Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Day meal

I am soooo excited... this year Stacy and Brian sent us the cookbook from Insalata's and I got a wonderful new all clad soup pot from Greg... so tomorrow it's Papa's Shrimp Bisque for dinner. I'm also making a wonderful Neapolitan Calamari and Shrimp Salad thanks to Giada. It looks terrific and reminds us of our wonderful trip to Amalfi. So I will post pics tomorrow if it turns out well.

New Year's Eve

I've never been able to get too excited about celebrating the New Year. I guess I'm not so much into the party scene. We've had a few good ones in the neighborhood... one year it was a toga party and another year it was a pajama party... yes we were supposed to come in our PJs. Going out in the neighborhood is pretty good because you don't have to deal with traffic and crazy drivers. But I'm not too much of a drinker and its hard to stay up until midnight when you get up at 5:00 a.m. every day! This year though we have the perfect plan... we are going to a 4:30 movie (It's Complicated) with good friends and then going next door for a special dinner at the Greystone Grill. Not even sure I'll last until midnight but I am so looking forward to the low key evening! Happy New Years to all who read this... Hope yours is as enjoyable as ours will be.

Christmas in Baltimore 2009

Christmas was very fun this year. Having Gabe home was special but we did miss the rest of the clan... We made an awesome pork loin cooked in 8 cups of kosher salt with spices... it cooked really slowly. After it was done we had to break open the salt casing to get out the roast. It was delicious.
We paired it with a lovely buttery Chardonay, roasted carrots, parsnips, and fingerling potatoes, and a wonderful carmelized roasted onion grantine that was to die for. I hope the pictures do it justice. For dessert we had mini buche du noel and a pear tart that was sooooo good...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

It's been a great Christmas so far - stockings, presents, movies and soon enough, dinner. As per tradition, we're doing a prime rib roast.

Another tradition in my family is the Christmas Eve meal - cracked dungeness crab, sourdough bread and a good Monterey Jack cheese. Last night we added a few more cheeses to the rotation (Brillat-Savarin, an aged Australian cheddar, and young Spanish Mahon), made fresh fruit salad for dessert and may have enjoyed a super yummy rose Champagne (yes, I'm taking the french approach to pregnancy, in which women don't have to be persecuted for the odd glass of wine they drink).

But the coolest part of the dinner were the two dipping sauces we concocted for the crab (in addition to some melted butter). One was a mayo spiked with Old Bay and the other was a homemade cocktail sauce. The cocktail sauce was so good, I'm going to share it here. The next time you're having some chilled crab or shrimp, make this up from scratch (in a few minutes) and impress the hell out of your friends.

Cocktail Sauce
by Noah, adapted from Joy of Cooking

1/2 c. ketchup
1/4 c. horseradish
1 tsp. jalapeno hot sauce
1 tsp. chipotle hot sauce
zest of one lemon
salt & pepper, to taste

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Hanukah and Christmas live side by side

When I saw Sarah's new ornament picture I was inspired to get out our new ornament for 2009. We picked it up on one of our many trips but I cannot remember where. In case you can't tell Santa is with a Dolphin and in a bathing suit. Anyway this being the Festival of Lights season as well I set up this little photo essay of Hanukah and Christmas living side by side...

More pics of the snow

The Shopper Stopper Blizzard of 2009

The snow here is insane. It started at around 11:00 p.m. on Friday and by early morning we had 5 inches. These pictures were taken about 10:00 this morning when Greg
went out to shovel the deck the first time. It is now about 3:00 and we have over 20" of snow and he has shoveled for the third time. The plow guy has come twice so I'm hoping we can get out in the morning to pick Deb up at the airport... if anything is flying. Our dogs got new coats just for the storm so these pictures show them stylin for sure... The green coat is Zeus and the red is Cole. Cassie was probably buried since she is much smaller. Lucky for us the snow is light and fluffy so they can just shake it off when they come in... not too messy. I'm nursing a rotten cold so I'm in by the fire being a couch potato while Greg expends all the energy. Looks like a white Christmas for sure and they are predicting more snow on Friday.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Menu for Hope 6

Is there anything worse than last minute Christmas shopping? That frenzy to find something, anything for your friends and loved ones. Well here's an option that's easy (you can do it in your PJs on your laptop), inexpensive and most of all, good for the world. Instead of getting Grandma another Snuggie, why not make a donation in her name to the Sixth Annual Menu for Hope? This year's drive benefits the World Food Programme's Purchase for Progress.

Per Chez Pim, the organizer of this massive food blogger event: P4P enables smallholder and low-income farmers to supply food to WFP’s global operation. P4P helps farmers improve farming practices and puts more cash directly into their pockets in return for their crops. This will also help buoy local economy by creating jobs and income locally. We food bloggers understand the importance of buying locally and supporting our local farms, P4P helps do the same for farmers in low income countries around the world. More on P4P at

And with each $10 donation, you purchase a raffle ticket for ANY food blogger supplied gift - you can win a multi-course meal at a 2-star Michelin restaurant, you can win all kinds of wines and chocolates, you can win stays in beautiful locations around the world (from Santa Barbara to New England to Italy and everywhere in between). Or dozens of other prizes.

But most of all you know that you made a little difference to some farmer out there who's struggling to get by. So rush on over to the handy, dandy donation form and get going.

And did we mention that this is a nice little tax deduction for your '09 taxes? It's the gift that just keeps on giving.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Holidays!

This year's ornament.