December 5, 2004

The Day After Christmas

In my family, we don't normally do Christmas gifts, except for the very young and the very old. But my 9-year old niece, for whom I got an Easy Bake Real Meal oven and who received a gentle warning that this may be one of the last Christmas gifts from me, (I know, aren’t I terrible?), was so excited about giving me a present that she had her mom buy me a crème brûlée set from William-Sonoma. She must have seen me drool over the store’s catalogue and its’ over-priced goodies

So we spent some of the day after Christmas in the kitchen. M made pizza with handmade pizza dough. Being a native New Yorker, he prefers the thin crust to our delight. We put on it tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, anchovies and spring greens with arugula. He also made a cheese pizza for the anchovy-challenged among us. The pizza dough is simple to make but it takes an hour to rise.

And a cozy, winter night would not be complete without roasted chestnuts, M’s favorite. At $6.99 a pound at Bristol Farms, however, it’s a small fortune and I had to stop him from buying more than 2 pounds. He cuts a small slit in the middle of the chestnuts and puts them in the oven at 400F for 45 minutes. When they are taken out of the oven, short of burning your fingers, they are quite easy to peel. Lauren loves to peel and less to eat them, so she’s a great chestnut companion to M.

And dessert. We had some trouble getting the flame to work on the torch so the crème brûlée was eaten without the burnt sugar crust. It was still sweet, creamy and fragrant. What more can you ask for?

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