Soup

Tonight I took the left over raw vegetables from the Xmas eve crudite and blanched them in chicken stock before pureeing them. I then put them back in the chicken stock and mixed in the left over cheese and beer sauce.

It’s made a nice soup that I’m serving to my roommate with a piece of toasted olive bread.

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New

When your mother dies, you don’t get to go home for Christmas anymore.

When break up with your partner, you dont get to dgo to their parent’s house for Christmas anymore.

When you intentionally move 3000 miles away, you don’t get to whine about not having any where to go on Christmas.

So what do you do?

You make new things.

You cook for two days. You make comforting foods. You make fattening foods. You make things that smell good and taste better. You make things that the Food Network wouldnt even sink so low as to make.

You go through your contacts and invite everyone you know and make more food just in case.

And then you wait.

You try not to think about it despite thinking about it all the time. You miss your mother. You miss having a lover (although you really don’t miss that particular lover). You just wish the phone would ring…ring damn you, ring.

And then they show up. Holy crap, they do. They come and eat and laugh and drink and eat some more. You relax. You laugh and eat and drink and laugh some more. Inspite of yourself, you have a really really good time.

You make new traditions. You step back and feel the good in what you’ve made here and say to yourself “Next year we’ll do more… yes, next year.”

Because in the planning for next year…you find a reason to keep going… and going… and going….

Because despite the fact that your mother is gone, and you’re still single and you’re still occassionally feeling like you’re struggliung to make friends here…. next year, yes, next year will be better. And so will the year after that…and after that…and after that….

Check List

2 dozen spice cookies with chocolate ganache – done

giant bowl of chex mix – done

garlic sausage rolls – in the oven

glazed ham – in the oven

sweedish meatballs – next on my list

crudite – as soon as my roommate gets out of bed

cheese and beer dip – will do that once the meatballs are done

grog – will get that percolating around 2

nog – apparently we have a few people with immune system issues so no raw egg rum for us

Starting a new holiday tradition – in progress

In Martha’s Name We Pray

Who knew that removing nicotine from my system would turn me into Martha Stewart?

This week end I made a sourdough sponge, bought items for drying handwashables, washed the handwashables, baked bread from the sponge, shopped for holiday decoration materials, decorated a mantle and wrapped a wooden wreath in lights in preparation for being hung strategically to accent the above mentioned mantle.

All I need to do now is get into my bedroom and attack it with a label maker.

I understand that this kind of activity is normal with women of a certain socioeconomic class that is identified by their holiday sweaters. You’ve seen them. I don’t need to frighten you by describing them. What is even more frightening is these women do this annually. Without drugs too. I realize that these women often don’t have day jobs, if you want to assume that running a household isn’t a full time job. It’s the zeal and vigor that they bring to “crafting” that scares me. So as I hit the fifth store to try and fine a double wheeled wreath frame, I began to fear for myself.

It’s when I got angry that a flower shop in the gayest neighborhood on the planet didn’t have basic topiary forms that I realized I was either channeling Martha Stewart or I was experiencing withdrawal symptoms from a substance more addictive that black tar heroin. This was a good distinction to make. As much as I respect Mrs. Stewart for her drive, her creativity, and her ability to make beige trendy, I also understand that her expectations are a little high at times. With that in mind, I also realized that in an effort to not sit around waiting for my head to stop spinning and pivoting like a dreidel on the 7th night of Chanukah, I was probably over compensating in my efforts to keep busy.

But look at what I did! I needed those sweaters washed. I needed to get at least one loaf of bread made. I have been feeling very bah humbugish and needed to break out of it. Sure, sure, trying to do all that in one day left me so tired that at 8:30 I was forcing myself to stay awake. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the pot of coffee I drank at home and the two Starbucks peppermint mocha frappucinos I drank. Nope, nothing to do with supplanting one drug for another. Nope, not..at…all.

I’m sure by the time this week end rolls around I will have found other ways to deal with the diminishing symptoms. My head will have stopped throbbing 4 times a day and I will have stopped needing to fart every 20 minutes and I will have control over the urge to wrap a baseball bat in 50 gauge barbed wire and start swinging it every hour on the clock. Next week end I will be peace and love and harmony and witty barbs aimed at the most deserving of fools.

But I’m warning you now. If I end up taking out some middle aged woman in a sweater at the mall this week because she snagged the last bit of flower arrangement supplies, its RJ Reynolds fault, not mine.

Rising

My sourdough sponge didnt proof like I wanted it to yesterday. I set the started plus a cup of flour and a cup of warm water on top of the stove at 11am. By the time it started showing any signs of life, it was near time for me to go meet people for dinner. So I threw a bowl over the sponge and left out on the stove over night.

This morning it was frothy and doubled in volume. I openely cackled at it. Before I even made coffee, I whipped the bread together in the kitchenaid with 2 cup of the sponge, 3 cups of flour, 4 t sugar, 1 T kosher salt and 3 T melted butter. The dough didnt come together like I wanted so I added another 1/2 cup of the sponge and it formed a dry but decent dough. Poured that out in an oiled bowl and left it to rise for 3 hours. I poured the elft over sponge into the starter jar and stuck that back in the fridge. After three hours I checked on the dough and deemed it ready to transfer. Instead of punching it down, I poured that it an oiled pyrex baking pan and put it to rise again for another hour before baking it at 350. Before baking, I brushed it with an egg wash and sprinkled caraway seeds and more salt on the top. It has again doubled in size and filled the house with the smell of a good sourdough.

Once it’s done baking I’ll let it cool while I run down to the Castro for materials to make holiday decoratios. While the dough was rising I set out some of my mother’s decorations on the mantle. They’ve begun disintegrating which kind of upsets me and yet I know that it’s time for me to make my own. I’ll keep it simple this year, but I think, like my mother, I’ll spend the year making decorations as I go along.