Merry Catmas!

The cats had a fun holiday, too! Grandma brought them a each an amazing toy – the Kickaroo – that they all adored.

Millie and Josephine played with their Kickaroos until they were stoned out of their little cat minds – Arthur and Mr. Darcy gave them a cursory sniff, but were less enthused long-term.

Arthur was all tuckered out from being bad.

Christmas brunch!

I’m posting out of order now, but it’s my blog and I can do what I like. 😉 We didn’t have quite our usual spread for brunch on Christmas morning, but our weekend was still pretty rushed since I only had an extra day off, but I think we still managed to pull together an acceptable brunch. We had Eggnog Pancakes With Orange-Cranberry Sauce:

Grandma saved the day here – I forgot to buy enough fresh cranberries, so we used a can of whole-berry cranberry sauce instead and it worked perfectly fine, though I let it reduce down a bit too far and it got kind of thick – more of a spread than a syrup really. But it was still tasty! Also, I have to note that I let Mom do the cooking of the pancakes and I feel she cooked them on a higher heat than I would have chosen (i.e., she totally burned them). We also had Mexican Baked Eggs With Black Beans, Tomatoes, Green Chiles, and Cilantro which were really, really tasty! But the recipe’s author wasn’t kidding when she said that the baked eggs take longer when you’re doing them in one large casserole dish instead of individuals…

And we also had rumballs. I didn’t really intend them to be part of breakfast, but I’d made them and we brought them out anyway.

I’ve made rumballs before and these just weren’t very flavorful. I definitely should have added more rum, but I felt like the chocolate flavor got lost, too, and they just ended up being kind of bland. Disappointing! And last but not least, especially alcohol content-wise, I made Trinidad Punch. It’s basically chocolate milk made with coconut milk and then with a lot of rum added. I decided to serve it cold since the recipe said it was good either way, but I think the coconut milk started to separate and solidify a bit. It was tasty, though, and I’d try it again as a warm drink.

Christmas Dinner Part 2: Electric Boogaloo

Oof, it’s been a busy week and took me a long time to get the rest of our Christmas dinner written up, but now that we’re all settled in front of the Rose Bowl and I don’t really care too much about it, I thought I would finally sit down and not keep you all in suspense any longer! 😉

We had my first grand failure in quite some time, a Ricotta and Eggplant Tart With Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes:

It was…not good. At first I thought it just wouldn’t look pretty, but it did not taste nice. At all. I tried a bit of it and promptly spat it back out again. It was just bland and had a weird texture, the spelt crust was tasteless (and a weird recipe that I ended up making twice) and it being served cold didn’t help either. Now, I’m entirely willing to admit that I may have done something wrong here – the recipe was given in weights and my mom doesn’t have a kitchen scale (except that she does – we just didn’t know it at the time), so there was lots of converting between weight and volume going on which never really works well. My mom made a roast from a recipe she found in the local newspaper which she and my dad thoroughly enjoyed, particularly the sauce. The biggest hit of the night was the Horseradish Mashed Potatoes.

Which were amazing. They’re definitely going to give Michael Chiarello’s Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes a run for their money next Thanksgiving. Next up was Green Beans With Leeks, Lemon, and Feta which was very tasty:

And dessert was the other success of the holiday, a Cranberry White Chocolate Lime Tart:

It’s very nice – not super-sweet, there’s only a thin layer of the white chocolate and it’s cut by the tartness of the lime curd and filled out with a cranberry topping that’s sweet and tart. It’s holiday colors and entirely yummy – what more could you ask for!

Overall, though, I was a little disappointed in my recipe choices – everything was edible (with the exception of that horrible tart), but only the potatoes and the tart were things that I’d want to eat again.