Monday, December 13, 2004

Christmas in Florida

For anyone wondering how to make Mary Hoffman's traditional Hoffman-family decorative and edible "shrimp tree" this Christmas:

First, find a styrofoam cone like this one:

Next, cover the cone with dark green "curly lettuce" (pictured below) by attaching the lettuce pieces to the cone using toothpicks. Note that curly lettuce is the best because it is very leafy. (Alternatives would be Escarole lettuce or Green Leaf lettuce).

Now, your cone should look like a tree. You should now decorate your tree with some ornaments. Go get some cherry tomatoes (pictured below).

Make sure that the cherry tomatoes are bright red. Remove the green leafy stems so that red is all you see. Attach these randomly to the cone, again using toothpicks. These will be your ornaments, but you will need more ornaments for variety. This is where your cocktail shrimp (pictured below) come in.

Attach the shrimp to the tree, again using toothpicks, again randomly, so that you fill in empty spots, but still leave some green showing. Scatter some more shrimp on a platter below the cone--these are the "presents." Serve with cocktail sauce.

Pose by your fancy and festive shrimp tree:

Invite Uncle Ed over.

The shrimp will be gone in a half an hour. When's the ham gonna be ready? Merry Christmas! Where's my gift certificate?