In the late weeks of the treeplanter’s summer, spirits start to waver. People are tired, their bodies and tempers have worn thin.
If there is anything that can raise spirits, it has to be a Christmas miracle. Indulge me for a moment, I am a huge fan of Christmas and miracles. This is likely a result of too many viewings of classic Christmas films, an affinity for mint chocolate, and the absence of snowy winters for the first ten years of my life. There is something so special about a snowy Canadian winter, and in the midst of a muggy summer it seems quite magical.
Enter Christmas In July, a dinner extravaganza designed to lift spirits and invigorate the planters.
As I am a bit of a Christmas maniac, I love this tradition. I enjoy going above and beyond to make this a really special night for the planters. This is a little different ever year, but generally involves a cold buffet, full hot Turkey dinner, and an array of desserts. This year included a cold buffet of brie, havarti, chevre and aged cheddar with various crackers and crostinis, shrimp trays, olives, and veggie platters with spinach dip.
Preparing the meal required roasting eight turkeys, mashing 100 lbs of potatoes, baking some tomato bread, making stuffing from scratch, preparing a roasted yam casserole, creating gravy from scratch and steaming mixed vegetables. The desserts included a traditional french Yule log, and pumpkin, blueberry and cherry pies. And we capped it all off with a drink station including homemade egg nog, hot chocolate, and apple cider. Along with decorations in the eating tent and carols wafting through the air, this cornucopia of food is a really exciting night to prep and participate in.
Things That Are Going Well
- All of my menu planning for the summer is finished. That is such a relief, as I don’t have to stress about coming up with new meals or grocery lists.
- I just got some really exciting writing news. Lots to look forward to come September!
Things That Are Not Going Well
- Tired. Oh So Tired.
- I’ve been having pretty bad lower back pain for the last couple of weeks. My kingdom for a massage or chiropractic appointment.
My friend Kim is a fantastic baker/pastry chef who cooked for a planting camp a few years ago. She taught me how to make croissants and gave me a few of my favourite bread recipes. The following is Tomato Bread, great both in the forest and in the city. It’s great as buttered fresh buns, but it’s even better dipped in balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The following is Kim’s recipe with a few of my own alterations. And the whole recipe is planter-sized, so you may need to reduce it to a more human-sized portion.
Kim’s Tomato Bread
1.5 TBSP yeast
4 1/2 Cups warm water
21 Cups white flour
1/2 CUP & 3 tbsp white sugar
1/3 cup salt
1/2 cup shortening or coconut oil
3/4 cup almond Milk
3 TBSP molasses
1L tomato juice (warmed)
oregano & basil to taste
Make the dough, knead it and then let it sit for 1 hour.
Punch it down, divide into loaves and then let rise in pans.
Bake at 400F.
Makes 6-8 loaves.
Until Next Time,
Kristy (In The Kitchen In The Forest)
Kristy has spent the fast few months chronicling her summer as a Treeplanting cook for SDTC, and perfecting her Neil Patrick Harris impression. She also acts, writes, sings, and has various other special skills according to her resume. You can follow her on twitter @kristylapointe, and enjoy the blog she shares custody of at adeleandkristy.tumblr.com