Got distracted by a recipe for spritz cookies, and that led to a grilled cheese sandwich and then five grilled cheese sandwiches.
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I had the ol’ Rolodex out and a pile of Christmas stationery and envelopes and stamps, even, the new ones with pine cones on them, all ready to go. My plan was to dash off a short but lovely letter to those I know and love highlighting the year and reflecting and wishing well, and printing it 50+ times on that lovely holly paper and folding and licking and sealing… The best of intentions. Never did happen. Got distracted by a recipe for spritz cookies, and that led to a grilled cheese sandwich and then five grilled cheese sandwiches. By the time the show was over, everyone was fed, but I’d really accomplished not much at all.
So here it is, December the First, and I’m making a small but important promise to myself to lay off the major projects of obligation, the ones I feel I have to do every year and either end up doing while stomping around or don’t do and feel a bit guilty or, most rarely, do and feel good about but think, “Enjoy it this time around, ’cause it ain’t happening again in this house.” No more tree up by a certain date. No more get out every single box of Christmas stuff and put it all up in its proper place. No more make the anise candy because we ALWAYS have anise candy and what would the holidays be without it? No more inflate the six-foot inflatable elf because we have an inflatable elf to inflate.
Truth is, I don’t like our inflatable elf. It gives me the willies, and I have to stifle the urge to push it over or pop it, and that’s just not the holiday spirit. Mr. Sundberg won it one year at Holiday Bingo in town, and it was fun for a year or two, but after a while it kind of got to me how it never stopped smiling and swaying back and forth with its wide eyes and little red elf hat. No. No inflatable elf this year. Only what feels right and good. Only what makes sense. My mother often told me, get rid of anything that isn’t beautiful or useful, or doesn’t bring you joy. Joy. Now there’s a concept, sure enough.
If I had one food to take along for a stay on a deserted island, there’s no question it would be cheese. As for what kind, I’d have to think on that. Brie would be right up there, and here’s a recipe that calls to mind the word “divine.”
1 T water
1/2 of a 17.3 oz pkg puff pastry sheets (1 sheet), thawed
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
1 13.2 oz Brie cheese round
Beat egg and water in small bowl. Unfold pastry sheet on lightly floured surface. Roll into 14″ square. Spread preserves on pastry to within two inches of the edge. Sprinkle with cranberries and almonds, and place cheese in center. Fold pastry up over cheese to cover. Trim excess pastry and gently press to seal. Brush seam with egg mixture, and place seam side down onto baking sheet. Brush further with egg mixture. Bake 20 minutes at 400, or until pastry is golden. Let stand half an hour or so, and serve with your favorite cracker.