Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

We rang in the New Year in style, with eight parents and seven kids under the age of 5, and I counted myself lucky to have friends who love food and cooking as much as I do. I'm sorry to have posted this selection for New Years' noshing the day after, but I didn't know what my friends were bringing. I guess I did provide you with my menu a day in advance...

Besides all the food that I prepared, we also got to enjoy:
Caesar salad devilled eggs (YUM!)
French onion soup stuffed mushrooms (from (EXTRA YUM!)
• Crudites with Miso dip
• Roasted pepper and eggplant dip
• Assorted cheeses
• Hummous and pita
• Homemade chocolate cake (thanks to my hubbie!)
• Assorted Xmas baking and chocolates
• Butter tarts

We had one couple pull out at the last minute, and I think we would have had just about the right amount of food had they come. As it stood, there were a few left over finger foods, and far too much sweet stuff, in spite of the kids' best efforts to eat as much as they could. At the end of the evening, one little three-year-old said, "Mom, I'm still hungry." She said, "What would you like to eat?" He answered, "Hmm, I don't know. Something covered in chocolate?" He had himself a second slice of birthday cake.

Last night I had declared that I would take today "off" and not cook anything. We were planning to go to a New Years' Day open house and I had enough crackers, goat ricotta dip and beet tartare left over from the night before that even if I didn't cook anything else, I wouldn't show up empty handed.

But our plans were foiled by kids once again when Baby G woke up this morning, throwing up. We had an enforced day of rest, mostly sitting under Baby G while he slept. But that meant I had to think up something for dinner time.

I had some leftover empanada filling, and I had saved some whey from my cheese-making efforts because I hate to waste it, and I had read that you can use it in bread dough. So I made whole wheat buns, stuffed with ricotta and mozzarella. They were popular with everyone, including Baby G, who by 6:00 had rallied and ate several bites of a bun and sipped some of the goat's milk.

I am so very grateful for all my friends and family, for their love and generosity, and for the beautiful food they bring to my life. Some examples:
• Last night I found myself mentioning my mom again and again: I used her pastry dough in the butter tarts, she made the gingerbread men that the kids went crazy for, and my go-to birthday cake recipe is her Devil's food chocolate cake. We felt (and tasted) her presence very strongly last night.
• My mom's cousin very generously off-loaded dozens of litres of frozen goat's milk (and she says there is more where that came from), which all my boys drink (in fact, D refers to goat's milk as "boy milk" because only I drink cow's milk in our house. So that is "girl milk"), and which makes up a substantial portion of our grocery bills. The kids (and hubby) love it, and it tastes so fresh that I might even be convinced to start drinking it. It will also provide us cheese and possibly yogurt (more on that after tomorrow) for the next few months.
• My in-laws gifted me with Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal, a cookbook that I am madly in love with (and recently had to return it to the library), as well as a gift certificate to Souleio Foods. There are so many potential (and delicious) ways to spend it!
• Another good friend gifted me with Cook, Eat, Smile, a lovely seasonal cookbook
• "Santa" brought me a cast-iron frying pan, a cut glass beverage dispenser, a beautiful porcelain serving platter and bowl set, and a Le Creuset kettle.
• my neighbour brought us Cat's Claw bush honey from Arizona and some homemade rhubarb chutney.
• my freezer is full of beef, pork, and northern freshwater fish, gifted by my dad, as well as one and a half farm chickens from my mom's cousin and my mother in law.
• another good friend sold me gorgeous lamb for cost, and also brought another pint of honey from bees on her family's land.
• my birthday gift from my husband was a light garden, so I can start growing herbs and microgreens indoors during the cold months! I was so delighted to get dirt under my fingernails, even in winter, when I filled the pots with soil today!

My cup floweth over. And I am thankful.

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