Monday, February 16, 2009
I love holidays. I’m an anticipator, a gal who likes to look forward to things. Knowing there’s an approaching red-letter day on the calendar keeps a spring in my step and distracts me from the day-to-day grind: think crowded subways, freezing soggy weather, and never-ending potty training. Yes, holidays are a good thing.
Most of all I love holidays because they’re an excuse to make something special for dinner. I’m a pretty equal opportunity holiday cook. Birthdays, Father's Day, Halloween, Cinco de Mayo, Mardi Gras (pancakes!), Columbus Day (Italian), and my family’s “big four”: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve/Day, New Year’s, and Easter. On this year's list to celebrate in a culinary fashion: Hanukkah, Ramadan, Chinese New Year... why not??
Two holidays I sit out: Independence Day since it’s my birthday and St. Patrick’s Day. Irish food doesn’t really inspire me… although now that I think about it I really should try to perfect a version of shepherd’s pie.
And, of course, there is Valentine’s Day. Truth be told I’ve never been super-excited about eating out on Valentine’s Day. The restaurants seem like romance factories: churn the couples in, feed ‘em, and spit ‘em out. So, instead I cook. This year I prepared Cornish hens which I knew would make my husband happy. And they did.
But the part of the meal that made me the happiest was the sexy champagne cocktail that kicked everything off. I saw a recipe for Blood-Orange Mimosas on the Gourmet website and was instantly seduced.
Yield: Makes 8 Drinks
3 cups fresh blood-orange juice (from about 10 oranges)
1/3 cup Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 (750-ml) bottle Prosecco, chilled well
Stir together juice, liqueur, and sugar in a 2-quart pitcher until sugar is dissolved. Chill until cold, about 1 hour. Slowly pour in Prosecco, stirring to combine. Serve immediately.
The cocktails were sophisticated, refreshing, and GORGEOUS. I would have been almost as happy just looking at them as drinking them. An added perk: the mimosas will go into my Thanksgiving and Christmas repertoires.
So another holiday down. Next is St. Patrick’s… and shepherd’s pie! Now, if only I had thought of something clever for President’s Day. Next year.