Merry Christmas Adam! (That’s what my family always calls the 23rd of December, which it officially is now.)
Pretty much every year since I had this job, I’ve been fortunate enough to take off time from Christmas Eve straight through to the new year. This year I’m the boss, and my tradition continues. I have a few things to get to tomorrow (er, today) before calling it a year.
Almost immediately after that, I plan to go on a grocery run. We need a lot of things for Christmas, except for a few things like rolls for my favorite sandwich that I may as well get the day after. (I briefly considered adding duck fat to the sandwich this year. But on second thought, there’s already enough unctuousness in it, and duck fat would be overkill.) This year I got a small broiling pan that I think will be a much, much better way to cook my teriyaki cube steak. I’ll be making a cheese strata (not waffle) again for Christmas morning. But beyond that, my only big plan—and it’s very ambitious—is to binge five full seasons of Game of Thrones, on which I binged three seasons last Christmas. That’s 50 hours of television, which might be pushing it. Chances are I’ll amend my plans partway through, and only get through part of the series; that kinda makes me sad, but I may not have the stamina for that much of a binge.
But with all that to do, it leaves very little room for so many other things I like to do over the break. I may build a few Lego models, which would be compatible with binging TV. In years past I did that while watching the Lord of the Rings movies, the extended editions of course. This year, I may have the opportunity to do it with the Hobbit movies—but still, Game of Thrones calls.
An old tradition I haven’t done in a while, and may yet decide to do, is watch a crapload of Three Stooges. When I was younger, WSBK in Boston—then a superstation available on basic cable—used to run Stooges marathons on New Year’s Eve, and my dad and I taped a fair number of them. Now the shorts are all out on DVD. If I get tired of watching dark fantasy for a while, they may be the perfect palate cleanser. (It also depends on whether my wife is home and can put up with them for an extended period.) I have a mind to air-pop some popcorn and drench it in margarine like I used to in days of old, a perfect accompaniment to Curly’s antics. I like me some soggy, salty popcorn.
My family has long had a tradition of throwing a New Year’s Eve party, except for a few years here and there. It’s a night for games, so I’d definitely like to get my game on. One year at 4 AM my cousin and I invented Fake Scrabble, which is where all the words are made up and you have to define them—and you can challenge if you suspect it’s a real word. Balderdash is a perennial favorite. If I remember to bring drawing pads we may get to play Pictionary Telephone (not affiliated with the actual game; that’s just what my family calls it): That’s where each person writes down a phrase, passes the pad to the next person who tries to draw it, and then the next person tries to turn that back into a phrase, and so on till it goes full circle, and then everyone reads the results.
In spite of TV watching, I kind of want to do some cooking challenges. I have meat glue in my freezer that I haven’t had a good opportunity to use yet, and I have the unsubtle goal of making bacon-wrapped cheese-stuffed chicken breasts with it. You can do that without meat glue, but I think by getting a proper seal on the chicken and firmly adhering the bacon I’ll end up with something awesome. (Speaking of wrapping bacon around chicken, I made bacon-wrapped chicken the other night but decided to change a few things up. I baked it directly on a foil-lined pan, sprayed with nonstick. At the same time I baked a tray of bacon from the rest of the package. Later on when the chicken was done but the bacon around it was less done, I put the chicken on the pan I’d used for just bacon, and stuck it under the broiler for a couple minutes on each side. Much better results, and no cleaning a wire rack this time.)
I also recently found a recipe for bacon fried mozzarella sticks. I see no reason they couldn’t be baked, which sounds way easier. Although it seems like a bit of a production to put them together, I’ve resolved that I’m going to do so very soon. By which I mean one of the things I’ll be picking up tomorrow is regular (not thick) bacon of the brand I like, so I have something that will wrap easily. It’s not wussing out, because each cheese stick requires two slices.
I’m gonna need some of that awesome kosher Muenster too. (I’m pretty sure the brand is Naturally Good Kosher.) I don’t care about it being kosher, because the only thing I love more than bacon is combining cheese and meat, but this is the good stuff. I’ll be getting sliced Muenster for my sandwiches too, but this is the kind you cut up to eat straight. Best served with extra sharp New York white cheddar, and maybe something like smoked Gouda (with bacon).
Other holiday treats on my list include my mock pizza skins, which should be easy to put together quickly, stuffed shells (my dad’s making them, but I also have more of my own batch in the freezer), possibly some duck fat steak fries (thanks, Chef John!), and maybe teriyaki chicken wings if the mood strikes me. That last one is more of a football thing, but hey, wings are wings. The cats would be happy.
Pro tip: Don’t watch cooking videos, or write about post-Christmas snacks, late at night.
I wish we had snow.