In celebration of Vegan MoFo, I’m doing a month of themed dinner party ideas! The theme for the third week is a holiday mash-up!
I have a confession to make. You know how every year when the Christmas decorations show up in the stores earlier and earlier, and invariably there’s a woman pushing her cart past those designated aisles and saying grumpily, “Christmas decorations? It’s not even Halloween yet!!” Well, I’m the person who is skipping through those aisles, pressing all of the buttons on the musical snow globes and dancing snowmen. As that lady with the cart bemoans the extending season, I’m cooing over ornaments, perusing the stocking stuffers, and making my case to my husband, David, about how this should be the year he puts together an advent calendar for me.
Truth be told, for many years I made it a point to go to stores on October 31st, because I knew that’s when the Halloween items would get relegated to sale shelves and all of the Christmas stuff would come out in earnest. It was like a starting gun on the holidays.
The way I feel about Christmas is the way David feels about Halloween. He loves the smell of rubber masks, admiring all of the costumes and jealously admitting that kids today have it so much better where costumes are concerned. (“You want to be Strawberry Shortcake? Here’s a hard plastic mask and a plastic apron with her picture on it.”)
For years when we lived in an apartment he’d fantasize about living in a house, where he could decorate for Halloween right with goblins hanging in the trees and carved pumpkins on the stoop. So while we’ve been in a house a couple of years now, this year we’ve done it all. We’ve carved the pumpkins. Ghost lights are lining the walkway, there’s a light-up bat in the window, and there’s a ghostly figure hanging in our tree. David is thrilled to the gills, and all that’s left is to check costumes off the list, and we’ve done it.
The next party for my themed dinner party line-up appeals to the holiday-lover in all of us, regardless of which one you consider your favorite. Whether you stand in line for firecrackers at the Fourth of July, plan a feast for NoRooz, make a mean green bean casserole for Thanksgiving, or are adept at making dreidels out of clay, this party is for you. Come dressed as your favorite holiday for this mash-up, and be ready for a meal in which every course represents a different holiday.
For starters we’re beginning with David’s personal favorite, Halloween. I got extra holiday bonus points by carving not only a pumpkin, but also this orange. Just cut off the top, hollow out the middle (saving the inner portions to use in the salad), and use a small knife to cut a silly, scary, or angry face. After spiralizing carrot for the salad, I used the circular middle section to make a “stem” for the orange and just cut a small hole in the top of the orange for it.
After making a salad of green leaf lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, celery, grape tomatoes, orange chunks, and peanuts, I added this Asian-style Peanut Dressing. It’s a thin dressing with loads of flavor.
Makes about 1/2 cup dressing
- 2 Tablespoons natural peanut butter
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar or brown rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons low-sodium tamari
- 2-3 Tablespoons water
- 1 heaping teaspoon fresh cilantro leaves, chopped small
Whisk peanut butter, toasted sesame oil, vinegar, tamari, and two tablespoons of water in a small bowl until smooth. Add cilantro and taste. Add additional water (up to one tablespoon) until the dressing has reached your desired smoothness and intensity of flavor.
For other ideas on what to include in your orange-pumpkin, consider Spiralized Zucchini Noodles in Orange Peanut Sauce, Purslane Salad in Orange Muscat Champagne Vinaigrette, or Curly Kale in Orange Peanut Sauce.
Have you entered the giveaway to win a membership for Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s 30 Day Vegan Challenge? There’s still time! Enter here.