11 January 2011
YIKES!!! Has it really been almost two months since my last post? The holidays are busy for everyone, particularly me. Us service industry folks don't get a lot of rest around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. Compounding the busy season with the worst case of the flu/bronchitis/sinusitis (one for each holiday) that I have ever had, well, there wasn't much writing to be done.
Alas, the holidays are over, The Kid is back in school, and my normal work schedule is back on track. More time during the weekdays means I can get back to writing about what I cook. I have some fun things planned for this year that should make Punk Chef a little more exciting and useful. This is due to the fact that The Kid received a small but effective video camera from his Grandma. The Kid has graciously given me permission to use said device for doing some video blogging. This could get interesting.
But today let's talk about the recently passed holidays. I'll pass over Thanksgiving because I was sick, sick, sick. I managed to crawl out of bed for about 2 hours and meet my family at a nice restaurant. It was very pleasant and, perhaps most importantly, easy. No huge cooking production or clean up; just a good meal with family. I have no pictures but the sous vide turkey breast and confit of dark meat was quite tasty. The dinner was had at The Carillon. Chef Josh Watkins is a friend of mine and let me tell you, homeboy can cook. He laid out quite a spread. If you are in the ATX area go and visit him.
Next up was Christmas Eve. We always do Mexican food for Christmas Eve. Tamales, of course, are on the menu. This year The Missus made a wonderful cilantro/poblano pepper pesto. With this we made some chalupas with shrimp and cheese. I whipped up a batch of guacamole. The Kid had black bean, cheese, and avocado chalupas.
After dinner we had to make cookies for St. Nicholas.
St. Nick was very happy:
We kept Christmas simple this year (last year?), too. The three of us just stayed home all day. We had the in-laws over for breakfast and then it was just The Missus, The Kid, and Mr. Cheffy Pants for the rest of the day. We had a nice breakfast, snacked all day, and then had a nice dinner.
Breakfast was good. Traditionally, we make some kind of breakfast bread like French toast or pancakes.
Nutmeg Pancakes with Maple Syrup
Apple Wood Smoked Bacon
Charles Dickens Sausage from Kocurek Charcutetrie
The sausage was so very, very good. It had seasonal spices of nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and clove; very Victorian. Yes, yes, I know that my profile states that I don't eat meat unless I kill it myself. I made an exception for the holidays this year. And since I have adhered to my rule for two solid years I decided to reach out a little bit and enjoy some of the offerings from local artisans like the Lawrence and Lee Ann Kocurek. Be sure and check them out at the local farmer's market.
I certainly owe some of the success of our Christmas dinner to Boggy Creek Farms. I've been working out a post on them for a while now (I want it to be really good) as they are, in my opinion, the best farmer's market in town. I've been going to them sporadically for years. Carol Ann Sayle is one of the prime movers of this wonderful farm in east Austin. They have glorious produce, eggs, and even some local artisan products that they bring in from other craftsfolks (I think I just made up a word; please don't kill me, Mom). Anyway, the menu, with veggies from BCF:
Lamb London Broil with Chantrelle/Bonarda Demi-Glace
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes (made by The Missus, because she loves them)
Braised Orange and Purple Haze Carrots
Braised Baby Swiss Chard, Radicchio, and Broccoli Greens
Sister Schubert's Parker House Rolls (shhh...)
Dessert was a nice, little Chocolate Truffle Fudge Bar:
It was nice to have things so simple. Part of me feels like I rediscovered Christmas this past year. I used to get so excited about the holidays. I never minded the traffic or crowds. I didn't mind waiting in line. I always enjoyed just looking at all the decorations, smelling and tasting the wonderful food from various restaurants and bakeries, getting hot drinks when it would get cold. Somewhere along the way I got lost from all that. Part of it may have been adjusting to parenthood. Part of it may have been just getting older. But life is too short to worry about parking places, lines, traffic, and the senseless demands for the hot new presents. I think that The Kid was monumental in my awakening this (last?) year. I got to watch him, as always, get super excited about Christmas. Maybe I started to see a little of my old self in him. Maybe he has helped me to find my inner child and know that it is okay to let it shine. Whatever the reason I'm glad that we stayed home and kept some past traditions alive, maybe started some new ones. It was a good Christmas. Especially since I got to spent the day with The Kid doing this(yes, those are Lego's...all 531 pieces):
By they end of Christmas Day it was all assembled. Everyone was tired and happy.
By the time New Year's Day rolls around everyone is wiped out. What does one do for food? There is the rare occasion when the new year must be rung in with a group of friends and much food. Keeping in line with the Simple mantra this year we did just that: kept it simple. A nice arugula salad (greens compliments BCF) with apples, walnuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and EVOO and some little Shepherd's Pies made with left over (way left over) buttermilk mashed potatoes. The Missus took some of the potatoes and sautéed them in LOTS of butter to make some quite delightful cakes of some sort. Brown food tastes good.
No recipe today. Sorry. On the bright side, most of this stuff can be reproduced with minimal thought. Have a great year, everyone. Thanks for reading. Now let's get cooking!
Posted by Punkchef at 6:21 AM