Still here

I hope everyone had a great couple of holidays.  Ours was pretty low-key, which after the past year was quite nice.

For New Years’ we’ve made it a tradition now (I think two years in a row with the expectation to continue doing so makes it a tradition) of making cassoulet.  Last year I bought the Toulouse sausage online but hated having to pay the overnight shipping charge, so this year I made my own from a recipe I already had and didn’t realize last year.  There’s nothing like cassoulet that you’ve fully prepared yourself, from curing and smoking the bacon, making the sausage to preparing the duck confit.  In addition to the cassoulet, we had chocolate fondue for dessert, something we’ve been doing since 2003 when we lived in Chicago and used to celebrate with a couple in Lake Forest.

For Christmas I made my dad some charcuterie items – the aforementioned Toulouse sausage, merguez, bratwurst and a small slab of bacon.  I will say that working with sheep casings for the merguez was a big pain in the ass, at least with the KitchenAid attachment.  I’m wondering if it’s easier with a different sausage stuffer?  I kept a little bit of each item for myself and have been enjoying the fruits of our labor from time to time.

I received Grant Achatz’s autobiography for Christmas and am looking forward to reading that once I’m done with the bio of Hitler that I’m currently working on.

One cookbook I picked up recently is Pintxos, and though I have yet to make anything from it, highly recommend it.  It’s nice to have a Basque tapas cookbook in the collection.

I have managed to get in nearly all of United’s fixtures over the past month, including all the really disappointing ones (like Basle, Crystal Palace, Blackburn and Newcastle), but it was great to see them knock City out of the FA Cup yesterday.  It’s kind of cool that Fox is showing the upcoming matches versus Arsenal and Chelsea (the Chelsea match being on the day of the superbowl).  Hopefully United don’t disappoint like they’ve been prone to doing this season.

Anyway, happy new year!


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