Monday, December 27, 2010

the morning after

Is it really over? Goodness, how quickly a day goes by. This year's Christmas dinner in my home was the usual juggling act as I attempted to serve 27 people at a table meant for 10 at the most. I had to resort to two seatings, not what I would have preferred, but honestly I did not have a choice. The first seating was for "the kids" and by that I mean anyone younger than 22 years old. Our very youngest is not yet two but the twelve other kids range in age from 16 to 22, which is a scary thought. They are very big. It seems not that long ago they all could just fit on our laps. Now they want their own chairs. Ok, ok.

The KIDS asked me to make enchiladas for dinner, an unconventional choice for our traditions, but why the heck not?
Despite all the hard work and my overly ambitious menu that started off manageable, I truly feel this dinner is a labor of love. It is the one day of the year when my entire family gathers to spend time together, enjoying each other's company and acknowledging the changes that time brings.  I wouldn't change a thing about it.
The ADULTS were more interested in the braised short ribs and spinach timbale.
This year's menu. No, not vegetarian.

The blizzard that arrived the day after Christmas was perfectly timed to keep me home, to rest and reflect on my good fortune and the blessings of the love of my large and ever growing family.
This cock-eyed cutie captured my heart when I met her at the Cluny Museum in Paris this October.
 I can relate to her weary expression.
The very persistent snow and wind caused drifts to form INSIDE my doorway!
The view from upstairs looking down into my garden. The amazing sights of the season.

My favorite recipe from Christmas dinner was the Spinach Timbale.  The easiest version to make is by using frozen spinach, thereby saving several steps:
-chop an onion and saute till tender in butter
-blend a package of defrosted spinach with the cooked onion, a bunch of chopped dill and salt and pepper in a food processor till fine. 
-add 2 cups of heavy cream, 3 eggs and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and blend another few seconds till well combined.
-butter a baking pan and pour the spinach mixture in.
-bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes till the timbale sets.

This delicious, savory treat will be a great side dish for just about any hearty winter meal.


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