I swear, I’ve got pictures of what I made for Christmas, I do! But first, I had some other cooking to do.
Our friends A. and P. came over, A. arriving almost an hour early. She was on the phone with P. as he was calling me, at the T station down the street. “Send her over” I said– especially since there’d been a before-school stabbing the week before. We had a bottle of cava (people need to drink more sparkling wine… I’m trying to do my part) before dinner and Amanda Hesser’s white bolognese sauce over polenta. (Note to self: fine grained polenta cooks a lot faster, and swells up a lot bigger than medium grain. Don’t use so much next time.) We then had Martha Stewart’s Gingerbread Icebox Cake for dessert– we cheated, in that I did not make my own gingerbread cookies, but instead bought some Swedish gingerbread thins instead. People, this dessert is genius– put six cookies in a circle, put one in the middle, glop on lots of sweetened whipped cream, repeat until you’ve used up two boxes of cookies. I didn’t make the compote, either, but next time, I may make some kind of hot fruit saute to go on the side. Maybe something with pears or apples.
My Dad’s 65th birthday. Since we were having Christmas at his house, we had his dinner at mine. Dessert was a no-brainer– the Better Half made the Chocolate Armagnac cake, and my dad brought raspberry ice cream (home made, thank you) to go alongside. And, because it’s a family tradition, we also had Brigham’s Peppermint Stick Ice Cream. For the dinner part, we had a romaine salad with shaved fennel, tangerine supremes, pomegranate seeds, and dressed with salt & pepper, red wine vinegar, tangerine juice, and olive oil. I served jeweled basmati rice (chopped up dates & dried apricots with currants and white raisins, chopped almonds, sauteed in butter and then added to basmati rice in the last 10 minutes of its cooking) to go along with this Iraqi Lamb and Eggplant stew recipe I saw in November’s Food and Wine. The recipe calls for lamb shanks, something I stew at least several times a winter, and split yellow peas, as well as the secret ingredient– a half a cup of pomegranate molasses. It was delicious, and I usually hate eggplant, so that’s saying something. I did gild the lily beyond the fresh cilantro garnish, however– I had peeled and seeded a pomegranate, and sprinkled the top of the stew liberally with the seeds– so that each bite was hot, cold, fatty, rich, fresh, and tart. My brother and his Lovely Fiancee both had seconds, as did my dad.
Sunday, we gave in and ate out around the corner, at our Winchester. And on Christmas Eve, we had our own little family tradition in the making– a large pizza and a bottle of red wine. I also spent much time bemusedly admiring my finger- and toe-nails, which I got painted during my birthday present outing with my brother’s Lovely Fiancee– I was going to get a nude-ish color, but she insisted on something darker, so I went with OPI’s “I’m not really a waitress” red. It’s like I have pomegranate seeds sparkling at the ends of my limbs. So not me. But very, very fun. And surprisingly attractive on my super-short nails. I may have a new budget item.