Christmas often has a way of spiraling out of control in the Stuff To Do category, and I often find myself sacrificing my sleep and sanity to try to pull everything off. This year, I wanted to do things differently, so Greg and sat down with some Brandy Alexanders, and came up with a simple, streamlined menu for a Christmas Eve lunch. (OK, so mostly Greg came up with the menu, and I knit, but who's counting?)
First thing in the morning on Christmas Eve, I put the ham in the oven. It was a Country Style dry-cured ham, which I've never baked before...in case you ever want to do this, make sure you soak it in water first for at least 12 hours. Maybe even 36, changing out the water occasionally to get rid of excess salt. And no, I did not do this. OHMYGOSHTHESALTOVERLOAD. I'm pretty sure that my family is now at our sodium intake quotient for the year. And next year.
I baked it with brown sugar, onions, parsley, cloves and 2 bottles of Shock Top (a beer that's brewed with citrus and spices) poured over the top. The flavor was great, but the intense salinity made it a little difficult to eat much of. Sad, because I am kind of a ham fiend. Well. At least I know what to do next time.
Greg made a big bowl of his famous Smashed Potatoes:
And a delicious, sweet Mango chutney, which went perfectly with our (super salty) ham:
I threw together a fresh green salad with spring greens and cucumber slices, tossed together, loosely following David Lebovitz' formula for French vinegrette.
We invited the family next door, Josh, Alex, and "Pea" to come and eat with us.
The children ate quickly and then went off to amuse themselves. They were so peaceful that we adults had the luxury of lingering long over lunch and visiting.
We finished up with some Espresso Cheesecake Brownies from my favorite baking book.
Just as lunch was over, I happened to glance out the window and saw SNOW! It was in the low 30's, and none of us were dressed for it, but of course we all took a run around the yard to experience the rare gift of snow flurries.
Since we got our main holiday meal out of the way, the rest of of the day was freed up for relaxing, cuddling, and enjoying being together as a family.
After the children went to bed, Greg set the gifts out under the tree.
I love the moments of stillness before Christmas morning...