Sunday, December 28, 2014

Holiday indulgences

...and more than a month after Thanksgiving, we're back. A bit of a vacation replete with food and reading (This essay by Bob Shacochis perfectly encapsulates emptiness and heart-wrenching loss; no need to have a particular yen for children to appreciate it.) turned into a big distraction! Christmas first:

Not everything from Intern Thanksgiving ended up in photos, but luckily, dessert--always the most important course--got captured.

Nusstorte, served with a spicy pecan popcorn praline.

Cranberry tarts, served with whipped orange goat cheese crema.
The nusstorte got a redux at Christmas. Here were all the courses, minus the lemon pepper leek soup and my uncle's brined turkey:

With cranberry-satsuma compote, a variant of Mark Bittman's
frozen honey mouse that incorporated a tart creme fraiche, and
candied satsuma rind.

Chocolate-peppermint cookies dipped in dark
chocolate (tempered by my mom!) and sprinkled
with crushed candy canes.

So. Many. Orecchiette.

Creamy roasted tomato sauce, mixed roasted vegetables, and
the orecchiette tossed with the best herb sauce ever. I wish
I'd gotten a picture of just the sauce; it was a gorgeous shade
of jade-green. No recipe, of course, but it involved fresh basil,
thyme, oregano, and briefly blanched spinach.

Mixed greens with olives, mixed orange supremes
(Cara Cara, blood, and satsuma), caramelized fennel,
and an orange-fennel vinaigrette with basil oil.
I'm a little over the cranberry/citrus/nut spectrum of desserts. The piloncillo, vanilla, and chilies I got from Mexico and the spices my best friend brought me from Zanzibar beckon.