The palm trees are bearing fruit, the macaws are squawking in the jungle, and there is a smell of the ocean on the breeze.
Oh, and tacky crap is hanging in stores from every possible window, shelf, wall, and precipice.
In our house, we are slowly shaping it up to look half-way presentable for the Big Guy. The girls – Cara, Caia, and Megan – decorated the tree (that we bought on Sunday morning … a week before Christmas … in the Caribbean … for $7.25 … Charlie Brown, anyone?) while Rene and I chatted with Rene’s parents after a meal prepared by yours truly.
And I only lost my cool once.
(Okay: twice. Toddlers and gas ranges make me edgy, what can I say? Plus the dogs are running around, bumping into everyone, trying to get at the chicken … And Megan made the cookies. Shut up.)
On the menu: Roasted Chicken, Roasted Potatoes and Tomatoes with a Honey Cinnamon Glaze, Asparagus in a White Wine Butter Sauce, White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies, Gingerbread Cookies with Lemon Icing
This was a dry run for Christmas dinner. Since we have a larger kitchen, it was decided (by Megan and I) that for everyone’s sanity (and safety, lest our knives find your legs and biceps for traipsing through our kitchen yet again to ask if you can help when all we’ve asked if for you to not walk into the kitchen! Seriously! It’s like, ten hours of cooking! Get the fuck out of here!) Christmas dinner would be prepared at our house this year. So, I made the chicken as if it were a magnificent bird deserving of only the tenderest of care.
The chicken was dusted with cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and stuffed with cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Potatoes lined the roasting tray and it was in the oven at 200 degrees for about two hours.
The potatoes and tomatoes were given the same treatment but with a drizzle of honey and a about five knobs of butter thrown in to soften the acidity of the tomatoes.
In hindsight, the white we chose this week would have gone better with dinner, but we were really excited about the red, so we started with that instead.
Wine: Don Manuel Viallasañe, Keltehue, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, 2011, (Price Unknown)
Rating: One Bottle
Blueberries and cloves play on the palette in this wine (with a really classy label). We hung onto this bottle for a couple of weeks (which is why we cannot remember the price) because the label told us it was going to taste great. It was okay. Kind of forgettable, really.
With some time and some air, this wine came around. Also, the subtler flavours of blueberries and cloves complimented the fare nicely, so all was not lost. We just weren’t that taken with it, is all.
We took a breather and decorated the tree and talked about the coming week and what a crazy couple of months it’s been and how nobody has really started their Christmas shopping yet and how nobody really wants anything this year anyway, and it’s really just about Caia and what presents we all get for her, but seriously, everybody needs something to open Christmas morning, so it was basically a lot of posturing by everyone because who isn’t going to buy anybody nothing at all anyway? Then, the baby in bed, and the night winding down, we opened the second bottle and sat outside and planned for the holiday feasts coming.
Wine: Graffigna, Centenario, Pinot Grigio, Reserve, San Juan, Argentina, 2010, $179 MXN
Rating: Two Bottles
This was a lovely little Grigio and highly recommended by us for anyone who likes this varietal. Chewy and very fruity, it carries itself well, staying away from the more citrusy Pinot Grigios we’ve tried in the paste, and instead favouring mango and peachy flavours. The sweetness is tempered nicely with a tangy finish that leaves your mouth feeling zingy and not cloudy, as some sweet wines do.
Even though we may have enjoyed the Malbec from earlier more had we switched up the order of the two, sitting outside with the warm breeze and the night sounds, this wine fit the mood perfectly.
This next week is going to be a bit chaotic and we probably won’t get away with just one post, so look out for a few days of Christmas posts coming your way this weekend.
Also, I have three days off this week, which is almost unheard of, so there will be more time for us in the kitchen.