The holiday season has come to a close. Back to work tomorrow after a full 10 days away.
Diligently working right up until the afternoon of Christmas Eve eve, the trip back to Vermont was a long and dark one. Area rental cars had been sold out for at least a month before Christmas, so dad traveled all the way down and back just to pick up the husband and me. Long, straight, and boring 87 lead to small winding VT roads calling for careful maneuvering. At around 11:30 pm, half an hour from home, blue lights began to flash behind us. Buzz cut and drowsy eyed, the police officer bumbled up to our car simply wanting to inform us that our license plate was not illuminated. Of course this friendly notification required license and registration.
Sleeping off work and the drive took a little extra time than usual. The morning of Christmas eve was spent grocery shopping followed by preparing Christmas Day dessert. Chocolate-Malt Stump de Noel from Food & Wine. Talk about a process.
Always start with a clean kitchen. It’s just easier.
Mixing the oh maybe 18 eggs into the cake batter. Must get a fancy industrial blender.
After making two very thin cakes, I frosted them both with homemade malted butter cream frosting, cut them in half, and rolled them into a thick log. There were many cracks and near disasters, but I guess that just made it look more like a log? Right? The final step was to cover the cake with dark chocolate butter cream frosting. Definitely not a healthy choice.
Pre frosting, post rolling.
The final result.
Not perfect but pretty damn good for my first may-juh baking project. We found the extra Christmas tree clippings outside in the snow. Of course, we let them thaw first.
While I was busy cake baking, my mom was making soup. Pumpkin-beer-cheese soup.
I found enough time to make popovers to accompany the Christmas Eve soup.
Christmas morning always comes early, but now that my sister and I are grown-ups, presents have moved from 6 am to 8:30 am. James and I sipped on chocolate mate and ate the apple coffee cake that my mom baked before we ripped into stockings. Our loot: a zoom lens for our Nikon, a tortilla press, a pasta maker, a juicer, a bird feeder, running pants, many books including two cook books which I will debut at a later date, and a bunch more.
Knowing that cake with pounds of butter and dozens of eggs was just sitting in the fridge, waiting to be eaten, James and I decided to go for a quick Christmas run around my home town. I got to test out my new running tights (which I love, thanks Gaelen). Running in my town was interesting. I kept thinking that I was going to see people who I knew as we passed familiar houses and street names. However, the streets were deserted except for one all too friendly man out shoveling his driveway. “Happy Christmas! Quite the morning to be out running, great idea! That’s what I should be doing!” His voice echoed after us as we politely waved and continued struggling up the hill.
Again, the rest of the day was full of cooking.
Working on St. Lucia buns. I used to make these every Christmas when I was a kid.
Waiting for the oven.
Mom made stuffed squash with rice, kale, and red peppers.
And cauliflower casserole.
And dad made mashed potatoes.
There was also a roast, but not on my plate! The table was festively decorated.
My blurry plate (need a tripod).
A finished bun.
The rest of our time in Vermont was spent running, dodging snow storms, cooking more, and visiting friends. Unfortunately no skiing this time, even though I brought all of my gear with me.
We had a great time, but were definitely ready to head back to New York City for New Year’s Eve. Despite the handles falling off both of the back doors of our original rental car, and our second rental car not having snow tires (roads were very bad and icy), we made it back to our apartment on Dec. 30th.
What did you do on NYE?