Thursday, December 27, 2007

post-Xmas relief

Of all the Christmas gifts we gave and received, the one that made the biggest impact was the case of food poisoning somebody gave us. Thankfully only D and I were lucky enough to get it; imagine the horror if we had all been sick with it together.

But we are on the mend. The worst of it is that I wasn't able to hit any stores on the day after Xmas, so as to buy more ornaments for next year's C family gift exchange. I have decided that ornaments are all I am giving from now on. I refuse to believe I am the only one who feels that Christmas is way overboard, but D's family has never agreed to pull names out of a hat – we're expected to give gifts to each household. However, D has six siblings and we have many adult nieces & nephews with families of their own. So I give one ornament to each household. That way everybody is treated equally and I don't go crazy trying to figure out what on earth to get for each family. Plus it's a lot less expensive and wasteful. Oh well, maybe there will still be some pretty ones left today.

The gifts were all great this year. D and P both liked their fishing poles very much, although D will certainly get a lighter reel than the one that came with the rod. I lucked out and found him a beautiful vintage Fenwick backpacking rod that weighs 4.75 ounces - weight is important to we backpacking geeks. P is over the moon about his guitar and has already made me tune it several times (new strings). P gave me a stapler and "the Mr. Darcy Movie," which you may know better as the BBC's version of Pride & Prejudice. And we are now positively swimming in miniature toy trains. Plus, D got us a wheat grinder, which sounds very Little House on the Prairie but is nice to have just in case. After all, we do have wheat in our food storage...

I want to share a recipe I made up last night and was over-the-moon in love with. This can be scaled up for more servings if desired. I wish I had made more; I was scraping the pot at the end.

Butter (1 or 2 tablespoons)
2 cans diced tomatoes, well drained
4 cloves garlic, chopped
dried oregano to taste, I used maybe ¼ teaspoon
olive oil (1 or 2 tablespoons)
salt (to taste, I used just a few shakes)

in a heavy pot (cast iron is good), brown the butter over medium heat. When the butter is brown, add tomatoes, garlic, oregano, olive oil and salt. The tomatoes should hiss a bit when you first add them. Stir; get everything hot and hissing. Then add ¼ cup or so of water – just enough to cover the bottom of the pan and keep the pot from drying out and starting to burn. Cover, reduce heat to just above low and let simmer for 45 minutes or so. Eat it over noodles, toasted bread, crackers, whatever you please. You can add parmesan, but i didn't find it necessary (the boys requested it). If you have leftovers (unlikely), it can be recycled into a vegetable soup or pureed and used in a tomato vinaigrette.

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