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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The Pork Boys Do New Year's and Kings' Day

This holiday season just ended has been a most pleasant time for us - despite the usual mad rush of shopping, cooking, cleaning, and all the hassles of making and serving four festive meals in three weeks, somehow things seemed to go more smoothly and easily this year, with a minimum of frustration and exhaustion.  Why this was, I really can't say - perhaps we have finally learned how to do enough without trying to do too much for the holidays.  In any case, it was a blessed time, for which we were very grateful after a year of ups and downs, spills and pills, and all the usual frustrations that come with advancing age.

I should have posted our New Year's dinner last week, but we just relaxed instead, enjoying some peaceful days here in our quiet abode, sleeping late and doing a whole lot of delicious nothing.  And before anyone dares to wag a censorious finger, just stop and think:  if everyone, high and low, all round the globe had spent the last few weeks following our example, would that not have contributed a great deal to world peace?  I believe it was Dr. Johnson who said that most of the evils of the world arise because men are not content to sit peacefully at home beside their own hearth-fires.

Be that as it may, here is a combined summary of our two most recent feasts.

1.  New Year's Day 

Fresh greens - five kinds plus some chopped turnip stems.

Eckridge cheese sausage simmered in bouillon.

Greens + sausage + some culinary wizardry = fabulous Gumbo Z'erbes,
the scrumptious New Orleans dish.

Continued after the jump . . .

Blackeyed peas, of course, with ham hocks.

Luscious baked sweet potatoes, piping hot out of the oven, 
so good split open and slathered with butter.

Jalapeno cornbread muffins made with Velveeta sure are yummy.
By sheer coincidence, we gave each other identical sets of rainbow-colored
muffin cups for Christmas - the gift of the Magi.

New Year's dinner on the table.

Dessert was some gingerbread cake laid on a ring of melted butter 
and a ring of peach brandy sauce - fabulous!
One of M.P.'s best creations ever.

2.  Epiphany

Three kings, three crowns, three candles.

Our new lace tablecloth looked even prettier than we expected.
All the etiquette books say never to lay a lace cloth over a colored one,
but we think that a very nonsensical rule, and ignore it blithely.
Here, the lace overlies a blue-green-gold cloth that matches our plates.

By coincidence, the color of the wine perfectly matched 
the color of the crown jewels.

Crowns, crystal bowls, and candles.

Garlic chicken slowly baked in a white wine sauce is simply superb.

French-onion mashed potatoes, looking like a Van Gogh cloud.  
To serve with french-onion gravy, not pictured here.

Corn and polenta casserole, sweet and tasty.

Deep-fried brussels sprouts - try 'em, you'll love 'em.

The secret to soft, delicious garlic bread is to spread it with mayonnaise first.
Kings' Day dinner on the table.

Instead of a King's Cake this year, M.P.'s Epiphany goal
was to make a truly French Galette des Rois - and he did.
Beautifully.  (The secret's in the sauce.)

Note the snowflake pattern M.P. carved on the top before baking.

If you have never tasted frangipane, you'd better hurry up and find some.
It would be a crying shame to leave this world without ever knowing that delight.

We sat down to dinner about 2 a.m. and after much conversation, mirth, music, 
wine, and food finally rose from the table a little after 8.  It was fun.

We had a good time. Again I send all good wishes to my truckbuddies as we embark on a new year and a new decade in this scary, stormy old world. Peace be with you all.


Davis said...

You do set an elegant table. I only wish I could join you to enjoy those exotic flavors! All good wishes for the new year.

Russ Manley said...

Thanks so much, friend, and all the same to you. I wish I could hand you a plate.

Frank said...

I wrote a lengthy comment a few days ago about how delicious and gay everything looks...but it got lost somewhere between the typing and the clicking...Happy New Year

Russ Manley said...

Same to you, Frank!

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