On Sunday I was going to do a post about chocolate…..
But it took me forever to get the house clean….
Then I decorated for Christmas – for the first time since we moved house in 2008…
And there you have it! Time disappeared as usual.
When I started putting up the tree I kept thinking what a silly thing it is to set-up a pine tree in the middle of the house and hang baubles on it.
Then I started unpacking all the 'baubles' and took a very long, meandering walk down memory lane.
I, like so many people, collect Christmas ornaments. Some I've bought when traveling; some I've received as gifts. Some are from the original boxes I bought for my first Christmas tree in my first apartment; some are from mon mari's first Christmases.
I've shared these before, but, humor me, let me share again.
The two little bells were on my mother's mother's Christmas tree and are over 100 years old.
The skiing Santa, elf and reindeer were on my mother's Christmas tree when I was a child.
These 2 goose eggs were made by mon mari's Uncle Ed. He made ornaments for every one in the family, every year.
I had a paper route when I was young, back when kids delivered the daily news. The little drummer girl is one of many, many Christmas gifts I receive from my customers.
The ornaments on either side are the first I made, when I was 9 or 10… Out of tin can lids.
Yes, I saved them…..
There is an entire shop in Salzburg, Austria that sells decorated chicken (and duck and goose) eggs. I picked these up on our last visit. The big red one is an old 'L'Eggs' egg. The pantyhose, for those who don't remember, used to come in plastic eggs. Mon mari has had this on his tree forever – it's filled with ornament hooks so they are always handy.
BTW, Salzburg is a truly wonderful city to spend Christmas in – stay in the old town.
No nativity scene is complete in Catalonia, and other areas around the Mediterranean, without a caganer, or 'sh*tter'. There are many theories as to the meaning and they have been around since the 17th century. Originally a peasant in a red cap, now they come in many iterations, including Obama.
My cousin in Florida decorated the starfish and sea urchin shell.
Well, she kind of speaks for herself, doesn't she? Also from Florida.
I bought this candle house the first year we lived in Europe, at a Christmas market in Munich. The Santa candle is one of the first gifts my DS bought on his own.
That's what decorating for Christmas is about: remembering the past, remembering the people, and, then, connecting with the people who are still in the present.
Since I am only cooking for two, when I buy packaged, fresh gnocchi, it's just a bit too much for one meal. I usually take about 1/3 of the package and use it for a starter.
The sauce is based on the classic Puttanesca.
4oz (120gr) fresh gnocchi
2oz (60gr) chorizo, thinly sliced
10 dry-cured Greek Olives, pitted and sliced
2 tbs capers
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup chopped tomato I used yellow tomato from my freezer
4 tsp olive oil
freshly shave Parmesan
Cook gnocchi in rapidly boiling water just until they float. Drain. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in nonstick skillet. Add gnocchi and fry until lightly browned, turning once.
Heat 2 tsp olive oil in another skillet. Add shallot, garlic and sauté until tender. Add chorizo, capers, olives, tomatoes and simmer until sauce reduces and thickens.
To serve: Put gnocchi on two plates, spoon sauce over and top with Parmesan.
We agreed that, while this was wonderful as a first course,the flavors were too, um assertive to have in a larger quantity as a main course.
Each serving had about 10 gnocchi. I used the rest for Venison Stroganoff – recipe to follow.
Next week: Everything you always wanted to know about chocolate but were afraid to ask.