Category Archives: holidays
I hope you enjoyed your New Year’s celebrations, whatever they may have been, and safely returned (or stayed) home. I know the folks on the road here were crazy — and that was well before dark!
I’ve never been much for resolutions. They’re more likely to make me feel guilty rather than inspired. Instead of setting myself up for failure, I’ll share with you some of the things I hope to accomplish this year.
Our Christmas meal consisted of pelēkie zirņi ar sīpoliem un speķi (grey peas with bacon and onions), speķa rauši (Latvian bacon and onion rolls), a spiral-sliced ham, šķovēti kāposti (braised sauerkraut), apple cobbler and mulled wine. (Mmm.. mulling spices + inexpensive merlot.. Wonderful.)
On Wednesday, I told you that we’d been waiting all year for one special dish. These, my friend, are pelēkie zirņi. Grey peas. This is also the last of our supply we brought with us from Latvia and, unfortunately, will be the last until we go back.
It’s almost Christmas Eve and I’ve been busily baking up a storm all week. A very slow storm who stops and rests quite a bit. Luckily, I’ve only got a head cold and it’s been manageable, but I still have a lot to accomplish today and tomorrow.
Christmas Eve is when my husband has traditionally celebrated Christmas and we’ll be continuing that tradition together, seeing family on Christmas day and following. We have plans for a great Christmas dinner, including one meal we’ve quite literally been waiting all year to have.
I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving as much as I did! We had a lot of great food at my Mom’s today and brought home enough leftovers for at least an entire dinner.
I thought about what I wanted to do for the holiday and eventually came up with this cake. In the South, red velvet cake is a tradition. I’ve never made it, much less had it, but I knew it’d give me the deep maroon of Latvia’s flag. The white was a little trickier.
I found a recipe for a Silver-White Cake in my Good Housekeeping cookbook. It used no egg yolks so that the cake would come out white as snow and after some fiddling, I had adjusted the recipe so I would get some white and some red velvet out of it. It came out beautifully, the colors perfect.
I think my little Latvian Independence Cake came out well. My husband liked the flavor too — tangy and not-too-sweet.
Did you carve something fun? My husband thought up a Tram of Death for his pumpkin, while I followed a Spooky House pattern for mine. It was, as always, a lot of fun to carve pumpkins and we got a huge bowl of seeds out of it to roast. (Don’t forget to roast your pumpkin seeds.)
Now, as I mentioned yesterday, it’s taken me a while to make my own pie completely from scratch, pumpkin and all. To be fair, my go-to recipe for years has been the recipe on the back of the Libby’s pumpkin can. It’s a great recipe, with excellent color and texture, but it just wasn’t quite what I wanted this time.
This version of pumpkin pie came out beautifully, but I’m not sure it’s the best it could be. I have some ideas that I’ll play around with this holiday season, some tweaks I want to make. But this recipe is an excellent “Everyday Pumpkin Pie” and quite fast and easy to put together. It’s certainly a pie I could whip up on the spot for a potluck or an unexpected family dinner, as long as I had some pumpkin puree tucked away in my freezer.