Archive for December, 2009

The weather outside is frightful

That’s the truth.  Unfortunately, Atlanta gets the nasty bitterly cold rainy winter weather, not the fun snowy-pond freezes over weather. But you can pretend with Atlanta’s manufactured skating rinks (let’s just not mention Atlantic Station’s faux snow, please).  Now the Centenntial outdoor rink has been around for awhile, although I find it to be overcrowded and melty/full of puddles.  I recently learned the St. Regis hotel in Buckhead also offers outdoor skating, and, here’s the best part – you can make reservations!   It’s a little on the pricey side but that just means you probably won’t get bratty teenagers bowling you over (let’s just forget the fact I probably was one of those bratty teenagers at one point).

Oh, I’m almost over my holiday angst.  It’s helped I’m not quite so terribly buried at work anymore.  Also, Santaland Diaries was a hoot (there’s my Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle/Grandma vocab again) – do check it out.

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How to make friends with Santa

Start by caramelizing  some thinly sliced Vidalia (or “sweet yellow” onion) in just enough butter and enough salt to get the onions to sweat and lose their water.  Then move onto the polenta with goat cheese*, using 1/2 water and 1/2 milk (I halved the recipe for 2).   Also try some hashed Brussels sprouts (just thinly slice the sprouts after cutting out the core/stem), sautéed in, wait for it…bacon fat.   Yes, bacon fat.  (I usually filter through a paper towel when I’m saving it).   Unless you’re a vegetarian, and then I suppose butter.  And if you’re vegan, olive oil.  But, if you have no dietary restrictions, trust me on the bacon fat.  It’s delicious.  (Although, if I had my druthers, it would be duck fat).

Then, pan-sear a dry-aged rib eye and finish cooking (preferably to rare) in a very low-temp oven.  Sugaring helps get a great crust.  Serve it all together and finish with a nice bottle of red.  Our current $10 favorite is Toasted Head Merlot.   And that, my friends, is how you guarantee Santa will be in your corner this year ; )

* The next morning, heat up any left-over polenta in a skillet.  Serve with an over easy egg on top.  Trust me on this one.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…right?

Is it cliché to say I love/hate the holidays?  Yes?  Will you forgive me if I say it anyway?  I am, if you well, at a crossroads.  Mostly, because I’ve simply been cross lately.  (Cross is such a quaint old word.  Reminds me of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle for some reason.  Am I the only one who read those books as a child?)  As per usual, I’m trying to do too much and am being too hard on myself (I think).  And it’s typically on things that simply don’t matter.  Like, I have these feelings of guilt because I’ve been too busy to put up Christmas decorations, since we’ll be gone for Christmas itself, I want to enjoy them as long as possible.  But it’s only December 3.  It’s not like I’ve missed my deadline, right?  If I have, it’s not like there are dire consequences, like if I miss a deadline at work (another source of constant consternation not fit for this blog). 

I suppose I’ve hit that late twenty-something season of discontent brought on by the holiday rush of madness.  I need to quit trying to be Martha, with her army of crafting elves/slaves.  I need to relax and enjoy the season (despite the recent spate of bitter coldness).  I need to reflect and chill with the obsessive on-line shopping trying to find the “PERFECT” gift that will make the recipient realize the depth of my devotion (because I think that message gets lost, quite honestly.  You mean you *can’t* buy love?  The Beatles were right?)

Grinchy, huh?  Maybe I need to watch that movie to get back into the spirit of things.  I have high hopes of decorating the house tonight.  (But then again, I’ve had those high hopes all week).  I’ve had high hopes of making fresh eggnog (I thought I *hated* eggnog, until I made it from scratch.  With lots of bourbon, which I also used to think I didn’t like.  To my surprise, I now enjoy both, immensely.  But I still cannot abide by store bought nog, gross).  I had high hopes of making adorable ornaments to attach to all my lovely, handmade, local artisan,  eco-friendly gorgeously wrapped presents.   Can we say “get over yourself?” 

The really hilarious thing about all this disappointing embarassing angst (wasn’t that supposed to end after high school?) is that it’s all my doing.  No one else in the entire world gives a damn if I sew tiny bird ornaments or make fresh eggnog and bake fresh gingerbread with homemade royal icing for delicate detail work.   What is with this ridiculous expectations?  Type A personality + Pisces = insanity.   As you know.

So, time to let go.  Not *everything* has to be homemade, socially responsible, local, organic, hip, ironic, cute, quirky, original and PERFECT.  Time to ENJOY the holidays.  I mean, my blog is apparently snowing, dammit (sad that I had to learn that from someone else).  I have many things to be thankful for and shouldn’t let my hysteria get in the way of remembering that. 

I may have had a point at one time, but have clearly lost it (pun intended).  Regardless, as soon as I get my holiday groove back I will have something more interesting for everyone.   Seeing the Santaland Diaries next week should help.  (For 1/2 off ticket prices, no less.  Thanks, Groupon!)  I have an appointment for the kittens to get their pictures taken with Santa (don’t judge).  At a doggie boarding place, no less.  (I cleared it with them, no worries).  I also plan on enjoying small-town holiday cheer this weekend in Blue Ridge.   So, things are looking up and hopefully this temporary holiday-funk with lift.  As to you all, I hope everyone is enjoying the season, regardless of what they choose to celebrate and how, or if not at all.

UPDATE: I saw “Santa” coming out of the bank this afternoon.  Well, Santa in casual wear (large man with Santa-like beard, Santa-themed Hawaiian shirt and Santa hat).  I also picked up a bottle of Frangelico and Bailey’s to warm my spirits.  Thinks are starting to look up!