
      Try making gingerbread stars. Use any gingerbread cookie and make into stars, the decorate with royal icing. They are very christmassy and look really starry and pretty.
      Or you could buy a star shaped tin and make a cake and dot little silver candy cachous on the icing. I will keep thinking.
      Thanks

      3 Replies
      1. re: Volume
        n
        Normandie RE: Volume Dec 1, 2009 07:46 AM

        Yes; I want to do that, Volume, and not about food, but about the decor....I'm also going to make those...hmmm...cinnamon & applesauce non-edible ornaments, for some using the star cookie cutters. I made those some years ago and put them on the tree. When they're fresh, the tree lights heat up the scent gently and it's quite nice.

        I saw Martha's mag yesterday at the drug store. I saw she had small Croquembouche on one of the covers and it had some star cookies attached to it (probably with Royal icing?). It was quite pretty, and I thought about doing something like, so that's another way to use star cookies. I don't know about her recipe, though; I've never used any of hers but I've seen some comments from people who've thought her recipes don't always work well. ?????

        1. re: Normandie
          j
          just_M RE: Normandie Dec 1, 2009 08:12 AM

          I am one of those in the don't trust Martha camp. I was a groupie once upon a time ago as a new bride and thought it was me, but its the recipes/instructions. At least now days we can look up reviews.

          1. re: just_M
            n
            Normandie RE: just_M Dec 1, 2009 08:17 AM

            Usually, I wouldn't have even thought about it, M, but there are just too many of you who are experienced cooks who have mentioned wrong proportions or missing ingredients, etc. Thanks for your own feedback. However, should I decide to do a small Croquembouche, I'm sure I'll have a few trustworthy recipes right here on my cookbook shelves. It just looked, especially with the star cookies tucked into it, like it would make a nice centerpiece, either for the dining table or the sideboard.

      2. j
        janniecooks RE: Normandie Dec 1, 2009 02:26 AM

        can't think of any food, but for champagne, think about Moet & Chandon White Star champagne.

        1 Reply
        1. re: janniecooks
          n
          Normandie RE: janniecooks Dec 1, 2009 07:48 AM

          Great idea, jannie; I'd forgotten about it. I'm a Madama Clicqot fan, myself, but I think I'll have to make an exception this holiday. TY!

        2. l
          laliz RE: Normandie Dec 1, 2009 08:19 AM

          Big Star Meatloaf

          1/3 cup steak sauce (recommended: A1)
          3 1/2 pounds ground beef
          5 cloves garlic, minced
          3 tablespoons dried thyme
          1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
          4 eggs
          3 tablespoons steak seasoning (recommended: Montreal)
          1 cup bread crumbs
          Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
          In large bowl, mix steak sauce, ground beef, garlic, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, eggs, and steak seasoning until well mixed. Then, add bread crumbs and mix until incorporated.
          Place in 9 by 13-inch casserole dish and shape into a loaf. Add water to pan to come up to 1/4-inch of the meat loaf.
          Bake for 50 minutes until done.

          1. ScubaSteve RE: Normandie Dec 1, 2009 11:09 AM

            does Lone Star make a light beer?

            1. rockandroller1 RE: Normandie Dec 1, 2009 11:40 AM

              I went to allrecipes.com and put in the word "star" and got a few interesting hits. Mostly desserts, but some others. Chocolate meringue stars sounded interesting, star fruit steak, southwestern star dip, sausage-filled stars. I did the same thing on epicurious and found some interesting things as well - braised oxtails with star anise and chinese greens, etc.

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