I’m running a little behind with a Christmas post due to some technical difficulties, but thanks to free wireless at Target, I can squeeze in a Christmas post just hours before the new year. We spent the holidays in Milwaukee this year, but the festivities actually started on the Thursday before Christmas when Matt’s sister flew in to Minneapolis from LA. We headed straight from the airport to Everest on Grand to warm up her California blood with Nepali/Tibetan/Indian food (you can’t get more Minnesota than that, right?). We all worked on Friday and then, rather that driving in the dark to Wisconsin in the aftermath of a blizzard, we stayed home and made pizzas.
We rolled into the Milwaukee suburbs late on Saturday afternoon and went to dinner at a neighborhood restaurant called ParkSide 23. They claim to be the only restaurant in Wisconsin with an on-site farm, but with Madison nearby, I find that hard to believe. The beet salad and the creamed corn (the recipe is online!) that we had as appetizers were the highlights for me, and Matt’s short rib and his sister’s duck entrées were both better choices than my pork chop, which was surrounded by an array of very sweet accompaniments (not bad, just too much sweet and too little savory).
After settling in and flipping through a few cooking magazines that I’d brought along, we had the menus set for the rest of our meals. On Sunday night the three of us kids joined forces to make oven-roasted tilapia with bok choy, cilantro and lime, perfect brown rice, and an arugula salad. It was a great, relatively light meal in preparation for the feast that we had planned for the following night as well as a reminder that I need to cook more fish.
Our Christmas Eve dinner was the food highlight of the week. Matt was in charge of the beef tenderloin, and the two of us girls made a winter greens gratin, roasted brussels sprouts and mushroom risotto. I came prepared to make baguettes, but something went wrong along the way to make the dough nearly impossible to work with, and it resulted in a pancake of bread that was definitely edible but far from the crusty, airy baguettes that I was going for.
On Christmas day we headed north to Matt’s grandma’s house, and during our pre-dinner snack time I had my first taste of pickled herring. I’m not running out to buy a jar, but it wasn’t too bad doused in a blanket of hot sauce. After we’d had our fill of herring and hummus, we started in on the Old Fashioneds, I made a caeser-like kale salad to go with our Italian entrées, and we toasted a bunch of bagel pieces to stand in for the baguettes that were not to be. Weird bread is better than no bread.
Bratwurst, sauerkraut and roasted red pepper pizza
Blizzard-beaten trees between Madison and Milwaukee
Arugula, leek, pomegranate, pistachio, and parmesan salad
Tilapia, bok choy, scallions, cilantro, lime, soy, etc.
The big picture
Christmas Eve dinner. I was too anxious to eat to worry about finding good lighting.
Wine and Trivial Pursuit by the fire. Happiness.
Christmas breakfast. Can you guess which plate is mine? I like a little pancake with my pomegranate.
Christmas dinner bagels.
We made one last stop before dropping off Matt’s sister at the airport: Brasa. The idea of a light meal before getting on the plane home went out the window when we ordered fried yuca, creamed spinach, masa cakes and fried catfish, but at least her trip ended on a warm, comforting note.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!