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The Asparagus Christmas Tree from Christmas Vacation

My wife and I watch Christmas Vacation several times each Christmas season.  A year or so ago, on one of our many watchings, my wife asked, "what the heck is that thing?" during the Christmas Eve dinner scene.  It was a giant green tower of something right in front of Ellen Griswold.  

I paused the movie, and the two of us stared at the screen for a while until she finally said, "It looks like a Christmas tree made out of vegetables."  She wasn't wrong; it was an Asparagus Tree!  

I'd never noticed it before, but now that she pointed it out, I can't help but notice it.  

With us getting so much closer to the big day, I thought I'd make my final post for Christmas about something fun and silly, like a Christmas decoration made out of asparagus.  When you put it into your Google Machine, there really isn't much that comes up about "asparagus Christmas trees."  I did, however, find a recipe online that someone had posted, but it would have wound up looking a little different, so I modified it so you can get yours as close to Clark and Ellen's as possible!  

The asparagus tree, with bright red tomato on top, is arranged in such a way to look like a tall "tower," using toothpicks, or if you prefer, butcher's twine.  Then arrange your other vegetables like pearl onions or olives to look like ormanents.  

Let me know if you decide to give it a whirl and make your own this year!  Post in the comments, drop me a line, or email me a photo even!  And, of course, don't forget to coat it in a non-nutritive food varnish that's semi-permeable and not osmotic.  What it does is coats and seals the flavor.   

I won't be posting again until right before New Years Eve, so... Merry Christmas, everyone!

1 small tomato
1 large radish
2 to 3 green olives
4 to 6 pearl onions
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1-1/2 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 6" pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest

In a 12" skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add asparagus, pepper pieces, garlic, salt and pepper; cook, stirring often, until barely tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in zest. Arrange on serving platter in a "tree" shape using toothpicks. Garnish with sliced radish, brussel sprouts, pearl onions, and green olives.  Place tomato on top.