Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Home for the Holidays

When Rich & I were making our winter plans, we both assumed we'd be heading to Denver for Christmas. In the end, though, we will be spending Christmas at home here in Charleston. And while I'm going to miss seeing my family, I am really looking forward to our first country Christmas! The forecast is calling for a big snow on Friday, so we should have a white Christmas. We are hoping to have our traditional mussels dinner on Christmas Eve. It will happen if we can find mussels... It's one of the things we realize we've taken for granted: the availability of certain food items. The first thing we noticed lacking in the local grocery stores was lamb. They carry it sometimes, but always frozen, never fresh. The farm at the end of our road has a herd of sheep and goats, and we've wondered about where they go when their time is up... Just last week, though, we finally found some local lamb. Unfortunately, we have to drive 50 minutes up to Champaign for it. Raised in El Paso, Illinois, and halal, (and cheap) it's worth the drive. Last night, I made lamb kleftiko, which is lamb and peas baked in parchment paper. It was delicious. We also ate the barrel-aged feta and fresh kalamata olives we bought at World Harvest up in Champaign, too. And today, Rich is hunting for mussels. We are thinking we may have to drive back up to Champaign for them. We're committed to these little crustaceans for our Christmas Eve meal!
The picture above was taken last month. The green is all gone. It's a view of of our house from the woods. In the spring, I hope to make this view a common one for visitors, as I am hoping to turn an area in the woods into a nice, cool seating area. Right now, when I walk the yard with the dogs, I am doing a lot of dreaming. Some planning, but mostly dreaming... imagining what will be growing where, trying to picture the yard alive once again. Often, my thoughts are rather pastoral when thinking about the yard, the gardens, the trees and animals. I know the reality will be quite different. It is during these short, quiet days, that I am girding myself up for the challenge this yard will present.
If we find  mussels, I will let you all know how they were (perhaps I will steam them in some white wine, saffron and cream). Or, we'll find a new tradition for our Christmas Eve. I am excited to spend Christmas here, this year, and hope it is merry & bright for everyone!


  1. I've "alltc"ed the gang about your blog--everyone misses you.

  2. The thing we miss the most is real green chile! None frozen, none fresh and only rarely canned. Moving to a new place is full of surprises! Hang in there and you'll soon discover something that you didn't know you couldn't live without. Jessie and I just got back from Denver and I thought of you when we went to pete's kitchen. I'm glad you're doing well!