So many favorite things! Christmas! Family! BRUNCH!
We went to my aunt Kathy’s for Christmas brunch, which has become an annual tradition. On Christmas Eve, Tom, Kathy’s husband, came up to me and said in a festive yet slightly threatening tone, “Kathy cooked all day.” Kathy is a huge blog fan, so obviously I felt HUGE pressure to feature her delectable delights in a quality post. Kathy, I hope this meets your standards. Ma’am!
The holiday ambiance pervaded every detail of the house…
And the theme of the day was BREAKFAST CASSEROLE. Guys, I live for breakfast casserole.
Eggs, bread (Kathy told me about it and it was something sort of artisanal and European… can I remember? No. Fail.), gruyere cheese, spinach, and slow roasted tomatoes on top that seriously melted my face off. SO exquisite.
French toasty, pecan strueusely, eggy creamy crunchy licious.
I sort of just kept ripping pecans off the top and stuffing them in my mouth.
Bagel fixins’: cream cheese, capers, smoked salmon, and smoked oysters (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I sort of live for smoked oysters, as does my sister).
Malindi, in her usual “Go big or go home” fashion, decided to grace her bagel with a whole trifecta, with cream cheese, oysters, and salmon.
And then was like… “Nope, needs some more cream cheese.”
There were bran muffins, which I guess the rest of the family thought sounded suspiciously healthy, but I went to try “just a bite” of one and promptly went “FIGS!” and snarfed the rest in roughly twenty seconds. This was apparently an Ellie Krieger. Hunting down the recipe!
In the dessert department, fruitcake. My grandma aways made fruitcake, which unlike most fruitcakes actually tasted awesome because it was devoid of that frighteningly colored, cloying candied fruit and just featured dried fruit. And a WHOLE lotta booze. My aunt Dena made it this year.
Another sinful grandmother tradition that Kathy continued: the PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE!
My first plate:
That represents about a fifteenth of what I actually ate.
I kept trying to throw back the tea to keep my mouth distracted, and as a result I had approximately five mugs of green chai.
And… my body weight in breakfast casseroles, stollen (unpictured but diviiiiiiiiine), etc. etc. etc.
And then Kathy brought out another breakfast casserole.
Possibly the MOST DELICIOUS, with sausage, caramely onions, and red pepper. So obviously I had to eat a ton of it.
Kathy you WIN.
Kathy ended up with a totally punk-rock kitchen accessory.
My absurdly artistic and talented cousin Kate made several of us aprons and despite taking seriously hundreds of tries, there was not ONE PICTURE where either my aunt Dena, my cousin Lara, or myself was not blinking/grimacing. Bad news, man.
Anyway, the apron really is gorgeous.
And the pattern? Little kitties!
So being a child of divorce and all, I spent Christmas in sort of continuous motion. There was church in the am, then a brief respite at our house with just my mom and Malindi and I, then brunch, then it was back on the road to my dad’s sister Jeanie’s house.
Somewhat idiotically, I brought an appetizer. Because, obviously, that is the thing to do when everyone has already eaten their body weight in proper meals.
This was a good one, though. Roasted Red Pepper Bagna Cauda.
You begin with roasting a head of garlic. So there’s that.
Tender, fragrant, and oozing garlic juice. Whoa.
When you roast garlic, the flavor totally mellows and it gets brown and sweet and spreadable and you squeeze it out of the cloves. It is fun!
Give your red peppers a broil til they’re blackened, and they are JUST so perfect and sweet plus their skin slips right off for dippability.
I brought over the dip, along with some broccoli florets for dippage (red and green! Christmas colors!) and I had a token taste but my heart just wasn’t in it. SO MUCH FOOD, guys.
And then, one last car trip, back to my dad’s house where my stocking was a positive trove of edibles. And somehow my appetite returned and I don’t even want to talk about how quickly I demolished the Reeses Tree and the Russell Stover (?! their stuff isn’t even good! What is with me?!) marshmallow Santa.
Highlights was definitely weirdness from Asia (clearly Santa has an in in Taiwan.) Fake Pocky and chrysanthemum tea!