Tuesday, December 27, 2011

christmases

Wakeup! Christmas Morning! Woohoo!

Oh… it’s 7:30. Oh… my entire family is asleep. Oh… we’re going to church before we do anything and that’s at 10.

Do some yoga! (I think I did yoga on Thanksgiving too? My practice is basically confined to major holidays when I wake up before anyone else)

Make some gluten free shortbread for our Celiac-disease afflicted friend who wasn’t actually at church but I was happy to give the recipe a trial run before its debut at our party next week!

Went to church!

Went home!

Presents with nuclear family!

Hop in car!

Arrive at Kathy and Tom’s. Park self next to unbelievably amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing fireplace.

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Was delighted to see my wonderful family members, and think of those who weren’t there (that Keep Austin Weird mug, which I immediately nabbed, was a gift from my cousin Rachel, who with her hubby Richard and her parents and sister are still in Austin, with Richard and Rachel’s BABY! Who I want to meet, STAT!)

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And it was nice to catch up with everyone in a delightfully low-key and relaxed and fun brunch, the spirit of which I think is nicely evoked in my cousin Steven’s bacon frosting.

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Obviously, food was present in mammoth quantities, laid out in a beautiful spread.

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I probably would’ve eaten a bagel…

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Except instead there were biscuits! Done in the Cook’s Illustrated manner.

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Kathy is a GREAT cook! I spent the first part of the morning interrogating her about where she got all her recipes cause they were so good :D

She’s also my most devoted blog fan. She said “So I was reading your blog the other day and went ‘Colcannon? What’s that?!’” And I interrupted and went “Ooh it’s so good you should make it!” and she said “I did! And the other recipe you posted that day!” SO FLATTERING.

Onto what else Kathy made- breakfast casseroles! One with jack cheese and queso fresco sprinkled atop, and one with sausage (and it was bliss to be reunited with meat) and DANG that sausage one was exceptional.

It had eggs and bread in it, and the interior was soooooooo perfect; tender, custardy, ethereally light and not at all dry or overcooked. A testament to eggs! (And sausage!)

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How many awesome streusel-topped applesauce muffins did I eat? I am sort of not prepared to talk about it. And really don’t actually know… since I was mostly just slamming back streusel. (Slamming back streusel might be the title of my hair metal band’s first album…)

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Our contribution: my mom’s Linzer hearts and my/my boyfriend’s gingerbread (after an adorably disastrous gingerbread house, he still had a tonnnnn of gingerbread dough yet, so I made adorable little men. Thanks, adorable man, for enabling me to do so!)

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Thoroughly overwhelmed (in a good way) by the riches laid before me, I began with a leisurely mimosa and a cup of tea. And coffee. And tea. And water. And tea (I try to consume a lot of fluids at these things to minimize stuffing my face too much. In the case of the muffins, I happily conceded defeat).

I love mimosas so much. (And now giggle and think about the My Drunk Kitchen version)

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My first of several plates. Half a muffin (ha!); taste of both casseroles as well as some cheese grits made by my aunt Nan; grapes (many more were consumed), a delicious layer of smoked salmon, tomato, and capers; biscuit; a smoked oyster. I. Love. Christmas.

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(Nice legs, sis!)

Highlights of conversation at Christmas was learning how to say something unprintable in Farsi from one cousin, having another cousin urge me to visit her in Amsterdam and travel throughout Europe because “It’s still fondue season!”, and having yet another cousin urge me to practice forklift driving in a parking lot.

My family is awesome.

Gag gifts of note (nerf guns are basically mandatory at our family events and you generally have projectiles whizzing by at some point in the proceedings!)

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BUT WAIT!

Though I’d definitely eaten enough for an entire day (or three…), it was in fact only 4:30 or so when we left the cornucopia of deliciousness and fun that was the Mom’s Family Brunch.

Now (children of divorce, who else is familiar with this syndrome?) the Dad’s Family Dinner!

Let’s start by admiring how frickin’ adorable me and my little sister were back in the day:

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The evening began, like many on both sides of my family, with artichoke dip.

I snort every time my dad refers to it as “his” famous artichoke dip… since he definitely got the recipe from his ex mother in law.

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Think I’ve written about it before, but it’s just jarred artichoke hearts, cheddar cheese, garlic and mayo. So simple, so delicious!

Bodie (looking like a little sissy in his bow; but he was totally proud) begged incessantly throughout the Christmas activities and seemed particularly interested in this dip.

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And Jasmine was all ‘Oh please, I’m not waking up for that.”

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We did a formaler (ish) sit down dinner.

My contributions:

1. Totally boss kale salad

Combine:

Shredded kale (I got mine at the farmer’s market the previous day. It was purpley!)
Craisins
Pecans (1 cup pecans, 1 tsp. oil, 1 tsp. dried thyme, dash of hot sauce, salt; roast til golden)
Dressing- a haphazard mixture of lemon juice, honey, mustard, olive oil, and cinnamon

SO SO SO DELICIOUS! The honey was key.

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Also, pumpkin risotto. Made in my usual barley risotto style (see my recipage!) but with mushrooms added with onion at the beginning, roasted cubed pumpkin stirred in at the end, and a bit of thyme.

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My dad, like any holiday he hosts (literally; he has done this for Thanksgiving) made lamb.

I. Love. Lamb.

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(Note: the fact that the meat is browned, rather than still “baa”-ing, means that my dad horrifically overcooked the meat by his standards)

In a tribute to my (recently) late grandmother, my aunt Jeanie made scalloped potatoes. And, as my dad and I rather candidly pointed out later, while making us miss her and think of her, they were definitely BETTER than my grandmother’s. Still awesomely rich, but Jeanie did a great job of evenly slicing the potatoes so they were all perfectly cooked (rather than an occasional alarmingly al dente bite).

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The plate. Went back for more salad and potatoes!

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Also a tribute to my grandmother: English trifle!

Do people without roots in the British Empire eat traditional English trifle anymore? I’m talking sponge cake sprinkled in sherry, raspberry jam, peaches (canned; you know it!), custard made from Bird’s custard powder, whipped cream, slivered almonds.

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So good! Multiply this by about five, *rolls eyes*

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Then pressies and a minor miracle: the women on my dad’s side of the family, all with open eyes and a reasonably attractive expression!

My aunt Michele, me, my sis Malindi, my aunt Jeanie, and my stepmother Sally.

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Merry Christmas friends! Hope you all enjoyed your holiday as much as I did!

3 comments:

Astra Libris said...

Beautiful, beautiful photo! You and your family are so gorgeous!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :-)

marie said...

Kale salad, pumpkin risotto, lamb, trifle??? That sounds like the perfect meal. Celebrate indeed. Looks like you had a great holiday.

Maya said...

I love trifle! I love anything custard-y, really, so laered cake and custard is right up my alley.

Hope to see you soon!