Haute Med Lo

More so than any other past holiday season, I think Hurlidaze 08 will forever be characterized by The Totally Rando Things I Made/Ate/Drank.

I mean, everyone does this to a certain extent around the holidays, right? We give fancy dinners as gifts (or, I do). We go out for pizza the day after Christmas because the thought of any more of that rosemary-garlic-rubbed roast makes us feel downright despondent. We roll up to hometown burrito joints after drunken reunions with old, old friends. One day we want haute cuisine, the next day we just want a hot dog. Clicquot, cava, Cook’s.
(FYI: I’m still getting used to having the camera at-hand for my adventures [culinary or otherwise], and since many of the holiday’s foodie quests took place in environments where photography seemed rather gauche, I will use this moment to promise you that pretty food pictures will appear in future posts. Get excited.)

So without further ado, I present to you: Dear Diary, I Am Really Full…

  • December 21, 3:00pm: Make these with Caracita. Burn first batch, eat what is salvageable; claim glorious victory over second batch, eat what is simply slightly malformed. (Note: 5 dozen? Total horseshit.)
  • December 23, 7:00pm: Snowstorm. Glad I thought of using my hiking backpack instead of a rolling suitcase. Arrive at the family homestead and set to work on triple-batch of ricotta for Christmas Eve stuffed shells.
  • December 24, 8:30am: Realize even triple-batch isn’t quite sufficient to stuff two pounds of shells. Drive to Dominick’s in cutoff sweatpants, sweatshirt, and biker boots (snowstorming still) to fetch more ricotta. Totally wipe out on some melted slush by express checkout. Ass-bruise remains. (Price of glory.)
  • December 24, 12noon: Brunch dishes cleared. Egg nog liberated from fridge. Whiskey liberated from pantry. Dad has one on the rocks, I spike my nog. Dad makes 3 apple pies, I stuff 8001 pasta shells. David Bowie plays on kitchen stereo.
  • December 25, 7:00pm: Yuletide bliss! Spinach balls unveiled, once more, as legitimate holiday dinner item. I forgo filet. (Priorities, you see.)
  • December 29, 6:30pm: Shit from my fridge, Runnin’ On Empty Edition. Penne, a few hardy surviving stalks of kale that I “flash-cooked” (thank you, Santa, and Mark Bittman), ricotta from the ri-do, a can of italian tuna, and pine nuts. Surprise! You’re delicious!
  • December 30, 7:30pm: Schwa with Stew. Favorites: Sunchoke bisque, the duck course, and warm taleggio with candied prosciutto and honey glass (and wooden spoon).
  • December 31, 5:00pm: Awake from disco nap, throw together MORE spinach balls (it’s like they’re a theme); proceed to launch them into eternal fame at the Monkey Suite.
  • January 1, 1:47am: Gleefully lighting a bummed Marshall McGearty’s Oriental Rose cigarette over a stove burner, realize somewhere in inner-secret-sober brain I have met my match in the French 75. Beginning of what will hopefully be a delightfully boozy, probably dramatic, and most certainly beautiful relationship.
  • January 1, 9:45am: Best. New Year’s Day morning. Ever. Big cashmere wrap sweater, lots of Advil, late 90s SATC on DVD, peasant breakfast in bed. Thick slice of sourdough, layer of gorgonzola, some bacons, sauteed spinach & grape tomatoes, olive-oil fried egg. Still hung over, sure, but rested and sated and happy.
  • January 1, 3:30pm: Fry up some fancy hangover snacks with Cara. Attach the entire length of my torso to her living room radiator.
  • January 3, 8:00pm: Multi-course heaven with Ed at Anteprima. Grilled polenta with spicy rapini; various cured meats with fig and cherry mostarda; tripe (yeah, believe it); swiss chard and ricotta ravioli in brown butter; the steak-iest scallops ever with cauliflower puree, wild mushrooms, and red wine reduction. OH, AND: Hey, lemon panna cotta, what say you and me and the Moscato over there have a little three-way…? Call me.
  • January 4, 12noon: Gossip and chilaquiles at Kitsch’n with Jill. I’m not even hung over. They are that good.
  • January 4, 3:30pm: Crushed pistachios and demerara sugar (left over from 12.21’s cookie venture) atop chocolate ice cream. “Slutcandy” is born.
  • January 4, 6:00pm: Roasted parsnip bisque, courtesy of a Hearty Boys cooking class I took last year. (Technically the theme was “Thanksgiving Sides.” It lives in my memory as the Night of Many Dairies.)

Aaaaand I’m exhausted. A happy, lucky, wondrous 2009 to all.

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