Christmas time is in full swing around our house, and the neighbour’s, and the many other denizens of these northern climes. We’re all gussied up, our stockings are hung by the chimney (electric fire place) with care, a recipe is in the works for Santa’s evening cookie and nog and presents are beginning to pile up around the base of our locally grown Douglas Fir tree. The lights are strung up outside and around the house and everyone is in full cheer mode. The joyous sounds of carols can be heard from anywhere in the house most times of the day.
This last weekend we headed to the in laws house to merry up their tree (a yearly tradition). Crates full of decorations come out of the coldest parts of the basement, stockings are hung and beer and wine is passed around for the next couple of hours as we untangle last years beads to hang (new time record: one hour standing on a stool next to the tree. Frustration level: stratospheric).
We’ve introduced the little ones to classics such as the original “Grinch”, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”, even the littlest one’s attention was captured for a fleeting moment. Enough to snap this photo anyway…maybe it was the snacks.
Sometimes I feel like I am struggling with the ways in which we teach our children the other parts of Christmas (the parts that aren’t related to a mythic man with a white beard and gifts under the tree). But after we asked our son to write a letter to Santa, I rested a little easier. Of course he asked for his own presents, but he also included his sister in his letter. Such a beautiful soul he is. I hope I can continue to make his future bright, though I often have my own inner battle with how and what we do with him each day. Is this not the curse each one of us mother’s face every day? Are we doing it right? Will I F^&$ the whole thing right up? When I yelled three times in the last hour did I completely destroy his self esteem? It’s enough to drive one to drink…
I recently took work at a local catering company, somewhere I used to work eight or nine years ago (holy!) and have been making an evening trek there about three nights week. It’s a great retreat for me to be back in a commercial kitchen, ripping it up with the other chefs ( in our clogs! Holla!) and working with foods I can only dream about at home. It’s also a bit of a break from the kids and a chance to get out of the house and do something for myself. There’s also this beautiful light every night taunting me as I drive straight into it. I’ve had to stop a couple of times to snap a photo out the window.
Me. In my whites. In the cooler.
There’s been a lot of beer being drunk in this house over the past few weeks. We like to call it “research”. Look forward to a weekly article by Adrian on beers and what to pair with them. We’re pretty excited to offer this new section of Guilty Kitchen and I hope you will be as well. While we will try to be as international as possible, there will definitely be a spotlight on our local craft brews. There is quite a scene here and we would really like to showcase that.
Speaking of beer, what pairs really well with a nice deep, dark, smoky stout on a chilly winter’s night? How about a steaming hot bowl of paneer, spinach and beet greens mixed with only the best and tastiest of spices? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
One year ago: How to Make Whole Wheat Bread (no machine)
Two years ago: How to Make Perfect Popcorn
Yield: 4 side servings or 2 entree sized
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
3/4 lb. fresh spinach
3/4 lb. Swiss Chard, beet greens or kale
8 oz paneer, cut into small cubes (bite sized)
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 1/2 tbsp garlic (about 8 large cloves), minced or grated
1 1/2 cups pureed tomatoes (in winter, we use no salt added glass jars)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp coriander
1 tsp ground fenugreek
cayenne (a pinch to 1 tsp depending on how spicy you like it)
1. Wash, rinse and drain the greens. Chop into large pieces (about 1/2 an inch).
2. Heat the oil in a large deep pot or a heavy bottomed saucepan that has a fitted lid. Wait until it starts to sizzle a bit, then add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds to one minute. Enough to brown it, but not enough to crisp it up.
3. Stir in the tomatoes. Then add all the spices and salt. Sauté for about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the greens and paneer and mix it up well. Cover and cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, making sure the greens are well wilted and everything is coated with the masala.
4. Serve immediately by itself for a quick and lazy dinner or serve it with a lentil dish for a great vegetarian dinner.
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