The Best: A Puppy Necessitates Last Minute Solutions for Gifts and the Table
With temperatures often reaching the 80s and COVID-19 concerns swirling firmly anew, some of us have approached the holidays with lackluster enthusiasm or at least mild trepidation. In addition to the aforementioned excuses, in my house there is Crazy Mazie, the fearless, playful, joyful puppy we adopted from Trampled Rose Rescue in early November. Who wants to throw tinsel at a tree when you can play fetch, or peek-a-boo, with this?
I expect that the holiday spirit will arrive late tonight when Cecilia comes home from Birmingham with her boyfriend and their dog and cat in tow. Madness will ensue as our household population will swell to include two grouchy senior dogs who don’t much like one another, a special needs dog with frontal lobe damage who found her calling as a mother/playmate as soon as Mazie arrived, a 20-pound orange Tabby who cannot stop eating and will aggressively tear open kitchen cupboards and pick locks(really) as he attempts to soothe his cravings, and Mazie herself. She is super-smart, vibrates with energy, and will badger others relentlessly into play until they succumb.
Against this backdrop, Cecilia and I plan to spend all day tomorrow hanging out in the kitchen, listening to music, and making 30 or so loaves of our adaptation (we are adding pecans) of Blackout Chocolate Banana Bread by Molly Baz, a brilliant recipe developer and food writer Cecilia follows with great enthusiasm.
Knowing the day would be insanity, I agreed to go along weeks ago when Andrew and Cecilia said they wanted an old family recipe for meatballs and spaghetti concocted for dinner on Christmas Eve. Here is what the recipe, one of the only things my mother made that was really good, as opposed to being merely edible—or not—looks like today.
Ho hum. Though the recipe has seen its share of action, meatballs and spaghetti is not my idea of Christmas Eve-caliber special. I was thinking more along the lines of something like medium-rare roasted rack of lamb with truffled Bearnaise. Then I recalled a friend telling me that Jimmy Lee Moran, scion of the legendary Moran restaurant family, will deliver just-made pasta of your choosing (anything from Angel Hair to Pappardelle) to your door for $9 a pound. He makes the pasta with a Toresani-style machine, which rolls the pasta—as opposed to extruding it—resulting in a product that is delicate and whisper thin, like billows of clouds on your tongue. As pasta is a rarity in our home, luxury of this order will make even this humble sauce and meatballs into an occasion to remember. Jimmy delivers in the New Orleans area, just call him 504-715-5019.
For dessert, I pre-made a batch of the Double Chocolate Bread Pudding served with Salted Bourbon Caramel Sauce from my monthly NOSH column for New Orleans Magazine. You can find it here.
Stumped for a last-minute gift for a culinary enthusiast? Through tomorrow, GW Fins will toss in a complimentary copy of their amazing cookbook, The Deep End of Flavor, when you spend $200 in GW Fins gift cards.
Have a great holiday weekend everyone. Be kind, you just never know what someone has on their plate.