A Merry, Married, Christmas

Peter relaxes while Annie whips up breakfast

Our first married Christmas comes at the end of a long line of married "firsts" with our first wedding anniversary to follow in short order.  A friend's mother told me a few years ago that building your own traditions was one of the most glorious parts of becoming an adult.  I couldn't agree more.  Ours are pretty simple.  On Christmas Eve we go to the Plaza Hotel for a glass of champagne (this year it was midday for a cup of tea).  We go to a Christmas Eve church service to sing Christmas Carols.  Then we wear red onesie pajamas and wait for Santa while Peter drinks whiskey and we watch an old movie (this year it was Gone with the Wind).  On Christmas morning we eat eggs benedict and open the contents of our stockings (which always include wigwam socks and clementines) before we head over the bridges and through the tolls (to Grandmother's house we go).  This was Rosie's first Christmas.  She got some bones and a stuffed reindeer whom Rosie was VERY excited to meet/destroy.  

Eggs Benedict can be tricky because there's a lot going on at once but the result is always worth it.  Serve with fresh-squeezed OJ and a french press full of illy coffee and you'll have one happy husband!

Hand-made Hollandaise Sauce (from the Joy of Cooking):

Melt over low heat: 10 T. of butter (1 1/4 sticks)
Skim the foam off the top and keep warm.
Place in the top of a double boiler (a glass or metal bowl set on top of a pot with simmering water): 3 large egg yolks & 1 1/2 T. cold water
Off the heat, beat the yolks with a whisk (I use an electric beater) until light and frothy.  Place on top of the double boiler and continue to whisk until the eggs are thickened, 3 to 5 minutes, being careful not to let the eggs get too hot. Remove the pan or bowl and whisk to cool the mixture slightly.  Whisking constantly, very slowly add the butter, leaving the white milk solids behind.

Whisk in: 1/2 to 2 t. fresh lemon juice, dash of hot pepper sauce (optional), salt & white pepper to taste.

If the sauce is too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water.  Serve immediately, or cover and keep the sauce warm for up to 30 minutes by placing the pan or bowl in warm (not hot) water.

Before you make the hollandaise sauce, get your water simmering for the poached eggs (only a few inches of water - I use a 6 qt heavy bottomed pot).  Pull out your english muffins and set your oven to broil.  Pull out your slices of canadian bacon from the fridge (I rinse them and pat them dry).  Chop up a little parsley.

After your make the hollandaise, add a heavy pour of white vinegar to your simmering water and stir.  Crack 4 eggs into espresso cups and drop them into the simmering water one at a time.  Let sit for 4 minutes (you want the egg whites to be fully set).

After you begin poaching the eggs, place your canadian bacon in a hot pan.  Place your english muffins under the broiler.  Flip canadian bacon once.

Pull your english muffins out of the oven, top with canadian bacon.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the poached eggs from the pot and drain well.  Place on top of canadian bacon.  Give your hollandaise one last whirl with the electric beater.  Spoon onto eggs.  Garnish with parsley.

Voila!

(Note: If you're feeling rushed, just turn off the heat on the poached eggs after theyre done.  They can sit in the warm water for a couple of minutes without getting overcooked.)

A full (but not full-sized) New York stovetop

 

Grapefruit just feels festive, doesn't it?

Our Christmas Bounty: Billy Reid Sweater, Wigwam Socks, two books on Jackie Kennedy and my favorite Kiehl's staples

My Christmas Eve Outfit

Off to Connecticut!