One of my favorite things about the holiday season is all the food that we only see at this time of year. I love pickled herring in every form it comes but only find myself eating it around the holidays. In my family there are a few staples that come out this time of year that we love but for whatever reason we only see them between Thanksgiving and New Years. I spent Christmas Eve with my in-laws this year and they have their traditional foods as well. My mother in-law makes a wild rice soup and there are always little ham and turkey sandwiches. Christmas morning we went to my mothers house. My mother always makes homemade eggnog and an egg bake. She is also the one in the family who makes all the Christmas cookies and treats. There is usually hot buttered rum and Tom and Jerry's, we have a recipe from my Great Grandfather's tavern that we always use. But as far back as I can remember there are two things that always show up and everybody loves. My Grandmothers liver ball and the bacon wrapped water chestnut's.
This year my brother decided to have everyone over the day after Christmas for a little cocktail party. He asked each of us to bring a certain dish and asked me to bring the water chestnut's. Just a tip from me to you. If you are going to by water chestnut's don't do it the day after Christmas. They are apparently a very popular holiday ingredient and I had to go to three different stores before I found a can of the whole water chestnut's. They are very simple to put together you just soak the water chestnut's in soy sauce for 30 minutes or so then roll the in sugar and wrap them in bacon. They are held together with a toothpick then bake in the oven on 400 until the bacon is done, about 15 minutes. They make the perfect little holiday treat and can be passed on a platter at any party.
The other staple at the holidays is my grandmothers liver ball. Again this is so easy its ridiculous, you just buy a thing over Braunshweiger mix it with a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch mix form it into a ball and place it in the freezer for a half hour or so. After it is firm you cover it with regular cream cheese and sprinkle it with chives. Serve it with crackers and you have a tasty but simple appetizer. I am sure that most everyone has probably seen these in one shape or another at a Holiday party of some sort. They are so simple but so tasty.
Every holiday season I look forward to seeing these two appetizers. They instantly remind me of all those Christmas' spent at my Grandparents cabin on Leech Lake. The appetizers were always served on scallop shells and we always got to open one present early. That present was always a horribly ugly Christmas themed sweater that I got to wear to church on Christmas eve but at least I got to open one.