Happy Christmas Week!
I am cooking for you all this week - just once though - on Tuesday - see below for menu. I know a lot of people travel during the holidays, but a lot of you have guests coming for a visit so I thought I'd deliver on Tuesday in case you need food to feed the troops. I'll do the same next week as well.
My favorite holiday tradition is Christmas breakfast at my friend Jenny's house. It's the best - it's warm & cozy & delicious & festive & it makes our family feel so special. After our daughter opens up her gifts (we do Christmas "light" over here) we walk over to Jenny's house just a few blocks away. We wear our pj's, which feels so homey. This year I bought a pair of red tartan plaid pajamas, which I am so excited to wear! Jenny's house looks so good for the holidays - the decorations are bright & stylish & sparkly. Her tree is big and filled with wonderful ornaments. Her table is set beautifully with homemade place cards and a kind of woodlands table scape. I love looking at all of their gifts - she has three awesome kids and a cute husband and there are lots of gifts, which are so fun to ooh & aah over. She always buys my daughter pajamas or a bathrobe to match with her kids, which is the cutest thing ever and makes us feel like family. There's eggnog, and fresh juice and strong coffee and amazing food. Jenny makes two kinds of strata, which is a savory bread, egg & cheese breakfast casserole - she does one with meat & one with veggies. Her husband Jeremy usually makes a fabulous kale salad, there's usually fruit salad and sometimes other side dishes as well. This year I am bringing sticky cinnamon buns. It's such a delicious meal and it's the best way to spend Christmas morning. We waddle home afterwards feeling totally loved & taken care of!
Today I am going to the Dickens fair - oh my! I've never been. I thought about trying to dress up because I guess that's a big thing there, but then it stressed me out so much that I scrapped my plans to go to Thrift Town and scour for victorian costumery. I guess I'm going to wear jeans. A bunch of families from school are meeting up there, and I'm looking forward to it because it sounds super fun. Before there was Downton Abbey on Masterpiece Theater there was an amazing version of Bleak House on PBS with Gillian Anderson. My husband & I got so into and we'd try out our best cockney accents while watching it. I don't think I'll be using my accent today, but I'm really excited about the fair.
We are having a Christmas Eve party - it's really an open house kind of thing - with snacks & drinks & neighbors & friends. It's very casual & fun and we never really know who will show up!
Here's the menu:
* mascarpone fig & pesto torte - a kind of savory/sweet cheese cake that looks beautiful at the beginning of the night and then gets destroyed & messy - to be served with sliced baguette
* tahini dip & crudite - my new obsession (see last week's email for details) - it's good to have a vegan option for vegan friends and it's great for variety
* smoked trout pate - so good & smoky & creamy - to be served with sliced cucumbers & water crackers
* manchego w/honey butter - got this recipe from my friend raquel - take a hug hunk of manchego and pour a mixture of melted butter & honey over the top - what's not to like? to be served with grapes
* marcia kashnow's honey mustard roasted kosher salami - obviously, this recipe is from marcia kashnow and it's amazing - my mom, lois jacobs, marcia kashnows best friend, suggested I make it this year - a brilliant idea! take a few kosher salamis - buy several of them, in fact. score the skin & brush on honey mustard all over the salami and toss in the oven. keep basting & roasting until it has the crispiest most caramelized crust all over it. serve on a cutting board with a knife for slicing and get ready for the compliments. everyone will go bananas.
* various trader joe's frozen treats for the kids down in the dungeon, i mean basement
* dessert will be something delicious that my mom makes and various other homemade sweet treats that friends will bring over
* my friend chloe is going to make a signature holiday cocktail - so fun!