my valentine.

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Friends, what a pleasure to have my ode to love posted over on the Marion House Book today!

This is my third post for Emma (see the first here, and the second here) and I’m honoured and inspired every time I have a chance to share that space – especially when the charming and highly talented Kristin Sjaarda is involved, which she was in this case.

While you are perusing Emma’s beautiful blog, I’ll be here, making these waffles for my house full of sweeties, drinking hot tea, and waiting for the appropriate moment to dive into a pile of luscious sugar cookies from our local bakery (now? What about now?).

And wishing you a day filled with love.

 

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on the first day.

I have attempted several times to write about our holidays thus far, and each time it’s been a struggle to express the balance of joy and relief and heart-filling happiness and exhaustion – and also the sense that memories are being made every second, and the need to document them while still being fully present in the moment – that is Christmas time with young children.

It’s been wonderful, and zany, and at points overwhelmingly emotional.

We have missed family, and shed tears for lost loved ones. We have ached for friends who are enveloped in grief.

We have celebrated our good health and our good life and our great good fortune, to have all that we do.

And today – blessed first of January! – we cracked into a brand new year.

 

I got out first thing, before it started to rain, and when I got home we drank the last of the bubbly and said a fond farewell to our Christmas tree.

 

 

 

And we ate an enormous breakfast, which we all enjoyed…

 

 

 

…very much.

 

 

And then there was dancing.

 


Happy New Year, friends!

 

Giant Baked Blueberry Pancake for Auspicious Beginnings

4 eggs

3/4c whole milk

3/4c light spelt (or all purpose) flour

1 tbsp plus 1/4c granulated sugar

1/4c (packed) dark brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4c soft unsalted butter

scant 3/4c frozen blueberries

 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs and milk together, then add flour and 1 tbsp granulated sugar. Whisk to combine (batter will be slightly lumpy). In a small bowl, stir together remaining granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside.

Heat 2 tbsp butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Pour batter into pan and scatter blueberries over top.

Bake 8-10 minutes, until edges of pancake are puffed and golden but centre is still slightly runny. Remove from oven, and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Dot with remaining 2 tbsp butter, and carefully turn the pancake over in the pan. Return pan to oven and cook a further 3-5 minutes, until pancake is risen and golden and sugar has turned to syrup.

Remove from oven and invert pancake onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Serves 2-4.


tried and true.


Have you decided what you are cooking for Christmas dinner?

If you haven’t, might I recommend this ham?

I really can’t say enough good things about it, so I will leave it at this:

It’s perfect.

I made it for our Christmas dinner last year, and it was so good that I made it again this past Easter. I would have been quite happy to make it again for Thanksgiving, had my husband not observed mildly, “You know, I don’t actually LOVE ham.”

A shocking statement, to be sure, but I rallied in October and made a luscious leg of lamb instead.

I had grand plans for a different sort of beast this Christmas as well (crown roast of pork? Filet de boeuf?), because we are having some extra special guests and I do still sometimes, albeit very occasionally, feel the urge to put my hard-earned flashy cooking skills to good use and make something complicated and impressive for a festive occasion.

But as the big day draws alarmingly near, and I continue to hobble through my days encumbered by crutches and a cast (funny story…), this tried-and-true and utterly delectable ham is starting to look like the winner.

I am thinking of this for one of my sides, and my daughter, who has lately become a bit of a francophile thanks to her infatuation with the Madeline stories, has requested buche de noel for dessert.

But that’s as far as I’ve got. I am stymied, as ever, by vegetables. I feel I need at least two to make this dinner into a veritable feast.

What about you? What will you be eating for the big day, and (equally importantly) the manic week that precedes it? Any snappy sides to recommend?

Do tell!

Thyme and Honey Glazed Ham
from Gourmet, April 2009

I use a ham about half this size, and reduce the cooking time roughly by half as well. Other than that, I follow the recipe to the letter (can you believe it?)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped thyme
1 (12-to 14-pounds) boneless or semiboneless fully cooked ham at room temperature 1 hour
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup mild honey
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Melt butter with thyme and let stand until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in lower third.

Peel off and discard any rind or skin from ham, leaving 1/4 inch of fat on ham. Score fat on top of ham in a crosshatch pattern without cutting into meat. Put ham on a rack in a large roasting pan. Cover ham with parchment paper, then cover roasting pan with foil. Bake 1 3/4 hours.

Meanwhile, boil vinegar in a small saucepan until reduced to about 1 tablespoon. Remove from heat and whisk in honey, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme butter. Let honey glaze stand until ham has baked 1 3/4 hours.

Discard foil and parchment from ham. If there is no liquid in roasting pan, add 1 cup water (liquid will prevent glaze from burning in pan). Brush ham with half of honey glaze, then bake, uncovered, 30 minutes.

Brush with remaining glaze and bake until glaze is deep golden-brown and ham is heated through, about 30 minutes more.