Well, folks, it’s the Day After Christmas. I’m sitting in my parents’ living room, finishing up a paper while munching on praline meringues that, if I’m being quite honest, made a surprising entrance into my dreams last night. They’re that good.
In true Hansen household fashion, this year’s Christmas was filled with laughter, drama, and food. Oh, the food. We started with antipasto (Italian cured meats, cheese, marinated vegetables, and olives), moved through a soup/pasta course, rounded the bases with roast beef and all the finishings, and slid home with a massive array of cheesecake, berry tarts, pumpkin souffle, rum cake, and the aforementioned praline meringues. I’ll try to upload as many recipes as possible in the coming days (if I can bring myself to look at all that food again).
One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is the food used to herald the holiday. Every family has those three or four recipes that they only break out during the holiday season. In Christmases past, my mother and I would bake for weeks! Are two staples were Italian Christmas Cookies and Buckeye Balls. On Christmas Day, the family would sit down to a dinner that covered 5 to 6 courses; including a course dedicated entirely to lasagna! I cannot wait to see what (and who) pops up around the table this year!
Feel free to share your favorite holiday memories, and the recipes associated with them, in the comments below!
Boston is currently a flurry and fury of white. We are being hit by a snowstorm, and hard. So, after an excruciating venture out into the cold, I hurried my way home to make the perfect warm-up dish: soup. Only problem is, I haven’t been grocery shopping. In weeks. Like, 3 weeks. It’s kind of sad.
However, I consider myself a master of improvisation in the kitchen. It’s something I learned from my mother, who was able to come home after a long day of work and whip up a homemade meal using whatever leftovers and cupboard staples she could. Also, I am fearless when it comes to my spice rack. I will mix-and-match spices without abandon. So, in mere minutes, I picked over my cupboards and came up with the following:
Pour out the wine without restraint or stay,
Pour not by cups, but by the bellyful,
Pour out to all that wull.
I’m not quite sure what’s influencing me this morning (besides the bottle of cabernet sauvingnon I polished off last night). Perhaps it’s the anticipation of my company’s holiday lunch, taking place at Boston’s extremely fabulous, award-winning restaurant, L’Espalier. Chef Frank McClelland is truly deserving of a standing ovation for his menu. He is a master of French cuisine, and Erik Johnson, the resto’s wine director, always manages to suggest the most flawless wine pairings. In fact, McClelland (along with writer Christie Matheson) recently published Wine Mondays (Harvard Common Press), a book named after the classic L’Espalier prix fixe that takes you on a tour through a variety of wines, paired deliciously with dishes from the L’Espalier test kitchen. Definitely recommend this for anyone on your holiday gift-giving list.
Allow me to wipe the drool from my face. The whole purpose of this post was that I wanted to share this article on the NYTimes wine-blog “The Pour.” It talks about the representation of wine in modern culture, as well as gives several significant suggestion on what books to add to your wine-loving library. Ok, so I’m not exactly talking food here, but in the spirit of the season– redden your cheeks with some pinot, and fill up your mind on wine-lit.
It has been a wish, nay, a dream of mine for quite some time to cook the perfect pot of paella. I don’t know what it is about it– ever since I caught a whiff of it cooking happily on a sidewalk stand in Barcelona three years ago, I’ve been obsessed. Yet, like an unrequited love or passionately-acted Keanu Reeves movie, my perfected pot of paella has remained illusive all this time. However, in an effort to up my culinary abilities, I am pledging to you, Internet, to begin (and document!) my quest in making my very first paella.
The December snow has fallen and the chill in the air always sends me searching my pantry for some quality comfort food. My philosophy is: the cheesier, the starchier, the better. Whether it’s a hearty stew, soul-warming soup, or filling casserole, winter calls for food that engulfs the tummy like a soft, fleece blanket. Who cares if that also means a few extra-trips to the gym. That’s what cable-knit sweaters are for.
Speaking of things I love about winter, I spent last weekend in Killington, Vermont, with a group of close friends on our annual ski trip. Temperatures skirted between cold and freezing, but we stayed warm on the slopes knowing we had a few good meals to come home to. Our meal on Saturday night, a creamy Vodka Sauce, was the ideal in comfort food. We paired it with buttery garlic bread and a lush, green salad (to even things out, of course). Every frost-bitten nose in the room was beaming with a full belly by the end of the night.
After a brief hiatus to manage some personal stuff (aka this little thing I like to call LIFE), I am back to blog! Expect a regular rotation of posts in the upcoming days (hours! minutes! nanoseconds!). Thanks for your patience!