Christmas, take deux

5 Jan

It has been years since the idea of celebrating Christmas with a significant other has crossed my mind.   Aside from the past two years, during which I was single as hell, the “holiday situation” with my ex and our families was simple; being from different religious backgrounds, it was a no-brainer – his parents got Thanksgiving and mine got Christmas.  Easy, drama-free, no discussion required.

It makes sense then that I was caught off guard when, a few nights before heading to Buffalo to spend Christmas with my family, the Chef suggested celebrating a “belated Christmas” when I got back.  I paused for only a moment, processing the idea, as he continued “…sleep in, brunch, cocktails, Christmas movies, gifts…”  And then he went in for the kill: “…and I can make dinner.”

Um, YES.

As is generally the rule on the rare occasion we can actually pull off a day like this, he would cook and I was on cocktail duty.  Wait, cocktail and breakfast duty.  Yikes.  Make breakfast for a man who cooks for a living?  No pressure!  I managed to pull together a pretty okay ham, zucchini, gruyere frittata (check out the next pinned it Tuesday post!) although my burnt thumb –which spent the rest of the day blistering – might disagree.  Not that it got in the way of cocktails of course…

xmas cocktail

Poinsettia Cocktail

1/2 oz orange liqueur (Grand Marnier, Cointreau, Triple Sec)
3 oz cranberry juice, chilled
orange twist
champagne, chilled

(I’m also a fan of this drink with vodka!)

The first holiday movie on our agenda was A Christmas Story…and because it’s us, of course there was a drinking game to go along with it!

Drink when:

– The Red Ryder BB gun is mentioned
– Someone warns, “You’ll shoot your eye out!”
– There’s a voiceover
– Randy whines or cries
– Ralphie listens to the Orphan Annie show
– Mom serves food
– The leg lamp is shown
– Flint is teased or picked on
– Bonus for the next time we play: Anytime Ralphie daydreams

Slightly buzzed from the movie, and after an um, “nap”, we eventually set up camp in the kitchen, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and How the Grinch Stole Christmas playing from the other room.  I decorated a gingerbread house (read: made a frosting-laden mess) and attempted to stay out of the way.  He went about dinner (beef wellington with mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy!), barely making his presence known in my tiny kitchen, and showing no sign of annoyance when I repeatedly asked “What’s that?  What are you doing?  Why are you doing that?”  I mean, you be the judge but I think we’re both to be commended in our own right:

beef wellington

gingerbread house

With the day slowly winding down, we poured another round of post-dinner-and-gifts drinks and crawled into bed for my favorite holiday movie, It’s a Wonderful Life…and of course, there was a drinking game:

wonderful life

Drink when:

– Someone says “Bedford Falls” or “George Bailey”
– Jimmy Stewart yells someone’s name unnecessarily (‘MARY!,”  “CLARENCE!,” “HARRY!”)
– Any character mentions wings
– Anytime a bell rings
– Someone says “Hot dog!”
– Music is actively used in the film – played, danced to, or sung
– Someone in the “world without George Bailey” is unbelievably horrible/mean

And finally, would it be a holiday celebration, belated and all, without spiked egg nog?!

egg nog

Cooked Egg Nog

3 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cinnamon stick
generous pinch of ground clove
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup rum – optional (I used brandy)
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions: Over low heat combine milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, cinnamon stick and clove in a medium saucepan. Rise the heat slowly and bring to a slow boil (it takes about 7 minutes to bring to a boil.) Once the milk mixture starts to boil take off heat and let the cinnamon stick seep for 2 minutes, remove cinnamon stick.  In the bowl of a standing mixer combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until pale and fluffy. With the mixer on low, pour the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks (tempering the yolks) whisk until well incorporated. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat on med/med-low for about 5 minutes, continually stirring, until thickened and creamy.  Do not let it boil, or the nog will curdle.  Stir in the rum, heavy cream and nutmeg and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

(original recipe here)

One Response to “Christmas, take deux”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pinned it Tuesday: ham, zucchini, and gruyere frittata « Unwedded Bliss - February 6, 2013

    […] promised, here’s the recipe from my “Christmas, take deux” brunch […]

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