Christmastime in America - Part 1

Christmastime in America, I spent it in Paris last year.  I've spent 3 Christmases out of 6 in the last 6 years in America.  By the way this is the 700th post on this here blog toot toot!!!!

rented a car from Avis.  Road trip, kind of.  It takes 5 hrs if there is no traffic to drive to our parents house upstate.  We got this pimpin' Ford Focus compact (38 mpg big pimpin!), ate at Cracker Barrel 30 minutes outside of the city in New Jersey, had to wait 20 min to get seated, regretted eating so much, sang christmas songs really loud, and made decent time.  Then our parents had to pick us up at the Corning/Elmira regional airport and drive another hour back to our house because if you drive a rental one way its mostly just between airports and that's the closest airport to our house.

Lots of Rockband and Beatles Rockband.  Our parents love it so much.

White Christmas

Another very challenging French dish, Coq au vin.  This has a total time of 13 hours because the chicken has to be quartered and brined over night.  But man oh man is this delicious!  I will def try to make this again.  Why do we do this?  because there is nothing to do upstate and we can only play rock band so long before our parents go crazy (just kidding they are so tolerant but our kick drum leg will hurt or our thumbs and voices will be sore....just like real musicians!) Bob says I talk like a food arsehole now.  I had to ask the meat guys at our local wegmans for like 4 things and they didn't have any of it or know what I was talking about.  They probably thought I was arsehole.  Here is some speck frying up. 

the quartered and brined overnight chicken.  Had to look up on youtube how to quarter a chicken.  Kids these days.

homemade Gingerbread house prep (not a kit!) using martha stewarts patterns.

Cheese board keeps getting better.  Here we have from left to right in a clockwise motion:  Tarentaise (French), Pecorino Romano (Italy, Lazio), Havarti (Denmark), Camembert (France), Gorgonzola Dulce (Italy), Raclette (France), NY Extra Sharp Cheddar (USA, NY)  BOOM!

Coq au Vin on it's way

christmas cookie decoratin'.  This year's new addition is the Singaporean "Merlion", the symbol of singapore.  I bought it when I was there a while ago.  There are also two competing black santa's, one is far superior to the other.

made mulled wine a few times.  It was a very merry Christmas.

13 hours later here it is and it was DELICIOUS!!!

we got our parents a composter for christmas.  party time

The sculpy christmas decorations my fam made.



a Chibi Totoro and a Kodama, two characters from two separate Miyazaki movies.

My Christmas haul.  Ernest Hemingway's the Sun also Rises, a Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM pancake lens, lens bags, a Sunsniper bear camera tripod screw mount for my camera strap, Neil Gaiman's American Gods, a lens cleaning pen, and some cash.

got a new lens for Christmas!  Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM pancake lens.  Check out how small it is.  hopefully this will encourage me to carry my camera around more

HAHAHAHAHHAA one of the best moments of 2013 was pushing Bob into a ravine full of thorns.  Look at him.  He has no idea of the sheer evil joy on my face or the unfortunate turn is he about to take.

this wasn't the actual run where i pushed him down the embankment of thorns, if i had that photo of course it would be here.

after that we made hot buttered rum and forgot to take photos of it.  We heard Bing Crosby mention it in the movie White Christmas so we vowed to make it the next day.  It's super sweet, its a cup of sugar, cup of brown sugar, probably a stick of butter and a bunch of vanilla ice cream whipped together with shot or more of rum and some hot water.  Its good we just started adding like half of the sweet stuff that it calls for.  It was a very merry Christmas

as if there haven't been enough crafty christmasness going on I volunteered us to make a  bûche de Noël a French traditional yule log cake typically decorated with meringue mushrooms and stuff but I used marzipan instead because there was no way i was gonna make meringue.  This came out pretty well I think.  There is a little Kodama character from Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke movie back there by the pine sprig.  The frosting is dark chocolate with orange extract because we ran out of vanilla.  inside it has coffee butter cream frosting rolled into it.  This cake actually tasted pretty awesome!  Everyone liked it so much they said we should make it a family tradition.  Next year i'm going to try and soak the bottom in rum like the one I had in Paris.

fungal shelf held on with toothpicks

on top of it all it was delicious!

We made gingerbread houses from scratch, not a kit!  Everyone was feeling so in the spirit that we made Christmas village on the table.  Bob and I were amazed how the parents gladly participated in all our excessive christmas activities from molding and baking and painting christmas decorations out of Sculpy to decorating xmas cookies, to making gingerbread houses and decorating them and setting up christmas town, to making dumplings in our dumpling fiesta and then even rolling out dumpling wrappers when we ran out of store bought ones, to decorating the tree and drinking various bottles of wine, hot buttered rum, mulled wine.  Well done with the Christmas cheer this year parents.  My Dad might have even had more than my Mom!

a fresh suet thing for the birds.