This holiday season absolutely flew by. I traveled most of December for work and while I loved seeing other cities dressed up for Christmas, I missed a bit of the cheer in my own backyard!
Nevertheless, I still managed to bake a bit, cook a bit, party it up a bit, and eat and drink a bit.
Here are some Snickie holiday highlight:
I am slowly amassing some holiday decorations for the Snickie-pad. Last year I started down a silver and gold themed path. I did not add much to the collection this year. However, what I do have lends a simple festive look to my little apartment.
My ‘cooking’ during this holiday season consisted of cookies and appetizers. Here are some recipes I tried out.
Sugar Cookies – old faithful. However, my dough was very dry to the point of almost being crumbly this year. I added some milk and moved on and they seemed to taste good in the end.
Ginger Spice Cookies – spicy. I love these cookies. Once again though, they seemed to flatten out dramatically on me. Hmmm. I am beginning to think my knock-off Silpat is the culprit.
Pine Bark – addicting. I also used my ‘Silpat’ with this recipe and I had issues with the bark never really firming up. It was still tasty and crunchy.
Puppy Chow – again, addicting. This one turned out just right. Can’t really mess this up.
Hot Crab Dip – tasty enough. This creamy dip was eaten up at the events I took it too. However, the addition of the hot sauce had it tasting a little too close to its buffalo chicken dip cousin, if you ask me. I may tone down the hot sauce if I made this again.
Kielbasa Bites – I made this dish for a holiday work pot-luck event. Kielbasa just generally isn’t my favorite, but I wanted to bring something different. I liked the spicy, sweet and sour notes of the sauce.
I usually would cook a bit more during the holidays, particularly cookies and other items to take to parties. However, with this year being particularly busy, I often relied on a bottle of wine or champagne instead. This worked pretty well – you rarely can go wrong with booze.
Soooo many social events were packed in to the month of December. I attended three parties at the homes of friends. Highlights were cranberry champagne cocktails, home-made pad thai, intense aged scotch, a tasty cappuccino punch, and certainly the company of beloved friends.
I also attended a baby shower during the holiday season. Being so close to the heavy eating of the holidays, the hostess opted for a ‘make your own salad’ spread. It was perfectly light and refreshing. This was a great idea for a shower.
I made it to a Pens game too!
And of course I visited some Pittsburgh restaurants during the holiday season:
Nakama – A trip to Nakama was in order to celebrate a belated birthday. Nakama is a wildly popular hibachi and sushi joint on Carson Street. Our table had a massive amount of food. While Nakama isn’t my favorite spot in the Southside, it is definitely a fun place. I suppose I am just not wowed by the large portions of so-so food. However, although some knock their sushi, I really think it is decent. You could certainly do worse.
Paris 66 Bistro – I ended up at Paris 66 (6018 Centre) a few days before Christmas. I am not sure this visit made me want to rush back. I had the ‘La Marais’ crepe and found the salad portion overwhelming and the dressing odd. Additionally, it was 80 degrees (we could see the thermostat) in the restaurant. While I greatly appreciated the warmth (it was freezing outside that night) this was a bit much. Most of group had sweaters on and were melting. The waitress was a bit aloof. I am not totally sold on this place yet. (see my previous visit here).
Snickie Christmas – Foodie Style:
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day went by in a total flash. Christmas Eve started with early morning homemade Italian donuts at the The Boy’s grandparents’ house. Amazing. From there, The Boy and I dashed to his father’s house for more family time, complete with mimosas. After a short reprieve and mass, it was back to the grandparents’ house for the feast of the seven fishes. They end up with more than seven types of fish – this meal truly is a feast. I had pasta with anchovies, smelts, oysters, shrimp, lobster, crab, scallops, and tuna stuffed calamari. Everything was divine. The work that goes in to this meal is mind-blowing.
After this gorge, The Boy and I got back in the car to head to my family’s Christmas Eve celebration. While I did not eat much here, there was a spread of ham, cheesy potatoes, peel and eat shrimp, cookies, etc. Whew.
Christmas morning brought more mimosas at my parents’ house. Then it was off to my grandparents’ house for more family time. The spread there was brunch/lunch like. I couldn’t resist the old Pittsburgh favorites – I had my share of buffalo chicken dip and crab dip. More shrimp was consumed.
And finally, the home stretch! Christmas dinner was had at The Boy’s house. We had stuffed veal breast, homemade apple sauce, green beans, rolls, and a custard napoleon for dessert. I also had a lovely Barolo during this meal.
Of course, all these amazing meals were shared with lovely family. I felt very grateful to be so blessed this holiday season.
Apparently word has gotten around that I like this food and cooking stuff. I got a ton of food-centric gifts! Thank you fam! I got a slow cooker, a new blender like contraption (supposed to be amazing for smoothies!), a waffle iron, wine and limoncello, and some various spices. Can’t wait to put all these to good use.
And then, the day after Christmas, I went to Costa Rica! Stay tuned for the recap!