There is not much a person can say about this situation.... a minor inconvenience for us, however my heart goes out to all who were stuck on the highways. Mother Nature...formidable and yet so beautiful. Time to put up a big pot of soup!
A house with big picture windows should have a view, and during the holidays, the view should be festive. Through the window, the Banana Magnolia tree and veggie garden in the backyard are wonderful to look at Spring, Summer and Autumn. Now they are eye catching for the winter as well...all lit up! Now, when I gaze out to the backyard, I see more than a big black hole.
On the Sunday before Christmas, we host a neighborhood dessert pot luck party. This year, almost everyone showed up and it was so much fun to catch up with our friends and neighbors. We live on a cul de sac, and although you would think that running into the neighbors would be a daily routine, the fact is that we rarely see each other, so this is the perfect opportunity to catch up. We started doing this one year when the weather was so bad, it was unlikely that anyone would be able to leave their homes for a party, so party we did...after building the snowmen and snow forts, we gathered for a "snow day" party. Lucky for us, we live on a street where everyone seems to get along and enjoy one anothers company. Everyone brings something sweet...homemade cookies, chocolate mousse cups, and this year we had a buche de noel. I made a big bowl of fresh whipped cream and a tira mi su. There is always a cheese platter for those who do not have a sweet tooth, and a big bowl of popcorn, for those who like to munch. The tree did make its way into the house last week, and is up and decorated, and ready for more company as we will be hosting my husbands family for Christmas Eve this year. My favorite ornaments, of course are the ones my children made in school when they were little.
This post is being linked to A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday and Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday. Wishes for a Happy and Merry holiday to everyone in blog country...enjoy your family and friends...they are the best gifts!!
When it gets so very cold outside, one of my favorite places to warm up is Sickles Market...a place that is oh so much more than your basic food store, though the food is exceptional and often a source of extreme happiness to my family. However, when it is this cold out, the green house is the place to warm up, and during the holiday season, not only do we get to enjoy the poinsettia's and the tropical feeling.....the Christmas trees are all decorated for purchase and enjoyment. I have to say that this sock monkey tree made me laugh and this white tree with the peace sign also caught my attention Flower children of the world will be delighted by this!
At home, things are coming together. The fruit fairies are dangling from the chandelier in anticipation of company, and decorated trees are appearing in spaces and rooms where there were none before, and although we still have not bought our natual pine tree to decorate, I have it on good authority that it will be in the living room tonight... so, the bling is up , and the dishes are in the hutch, and it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!
A hot cup of coffee, and the New York Times, to a girl from New York, what could be better? If I needed more inspiration...which I really did not....the cover of the Dining section has a picture of their best choice holiday cookbooks...did you know that I collect cookbooks? Okay, so this is quite cool and will be a good read, but what are the books stacked on? Could it be a Wendell August Forge vintage aluminum tray with the turkey motif? Be still my heart...my second favorite collectible on top of my very favorite collectible...this is going to be a good day!! Even the holiday decor has some of the aluminum collection included this year.
Do you have your tree up yet? We are moving at the speed of a snail ...I have managed to decorate one small woodland tree, and I have also pulled out all of the Scandinavian tomtes, gnomes and elves. Things are coming together very slowly because we are still in the midst of a renovation, and, well, the kids are now busy with their own lives...which means I am pretty much on my own. So, each day I bring another box up from the basement and delight in the surprise of the contents. Many of the items are hand made like our stockings, sewn by me and my mother in law. I found this to be a fun, creative expression as seen by the choice of Little Red Riding Hood fabric for my stocking, and by including the Big Bad Wolf on my husbands ;-0. The tree though has not been bought yet ...upside to that is no pine needles to clean up yet...downside, no pine fragrance wafting through the house. So far though , "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas". The creche in the upper right hand corner was made by my father in law and mother in law...he is the wood worker and she is the artist. The tiny creche in the lower left was a yard sale find for a dime...I have trouble resisting anything from Woolworths...do you miss the old five and dime stores as much as I do? Now I am off to write my many lists and to try to get organized...or maybe another cup of coffee and a quick read through this cookbook article.
Tonight at sundown, we celebrate the first night of Chanukah. This holiday, based on a miracle, is celebrated by Jews all over the world, some in the tradition of their ancestors and some giving the holiday a more modern twist. This sterling silver menorah is part of the amazing collection at the Jewish Museum in New York. My Chanukah memories are rooted in the most simple customs...food, candles, prayer and family. When we were children, my siblings and I would argue over who would light the candles that night, we would bet on which candle would burn out the fastest, and we would enjoy small token gifts. There was the occasional game of dradle, but the big deal was the family Chanukah party. Our tight knit Grandma's and Grandpa's, or in my case, my Nana and Papa, made sure that we got together once a year, in Brooklyn for a party. I have actually written about this party before, remembering the Queen sized cooks crammed together in the tiniest kitchen, frying up the potato latkes. If one of the kids managed to squeeze through there was always a pinch, a pat and a squeeze waiting. Kids...there were so many...cousins, who I have recently caught up with on facebook. Somehow, the latkes always had a green cast to them...but they were delicious. I was always indebted to my father's, cousin's wife Barbara, who would whisper in my ear the name of a forgotten Great Aunt (seriously...there were so many and I was little). It has taken me many hours to learn all about my grandmothers family, but thanks to EllisIsland.com and Ancestry.com, I have finally put most of the family together. When they came to the U.S., what ship they were on, and where they lived when the got here. This was a very, very rewarding exercise for me.
The collector in me has not gone without finding some happy bits of Judaica... These tablecloths commemorating the Independence of Israel, one from the 1940's and the other from the 1950's were added to my vintage tablecloth collection years ago, and anyone who has been reading my blog knows, I collect cookbooks.This is a group of cookbooks based on Jewish holidays and antique recipes. I have always felt that if you want to know about people, find out what they are eating. What they cook, how it is prepared and served. Two of my favorites are the Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews...volumes 1 and 2. The recipes are unique and the history is fascinating. Not being of Italian heritage, these books have opened a door to an untold world for me.
Peel potatoes and coarsely grate by hand, transferring to a large bowl of cold water as grated. Soak potatoes 1 to 2 minutes after last batch is added to water, then drain well in a colander.
Spread grated potatoes and onion on a kitchen towel and roll up jelly-roll style. Twist towel tightly to wring out as much liquid as possible. Transfer potato mixture to a bowl and stir in egg and salt.
Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches of 4 latkes, spoon 2 tablespoons potato mixture per latke into skillet, spreading into 3-inch rounds with a fork. Reduce heat to moderate and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes. Turn latkes over and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt. Add more oil to skillet as needed. Keep latkes warm on a wire rack set in a shallow baking pan in oven.
Cooks' notes: ·Latkes may be made up to 8 hours ahead. Reheat on a rack set over a baking sheet in a 350°F oven, about 5 minutes. ·Grating the potatoes, soaking them briefly in water, and then squeezing out the liquid (as we've done here) keeps the batter from turning brown too quickly.