Just to recap from my last post, we did boycott Thanksgiving and had a very low key holiday this year. My plan for complacency and family togetherness worked. Bwah ha ha..I am an evil genius.
We played old maids and go fish, baked a rather imperfect cinnamon-laden pie, sewed doll clothes, filled and put out all the bird feeders, which the birds and squirrels nearly finished in like two days. Birds are pigs.
We did some embroidery and started work on the girls playroom. I played with my new camera and irritated everyone with my picture taking until they refused to smile and put sheets of paper over their faces and now I have a hundred pictures with frowns, googly faces and serious poses.
We also babysat "Peek" and "Boo", Edie's class pets...
That's right, they're hermit crabs. And I spent half the five days, leaning into their terrarium wondering why they weren't moving and imagining having to tell Edie's teachers that I killed the class pets. I spent so much time poking them and bathing them trying to get them to move around that I'm pretty sure they are relieved as hell to be back at school.
Crabs are stressful, man. That's all I'm sayin'.
Now, I'm ready for Christmas. Sometimes Thanksgiving wipes me out. Not this year. I'm pumped.
I am making all the ornaments for the New Paltz Christmas tree. We are baking Christmas cookies this weekend and making the rounds to all the neighbors in the country to introduce ourselves with takeout boxes filled with homemade goodies. And I have a great gift idea for the kids in Lucy's class, teachers, my cooking class, which I will share after I shoot them. Okay, after I actually make them.
David will take the kids to the woods to get our tree for the country house. He will have a saw. God love him, he is so freakin' butch.
And there will be holiday-themed cooking with the kids in Lucy's class. There is the tree in Rockefeller Center. Our tree in the NYC apartment and the little mini-tree with pink lights and pink balls in their room. There is much decorating to do. And somewhere we must have a sleigh ride, with horses and jangling bells. And snow. Thick, puffy, billowing, cottony layers of it. I insist.
I feel light, and ready and excited. Santa is coming. We all still believe. And it feels magical.
And I have a delicious winter snack or light supper for you to kick us off...for those nights you want something filling without all that fussing and sitting at the straight back chairs in the dining room...
I was puttering through Michaels looking at their 100 kinds of Christmas Cookie Sprinkles and wondering whether David would care that I was going to blow $100 on sprinkles and cookie cutters, when I spied a Martha Stewart Cookbook - no recall on the exact title - but I happened past this recipe as I was flipping pages and thought it would be a perfect casual supper with a salad or paired with an assortment of cheeses or charcuterie.
As I suspected we ate it and the cheese and a sizeable chunk of duck liver pate with a bottle of wine, standing around the kitchen, leaning on the counters and telling stories about our day. It was quite nice. I adapted this a lot from Martha's original recipe - forgive me Martha - but I believe both are along the same vein.
Artichokes on Toast with Ricotta, Garlic & Parmesan
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin
8 slices rustic bread, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
2 olive oil for drizzling
One 12-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained but moist and chopped
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Shaved Parmesan cheese
Parsley, for granish
Thinly slice 1 garlic clove, and set aside. Rub the other over the bread slices and then, slice that thinly as well.
Brush both sides of bread with olive oil. Toast slices in a skillet over medium-high heat until golden and crisp on both sides. Or you can toast these in the oven or on a grill. Transfer to a serving platter, and set aside.
Heat a tablespoon olive oil or so in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and artichoke hearts. Saute until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.
Spread ricotta onto toast. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon artichoke mixture onto ricotta. Season again with salt and pepper. Shave fresh parmesan over the top of each. Drizzle with olive oil. Finish in the broiler for about a minute or two. Garnish with chopped parsley.