Today is Monday, December 29th. My address is......yes, it has been that sort of week or so around here. Last Tuesday I timed my errands to coincide with listening to "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me" on NPR. When it didn't come on, I wondered what was going on. It took a few minutes for me to realize that it was actually Tuesday. "Wait, Wait...." is on Saturday!! Just as I'm comfortable with writing 2014 on letters, checks, etc., it will be 2015. All this should be no surprise. Much is crowded into end of the year festivities around here. Our wedding anniversary is on December 23 followed by Christmas, New Year's and then my birthday. Happens every year!! We had a nice dinner out to celebrate our 40th. Next up was Christmas. With the children spending the holiday at their respective homes this year, we were trying to come up with our own cheer.
The two couples, dear friends, with whom we have spent major holidays since moving here, would see us through. Well, we'd all see each other through just not all at once. Jane and Jim traveled to Texas to spend Christmas with their granddaughter--her first! They'll be back in time for our New Year's Eve celebration.
So, it was four of us at brunch on Christmas eve. The morning was gray, overcast and drippy as we headed south to the farm. The corn and soybean fields were brown stubble. The trees leafless. A little snow would have been nice (we haven't had a flake so far). Soon enough, the farmhouse came into view. The warm glow of lamplight illuminated every window, welcoming us. We settled in for a fireside chat while sipping a tasty moscato. The menu starred a delicious strata that wasn't actually a strata. It was cheesy and tasty and contained no bread. I'm going to ask if I may share the recipe with you. It was accompanied by a fruit-filled coffee cake and a citrus mimosa.
After we had
stuffed ourselves had partaken of that delicious meal, we decorated gingerbread cookies.
One of these is my work.
The other is The Baker's.
Can you pick out which one is mine? His?
Here are two last recipes for you this year. The rosemary cashews have been favorites of ours for several years now. As you can see, this is a recipe that I've been able to trace the "provenance" back a bit.
Rosemary Cashews with thanks to Sue S., Ina Garten and Union Square Cafe
1 1/4 pounds whole cashews
1 Tbsp melted butter
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped fine
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1. Preheat oven to 375. Spread the cashews out on a half-sheet pan. Roast for ten minutes.
2. In a large bowl, mix the rosemary, cayenne and brown sugar with warm melted butter.
3. Pour the hot cashews into the bowl and mix well. Let stand for ten minutes and mix well again. Repeat once more.
4. Best served still warm but can be saved in an air-tight container in a cool place for a week.
And, to begin your new year, have a helping of black-eyed peas. Legend is, if you do, you will have a prosperous new year. I'm sending our New Year's Eve guests home with a serving of these just to be sure!!
Wishing all of you a happy and healthy 2015!
Black-Eyed Peas in a slow cooker (serves 10)
6 cups chicken stock
16 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 pound black-eyed peas (looked over and rinsed)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red pepper. chopped
1 jalapeno, finely diced
8 ounces diced ham
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients into a slow cooker. Start on high for 30 minutes. Turn to low and simmer for 6 to 8 hours.