Friday, December 26, 2014

Visions of Sugarplums

In the immortal words of Miss Liz Lemon, "I want to go to there."

Instead of wandering through a pastoral, Adonis-studded Eastern European landscape of tasty, nutritious sweet treats, however, we spent Boxing Day in our usual post-Christmas food coma.

Dinner was something of a success, although it really was rather ridiculous for us to whip up a full-scale dinner for just the two us.  The leftovers teeter mountainously in the refrigerator, and a large turkey casserole now resting comfortably in the oven hardly made a dent.  We did make one momentous discovery, pulling an unlikely victory from a minor domestic catastrophe (as well as surviving with less glory another minor disaster).  Despite doing a grocery-shopping of epic proportions, we arrived home having discovered we lacked two necessities: a red bell pepper and a bottle of port (whatever happened to the one we used last year will, I think, forever remain a mystery, although personally I suspect a temporary domestiche who had occasional access to our flat last year).

The missing bell pepper resulted only in a corn pudding moderately less colorful than is that buttery dish's wont.  The lack of port?  Ah, pure magic. my friends - magic pure and simple.  You may recall that a staple of holiday dinners chez nous is that longstanding family favorite, Port Wine Salad, an ingenious, likely Eisenhower-era combination of black cherry Jello, canned cherries in heavy syrup, and port.  I was initially cast down, thinking that our dinner (despite turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn pudding, glazed carrots, and Mr. Muscato's heavenly jam mousse, this time with his papaya-and-persimmon triumph) would be sorely lacking.

But I was not to be so easily defeated.  I surveyed our (surprisingly, all things considered, streamlined) liquor cabinet and thought to myself, "Self, what do you suppose the combination of black cherries and Cointreau might be like?"  Well, I can now attest: celestial.  Lighter than its port wine cousin, Cointreau Salad has a sparkling, citrus clarity that teases the palate even as it satisfies.  I don't know that it will replace our older iteration, but it is definitely a dish with charms of its own.

So know we loll aimlessly about, admiring the tree, pampering the dogs (both in little food comas of their own - they are shameless turkey scroungers), and generally vegetating.  Well, we had a busy December - a busy year, for that matter - and it's nice to have a day or two of calm.  I'm sure there's more than enough idiocy heading or way to make a little recharging a necessity...


  1. "Generally vegetating"? After a whole bottle of Cointreau cunningly disguised as "dessert", I'm surprised you're not nursing Queen-sized hangovers...

    I can quite sympathise with the glut of food, however. The fridge here at Dolores Delargo Towers is groaning with an array of delightfully processed vegetables and at least a third of a joint of brisket (Madam Arcati, too, cannot comprehend this "cooking for two" business so we always have enough for at least six). Still, at least the former gives us a good excuse to buy some smoked bacon rashers over the weekend and have that most British of solutions - the fry-up!


    1. Jon darling, you really know how to live. I love a fry-up!!!

    2. Nothing quite beats "bubble'n'squeak" with bacon... Jx

  2. I had a really delicious peanut butter and jelly sammich, with fancy apricot preserves. Delicious.

  3. My Irish Daddy believes that you should grow enough berries for the birds to have their fill. The five gallons or so left over is blessing enough for family and friends. Here at Chateau Merrill we have jars of glistening homemade blueberry jams. Toast anyone?