We had a quiet Christmas Eve with just Jon, me, and all four kids. Seamus made gnocchi, while Jon and I attended a drinks party at our neighbors. After dinner, we opened our presents to each other and the ones that had arrived from grandparents and godparents. For Jon, I took an antique wool pea coat that he'd bought at a vintage store when he was in high school and had it restored. It was in such bad shape that the dry cleaners refused to touch it, but I took it to a little alterations shop in our neighborhood and they cleverly patched up the holes and made it nearly as good as new. Jon had a necklace made for me with a silver buffalo pendant--to symbolize my beloved hometown.
Christmas morning was fraught with domestic disasters. Just when I needed fresh, hot coffee for the whiskey cake I'd planned for that night's dessert, the capricious Italian coffee pot did that irritating thing where it boils furiously and produces only a trickle of thick, burned, (yet syrupy) coffee. The dough for the babka, which I'd planned for our breakfast, refused to rise, and I completely forgot that I was supposed to have a supply of freshly mashed potatoes on hand for the dinner rolls, which set me back even more. To top all, when I started the sugared cranberries, which I wanted to serve as a pre-dinner snack for guests, I learned that it was a several-hours operation. When will I learn to read the entire recipe before attempting a new dish? Later, I spilled an entire shaker of salt on the very expensive organic rib roast, as if Christmas itself were playing the world's oldest joke on me, and I discovered that one of my best dinner plates was cracked.
In the end, Jon fixed the coffee pot, Grace ironed the dinner napkins, Seamus helped with the various baking projects, and Brigid spray-painted the pears I wanted to use as a dinner table centerpiece. The babka, somewhat flat, was finished by noon. The cranberries, not fully dried, were still presentable by the time our guests arrived. The roast was tender and perfectly rare, although very salty on its perimeter. The cake was delicious, and the rolls had their requisite dose of fluffy mashed potatoes. We hosted my sister and her husband as well as a friend of ours and had an evening of laughter and fun.
I didn't take a lot of pictures, so have only these two lame ones to share.
|My buffalo necklace|
|A peek at our table|