Happy New Year . . . Welcome 2007 ! ! !
I stayed up as long as I could, even with a short nap taken in the afternoon. The cold night air outside, the warmth radiating from the space heater on my tootsies, a delicious bowl of split-pea soup, Ander lovingly made for us (He used the leftover pork loin roast we seved at my brother's house for Christmas Eve), settling in my full tummy, flannel pj’s, my knitting on my lap and the white noise from Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve on the TV, lulled me into a comfortable deep sleep on the couch. Ander tried to wake me at the bewitching hour to welcome in the New Year with our traditional toast and anticipated smooch at the first stroke. But as it had been since Christmas day, ”Tradition”, did not reveal itself during the holiday season. The horrible, stormy weather, did not allow us to depart for Southern California to join my Mom, my sisters, their spouses and my little darlings for our “traditional” Christmas gathering. We decided to postpone our trip when weather and schedules permit. Upside, I got some good “zzzzzz’s” in last night.
I haven’t given up hope; I still have until January 6th, “Twelfth Night”, Three Kings Day, to celebrate the last days of the holiday. The twelve days of Christmas end with the Feast of Epiphany. According to a Bible story, the three kings, Caspar, Mechior and Balthasar, “saw on the night when Christ was born, a bright star, followed it to Bethlehem and found there the Christchild and presented it with gold, frankincense and myrrh.
January 1st is the 8th day of Christmas, “eight maids a-milking”. Yup, I’m gonna ”milk” the rest of the season as long as I can…LOL!
I still have plenty of baking to do and prepping packages to go out via snail-mail.
Tomorrow Ander and I head out to the City to take in the California Impressionists exhibit at the de Young Museum. We plan on sharing a picnic lunch on the grounds of Golden Gate Park. Ander will be taking a trip to Costa Rica in a few days to explore the Rainforest. It should be fun and exciting. I will remain home to care for the “girlie-girls” and hold down the fort. I have several projects waiting to begin on the threshold of this New Year.
Sorry, no resolutions to share here. I’ve resolved not to have resolutions, but rather make the sincere effort to make things happen, to make a difference. The recent “Menu for Hope III” fundraising campaign strongly demonstrated what fantastic things can occur when heart, soul and passion are involved. Together, we raised over $60,000!
I look forward to continued friendships I’ve discovered through the food blogging world, making new connections, embarking on new adventures and sharing the “banquet of Life” with you who have blessed me with your kindheartedness, thoughtfulness, generosity, humanity and inspiration. You know who you are.
I leave you with Ander's simple split pea soup recipe. He's 100% Estonian, but has a Swedish soul through and through. A vigorous Viking, indeed!
SWEDISH YELLOW SPLIT PEA SOUP WITH HAM AND PORK
(Swedes dip their spoons into a dab of mustard before plunging their spoons into the soup. It is accompanied with crisp, dark rye bread.)
1 Tbl. olive oil
1 med. onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 lg. ribs of celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 potatoes, diced
1 yam, diced
2 smoked ham hocks (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
1 lb. lean, boneless pork, cut in 3/4 inch cubes
6 or more c. water
2 c. split peas (Green or Yellow)
1 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1 tsp. marjoram or thyme, to taste
Pepper to taste
Plain Yoghurt or Sour Cream (optional)
In a Dutch oven, sauté garlic in olive oil. Add onion, celery, carrots, potatoes and yam. Cook over medium heat until translucent and just tender. Add ham hocks and pork. Brown pork meat. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Add salt and marjoram or thyme, to taste. Cover and simmer on medium heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until all is tender, stirring carefully once or twice to prevent scorching. Add more water if soup is too thick. Remove ham hocks; cut off meat and dice small. Discard skin. Return meat (and bones, for extra flavor) to soup; season with pepper, to taste. Heat through and serve with prepared mustard on the rim of the soup plate or on the side, in separate mustard dish. Place a dollop of yoghurt or sour cream on top to garnish.
Makes 6 servings.
NOTE: Soak split peas in cold water overnight to alleviate "gas" producing cooties that may come later. Taste for salt, as the ham hocks have plenty already. I like to squeeze a bit of citrus, be it lemon or lime to give the soup a bit of a clean, fresh finish. Although the mustard, yoghurt and sour cream offers a welcomed tart and creamy mouth feel. Any way you like it, mmmm...
Life is a banquet, my friends. Happy New Year!