Monday, December 29, 2014

Holiday recap

I hope all of you had a lovely holiday.  My sister and her husband came down from Washington DC and all of my children were here.  We had a wonderful time together.  Still, sometimes I feel wistful about the big family parties in Buffalo that we are missing.  We haven't been home for Christmas since 1999--an epically disastrous trip in which Brigid and I came down with the flu.  We had to race home ahead of a snowstorm with Jon driving the entire nine hours because I was too sick, so that he could report for work at 07:00 on New Year's Day.  Good times.

Brigid, Grace, my sister, me

This year, no one had the flu, thank goodness.  We did have some good eats.  I usually make clam chowder for Christmas Eve, but I just wasn't feeling it this year, so when I saw the suggestion of gnocchi for Christmas Eve in the December issue of Bon Appetit, I changed our menu.  Seamus made the gnocchi and it was superb.  I served it with bottled, locally made, tomato sauce, and the pulled pork from the Good and Cheap cookbook.  My sister contributed a cauliflower and black pepper puree, which was wonderful with the pork.

For Christmas, we had the rack of lamb with fennel/pomegranate glaze, from the December Bon Appetit.  The fennel dominated and you could hardly taste the pomegranate, which was a little disappointing because I love pomegranate.  I made buttermilk potato dinner rolls to go with it, along with seared brussels sprouts and my sister's ginger-broccoli puree.  For dessert, we had devil's food cake with black pepper boiled icing.  Black pepper icing?  That is so 2011.  I'm not sure what the point of the pepper is, since it was indetectable, but the cake was very nice, just the same.

Everything was delicious, but Jon was less than thrilled with the lamb/broccoli/cauliflower/pulled pork pot pie I made for dinner last night.  I topped it with the stale, leftover rolls, which were nicely refreshed in the oven.  I feel bloated and over-indulged.  It will be a relief to return to thrift and clean eating.

Brigid made this ceramic model of Jon's head and gave it to him for
Christmas.  (Ivy wreathe, glasses and cigarette added by Jon.)


  1. That cake sounds impressive. The one I made called for black pepper too - and you barely notice it. Most years I just skip it.
    The ivy wreath looks fab on Jon's head. (The head is nice too).

  2. That's a pretty amazing sculpture!

    You have a food-adventurous family, I see. None of my siblings can actually cook, and it has been years since I've attempted recipes from Bon Appetit. We had a favorite meal for Christmas, but it was meatloaf :-)

    However, we have also indulged in lots of treats over the holidays, and I'm also welcoming a return to days of sane eating :-)