Saturday, December 27, 2008

Helpful - Saturday 12/27/2008

It's time to take down the notes I posted on the fridge that helped me time out Christmas dinner. Not really complicated, but it's best to write these things down.

In pencil.

So you can adjust them when something puts you off by 15 minutes.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Yet More About Food - Friday 12/26/2008

Royal Riviera pear courtesy of Mishegoss. Perfectly cored fruit courtesy of Kitty. The melon baller works perfectly for this.

A few seconds later I scattered bleu cheese over one of the pears. Mmmm.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day - Thursday 12/25/2008

Another overexposed photo of a Christmas tree! I'll bet the Internet is just buzzing with these right now.

Next year, maybe I'll think to set up a tripod rather than settle for another shot like this. The cousins arrived from Orange and San Diego counties bearing gifts.

The roast beef was tender and delicious, the salmon--which I poached in the microwave--surprised and impressed the diners, and these simple cheese crisps--which were requested--were a hit again at least amongst the women-folk.

It was a good day. They arrived around 11 am and stayed until almost 6pm. It rained a little and gusted a lot, which kept us from our traditional walk between dinner and dessert, but it was a very nice day inside.

Hmm. There's an awful lot about food here around the build-up to and celebration of this holiday. I love cooking for people.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve - Wednesday 12/24/2008

Hydra sneaks past with some last minute gift wrapping.

I prep the rib roast for tomorrow's feast. It pleases me wildly that I can step out my kitchen door and snip fresh rosemary from my herb garden.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Prelude to a Bliss - Monday 12/22/2008

I went to Tomasina's house before our writing group's Christmas celebration and walked with her and her dogs in Arroyo Seco near her house. She tells me that California plein-air artists have been painting here for years.

And they still are! Check out the work of Paul Chamberlain and others here.

This is Biscuit the wire-haired Dachshund. She toddles along behind while Tory the rescued chocolate lab surges forward. But when tomasina offers to pick her up, the fifteen-year-old scampers along like a pup.

"Uh-uh. You're not carrying me. I can do it!"

The hillside is insanely green after the recent rains.

Tory would like to be immortalized in a plein air painting, but all I have with me is this Nikon D80.

Biscuit finally allows Tomasina the pleasure of escorting her along part of the trail. I got to carry her a little, too. She's a sweet dog, even if she is a little opinionated.

We met up with Braveheart at Tomasina's nearby home, and then went to Burke-Williams where Tomasina treated us to relaxation massages! We enjoyed the steam room and whirlpool prior to the massages. I was barely able to walk after my rub down. It really gets me out of my head.

We picked up Thai food from the fabulous Saladang on the way home. Chili beef, yellow curry chicken, green curry eggplant, pad Thai and Thai BBQ chicken. Yum. We know how to order a mean meal.

Back at T's place, we enjoyed the meal, exchanged gifts, I read a little of something I'm working on, and we made commitments for 2009.

Lucky us!

Christmas Eve Eve Dinner - Tuesday 12/23/2008

We have this tradition of having live lobster--or lately the more affordable King Crab--for Christmas Eve dinner. It started many many moons ago with our friend Mishegoss, who has since returned to the land of Spartans and Wolverines.

But we were out and about a day early, hunting and gathering supplies for the Christmas Day meal we're hosting and we thought we might as well spread the feasting out a bit more.

It was made more festive by the butterlights and shellfish tools that Mishegoss sent us a few years ago. It's a little like sharing the meal with him, minus the good humor and wonderful foodie color commentary he brings to the table.

Sigh. That's the bittersweetness of the holidays. The good memories, the new traditions, the old traditions, the homesickness for people and times of our lives.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Remains of the Day - Sunday 12/21/2008

One of the last snowy places in our neighborhood is our yard! I guess we get a lot of shade from the pine tree on one end and the cypresses on the other.

The road's pretty clear, but there's still a little snow on the other side of the valley, where it really belongs.

We drove into Palmdale for lunch and errand-running. On the way back we saw probably a hundred cars parked along Sierra Highway near the Pearblossom Highway turnoff, and dozens of people scattered up the hillside, sledding!

This isn't that mountain. My camera was in my backpack, out of reach at the rear of the car. But we've seen that before--people coming from down below to sled further up into the mountains. I love that Acton got to be that place this time: the place the kids are going to remember as an amazing day.