I thought it would be nice just to talk about some delightful things we consumed over the holidays. Most of them were made by my wife because I suck at kitchen management. I just stay out of her way, or if she needs help, she’s learned to give me exact orders and I just obey. I do get credit for taking care of the Thanksgiving Day turkey — my one skill is in cooking large quantities of dead animal flesh, so as long as I take care of that part, she’s happy doing the rest. And then I clean the dishes.
Eleya made a wonderful rack of lamb, roasted with peppercorns, for Christmas Eve dinner. For some reason our oven ran strangely and forced her to serve the lamb a bit at a time, moving in form the edges as they reached the perfect stage of rare to medium rare that good lamb demands. All ended well and people were happy to come back for seconds (or thirds). She also made some fantastic green beans sauteed with shallots and vermouth, and the best garlic mashed potatoes I think I’ve ever had. Ever. Did I mention I made the salad? Yeah baby, stand back.
We had a really tasty champagne for New Year’s Eve, a de Margerie Grand Cru Brut. I think I might slightly prefer the Montaudon Classe ‘M’ that we had last year, but the de Margerie was quite good. It was very crisp with some apple notes, and probably lots of other stuff a better wine or champagne taster would be able to pinpoint.
We’d also decided, since we were spending NYE at home, to enjoy grown-up food after the kids were in bed. We ate sparingly at dinner so we could enjoy a nice basket of treats that were sent by an out-of-town friend — gourmet crackers, cheese, salami, mustard, and some nice chocolates. I think next year I may go out and hand-select these sorts of treats and pair them with the champagne we choose to ring in 2010, because it was really lovely.
Today she made some crystallized ginger which I’m really looking forward to trying when it’s fully done. It’s currently drying, after which it will be coated lightly with confectioner’s sugar. If you haven’t tried crystallized ginger, it’s wonderful — sweet and tangy but with a nice touch of spicy hotness. Despite what you might expect from the spicy heat, ginger is also quite exceptional for curing an acid stomach or heartburn — no kidding! Try it next time you have a sour tummy; you can find it at most grocers.
I also watched too many episodes of Iron Chef with my daughter on our one “couch potato” day. Her favorite subjects are science and cooking (go figure). I saw some really amazing ways to prepare buffalo and venison, and thankfully none of them involved ice cream.