Posts Tagged ‘New Year’

Resolution: See’s the Day

February 5, 2010

February 5, and I’ve never felt more relieved at the turning of another calendar page. Suffice it to say, I have a love/hate relationship with the month of January. Kind of like Starbucks – a quick caffeine fix at the expense of a sub-par cappuccino and the snotty baristas I’m forced to suck up to – or that wolf-in-le-crueset-clothing known as Williams-Sonoma.

I realize that to my inner optimist, which I’m still convinced does in fact exist, this sounds completely backwards: as if anyone can outwardly deny the inherent goodness of a slate-wiped-clean? January 1 begins a fresh start, a gift of 365 new days mercifully and miraculously granted, completely pro bono, at the end of a simple countdown (10…9…8…). There’s just no greater demonstration of unfiltered idealism – not in real life, anyway. Fundamentally, January is the best kind of gift, wrapped up in all things bright-and-shiny. Promises made, resolutions resolved, 2010 is right on track with a flood of newfound self-will (as in ‘I will enjoy multiple pours of Pinot without compromise of social repute’)…

…Right on up until that midweek morning, when the pleasant clink of champagne flutes has been replaced by jarring email alerts, inclement weather forecasts and the hollow echoing of my deficit checking account. Welcome, throes of reality. Suddenly, this same month of inspired hopefulness is the ultimate killjoy, drowning out the holiday crescendo with the dull white noise of winter. Despite earnest refusals to surrender our twinkling lights and four-foot Christmas tree  to cardboard box obscurity, January trudges us onward in a barrage of imperatives (must.exit.warm.bed.), budget reallocations, and (*shudder*) scratchy turtleneck sweaters.

All of this, I could deal with, if it wasn’t for the part that makes January just so irksome: the New-Year-New-You Nonsense. Like the winter Olympics of self-improvement services, the occupants of this faithful Barnes & Noble subsection elbow into primetime, ablaze in full-force competition for top place on the medal stand.

How-to: be happy, save money, age gracefully, keep the secret, succeed without bribery, raise kids who don’t hate you. Worst of all offenders – though the ‘finding mr. right’ series is a very close second – the ‘Healthy Living’ display, a thinly veiled pointed finger with endearing titles like The Belly Fat Cure, Cook Yourself Thin and my personal fav,  YOU: On A Diet.

Ugh.

Now, after months of noel noshery, I can certainly appreciate a lighter table load. But to this subjugation of guilt from traitorous kitchen-aides, I must object. I mean, really – a girl works hard to keep up airs of holiday cheer. You think it was easy stuffing down homemade fudge and cookies by the tin? Or plating a second scoop of family-recipe cranberry sauce and buttered mashed potatoes? As if I could disappoint the expectant entreaties by refusing another slice of pie. It’s called being an gracious guest, people. And every bite was a (delicious) sacrifice.

So thank you, Skinny Bitch, but I will relish my dutiful task of devouring the remainder of my 2-lb gift box of See’s omigosh-these-are-THE-best-chocolate truffles one.by.one throughout January and beyond — and feel all the better for it.

2010, From Scratch

January 7, 2010

So wow, the entire holiday season has come and gone already! Cannot believe it’s been so long since my last post, and sincere apologies to all, as both the writing and cooking have taken a literal back burner to that stretch of madness spanning three epic food-for-all calendar dates. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year – all of which, now a blur of belly-blessed treats that cannot begin to be recalled except in creeping scale increments. Kinda like a trip to Whole Foods: somehow you’ve blown $75 and yet have no idea what you’re eating for dinner upon reaching the parking lot. But oh, was it worth it. After all, there’s only so many winter-wonderful recipes and gift basket engineering a girl can withstand before trading the pie tin for pinot and joining the holiday merriment beneath flurries of twinkling lights.

Though, I do think that befitting the occasion, there should be some sort of countdown involved – a wrap-up of the foodie best-in-shows, Holiday Edition 2009. Get those crackers and noisemakers ready…we’re off:

'yule' want to cozy up with a batch asap!

5. Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies – Easily my new favorite and the coveted prize of any cookie exchange. Hershey’s dark chocolate and peppermint-white kisses make these as festive as they are delicious. Also solves the dilemma of leftover candy canes – crush and sprinkle on top for added crunch. Using store-bought sugar cookie dough, it just doesn’t get any easier. Special thanks to The Recipe Girl for this gem.

4. Peet’s Coffee – The warm cranberry-walnut scones, pillowy milk froth, dark kenyan roast and a slow-down-&-sip soundtrack is a California morning staple. And what little tree could be properly trimmed without a Peet’s Coffee & Tea Christmas ornament? Love and latte for all.

Flickr photo courtesy of David Lebovitz (daveleb)

3. Christmas Stollen –  Our lovely friend Inge is kind enough to bake up and share her delicious traditional German stollen each year, and it’s quickly become a personal favorite. Forget the doorstop-double fruitcake jokes; this treat is light and crumbly, with sugary icing and an addictive balance of fruit and spice. Orange and green citron add holiday zest. Toasted with a smidge of butter, stollen will disappear faster than you can say “Dankeschön.”

2. Dundee Marmalade – Once confined to a permanent shelf life, my newest flavorite would not have been discovered without the former entry, perfectly paired as they are. I never cared for the orange jelly stuff, but the bits of real candied orange peel make James Keiller & Sons marmalade perfectly sweet while still a bit tart – not overpowering or gummy in the least. It seems the UK company knows they’re doing something right, too, since the spread has been around since 1797. Bonus points for the elegant, white porcelain jar that makes tea time that much more refined.

1.  A New Year’s Eve dinner affair to remember – What better way to ring in 2010 than with good friends, good food and a very good rose from Moet & Chardon? On the menu: shrimp arrabiata pasta, warm spinach salad with gorgonzola, bruschetta trio, vino and a little (okay, make that a lot of) bubbly. 2010, you’re looking good so far… (pictures to come soon!)

So cheers, everyone, to a bright New Year chock-full of tasties ahead!

~ Cin Cin from the grego girl