Friday, January 9, 2009

Hysmith family Christmas uniforms: flour dusted cranberry stained pajamas

We rolled out of bed in flannels yet the floor was sticky with humidity. Hot tea was ready to pour yet it undoubtedly wanted ice. Our stockings hung over the fireplace, yet no fire roared cheerily behind them. It was 80-something degrees Christmas day, how rude. We began the day with Da's "secret recipe" cinnamon rolls made with whole wheat flour...well wait they're secret.

After a jaunt of a bike ride through our deserted little college town, in which I did not manage to fall or seriously hurt myself or my bike, we returned to begin the mighty task that lay before us: "CHRISTMAS DINNER" (Says Da in a deep DJ weekly top 40 countdown voice).

The Menu:
zealously herbed breast of turkey wrapped in prosciutto
citrus barley with roasted grapes
brown sugar fruit salad
sauteed cherry cranberry chutney
shallot and ginger pan seared broccoli
sweet potato yeast rolls

The shear amount of herbs included in these dishes would like to strip our garden bare, yet each little potted plant seemed to replenish it self magically with each trip out the back door.

The brown sugar fruit salad is most simple and palates better a day after it is made. I liken it to a soup that needs a full nights rest to bring about its full flavours. Ingredients consist of several tablespoons of brown sugar and the juice of one lime. Let it the acid dissolve all the sugar before tossing the fruit. Chop up bite size portions of whichever fruits you like and those which are in season: apples (grannysmiths are my preference) black grapes, any berries, plums, peaches, cranberries, pears. Anything but bananas! Toss the fruit about till completely coated with limed sugar. Chiffonade a few mints leaves and toss those in too. Now that I think of it, in the summer time a full sweet basil would be even better!

Our loverly neighbors joined us at the climax of our cooking escapade which allowed me to sneak off for a game of "take two", a sort of back alley scrabble, with Nan and the kid sister. Nan, being the wonderful lady-neighbor that she is, satiated my leafy cravings and brought her simple yet refreshing green salad of cashews, dried cranberries, mozzarella, and julienned green apples.

In conclusion, our family does not prepare a most orthodox Christmas meal, nor do we follow a strict starch/veggie/meat/pie code of more traditional holiday dinners. To be honest I wouldn't put a tofurkey past my father without the possibility of his delicately primping it to the bubbling concoction that was our Christmas vitals.

Next on the menu due for Hysmith family alterations: New Year's Day Luck and Health feast (complete with cabbage hats).

jalapeno studded sour cream; or, how a non-Jewish foodie spiced up Hanukkah

Though the days marked by food intake and hours logged on couch and/or bed have long since passed I have yet to begin my holiday postings! Growing up my father introduced me and my brother to various cultural holidays in hopes that we would better understand the world and own culture. Little did we know that this was his excuse to experiment food-wise and add yet more days onto the annual week or two of gorging. His culinary devices won out, thankfully and this year I decided to prepare a Hanukkah dinner for my Mum and her new boyfriend, Mark (who has a Jewish last name, though is not the slightest bit Jewish). Though I thoroughly enjoy a grease soaked potato as much as the next person, I find that it lacks bite and is wanting in ???. So as a proposed remedy I fashioned the traditional sour cream slathering with a heated pop of diced Jalapeno peppers. My palate is one only subdued with the most sweltering of heats, the kind that literally burns away your taste buds yet later leaves you with a satisfying warmth in your tummy. Sadly, these latkes didn't do the trick. Next year, I'm thinking potato-horseradish latkes with roasted Ancho chile sour cream. Maybe?