Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cooking up Christmas

For Sunday's potluck I got inspired only an hour before and managed to turn out roasted potatoes and broiled chicken with yogurt and indian spices. They turned out perfectly but I was unable to enjoy them very much due to a side effect of the antibiotic I was on for my skin. I had a metallic taste in my mouth which got worse and worse last week. By Sunday it felt as though I'd burned my tongue on hot chocolate (a frequent childhood occurrence because who can wait for it to cool off?) and it hadn't healed yet. Called my doc yesterday and got switched to tetracycline which may have other side effects. The metallic taste is fading and I look forward to its complete disappearance, perhaps tomorrow.

Yesterday I baked bread. I've been doing five-minutes-a-day bread and it's been wonderful. I use 3 1/2 cups of whole wheat* flour and 3 cups of white flour. I am trying it will less salt and less vinegar because that's a lot. My 'yica' as Bee put it is back so I've been eating plenty of raw dough too. It's chewy yeasty deliciousness. Today I had a sandwich made from the bread I baked and I felt all artisanal. One more modification for the recipe, I don't think it makes enough for three loaves. I think it makes two and a half loaves, and I just want you to be prepared. *It's a little confusing because of the repetition of the words "white" and "wheat" but the whole wheat flour I like to use is King Arthur brand White Whole Wheat flour. It works in all recipes and is the shit.

The Christmas is upon me though I feel washed away by the tide rather than prepared for the journey. Brashly boozy egg nog was crafted and consumed last Friday night and we had a good 15 neighbors to sing carols. The kids were taken to the nearby rec center to run around with a babysitter for a couple of hours to facilitate all this. It was a nice time. I need to get our frequent potlucker Bob to teach me his melody for Green Grow the Rushes O, very different from the one we know.

We got a tree on Sunday, venturing out in the extremely cold wind. Got a deal on the tallest tree I think we've ever had. I assume they guy gave us a deal to get us to buy something and thus justify their time out in the freezing whipping air. The tree is a leetle big for our stand and there was comedy gold as Nod and I tried to get it inserted and upright. I laughed so hard when it fell over on him and all I could see was his legs sticking out from under the horizontal tree. It is fragrant and has great depths: one string of lights hasn't done much for it so it may be time to throw more on there. We've held off on decorating so we can do it as a family tonight. To appease my children who have wanted to put decorations since the moment the tree crossed our threshold, I told them they could put up ten ornaments each. Hearing that Lexi was starting to bargain for more, I told her that if she saw other ornaments she wanted to put up -- no problem -- she could just take the first ten off and put up the others. This has worked surprisingly well. I will put on the xmas music and distribute the eggnog and we'll have that tree glitzed up tonight.

A co worker told me she had finished her xmas shopping last night. She has an excuse, she will be traveling for the hols. I only progressed to definite fear about gifts yesterday but had not done any shopping. Well working with that fear, today I ordered a CD for my mother. It's piano music performed by Dick Hyman who I heard on Prairie Home Companion over the weekend. But it's Bix Beiderbecke tunes and I don't know if that will really be her thing. At any rate, it's better than an empty placeholder. Her birthday (Dec. 28) present is done. I got her a Fuller Brush Man letter opener (red plastic) and a really rocking card (golden retriever standing in Caribbean shallows: Seize the Day, Casually). Now I need to write her a sweet note and get the pkg ready to go out next week.

Oh and the family picture, we haven't managed that yet. And gingerbread cookies. And and and. Good things all and I will concentrate on these achievable goals that bring me pleasure. What a luxury that we don't have to travel over the holidays.


Bee said...

There are so many marvellous things in this post. I loved so many different phrases, but thank you especially for that moment of "comedy gold" with the tree.

I'm trying to make do with a clementine and cup of chamomile, but what I REALLY want is some of that brashly boozy egg nog.

btw, I think that you have pica -- not yica. Did I ever suggest otherwise? Or have you inserted the y for a yeast-based pica?

I made the gingerbread men on Sunday night. Same recipe that I've been using since childhood, but as per your suggestion from Xmas 2008 I've substituted butter for Crisco. All those years of using Crisco . . . and it was wholly unnecessary! Roll them out thick, is my advice; but then I don't like crispy g-men.

Nimble said...

Hi Bee, may you have some unintentional holiday slapstick humor too! I really thought my husband was going to storm off when we were struggling with that tree stand.

Oh I don't know whether to be proud or abashed about the butter influence. I am sure that your gingerbread folks are beautiful and delicious. I thought about trying to do a gingerbread house project. I read that you just leave out the leavening to produce flat hard wall-ready gingerbread. Maybe next week when the kids are out of school.

Bee said...

I'm thinking about doing gingerbread houses over the weekend. Last year i used a recipe that tasted FOUL but made rock-hard gingerbread. I may try a new M Stewart recipe this year. I'll let you know how I get on.
Just ate a gingerbread man for breakfast, actually. Highly recommend it.