Tag Archives: christmas

Christmas Feast Menu

At the cabin in Nevada City we are having:

Hors d’ouevres:

Humboldt Fog, Brillat Saverin, and a well-aged Gouda.  Duck mousse and Port wine pate, cornichons, kalamata olives, and dry-cured Greek olives.  Homemade pickles by Rimpletide.  

Feast:

Roast Primed Rib Au Poivre  (modified: lacerated four times per rib and inserted a laterally sliced clove of garlic into top layer of fat) with horseradish cream accompaniment, Yorkshire Pudding (it isn’t Christmas at my house without it), Mustard-Roasted Potatoes (modified: substituted thyme for oregano), Haricots Verts with Caramelized Shallots, and *Candied Carrots.

Dessert:

Christmas Pudding  (beautiful store-bought) and Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies.

*whole carrots, scrubbed and trimmed.  Placed in a glass baking dish with drizzle of honey, cognac, and nutmeg.  Roasted at 375 20 minutes. 

Pictures to come.

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Merry Christmas from A Rockridge Life

We awoke this morning to snow falling dreamily from the sky onto our wooden surroundings.  

snow

Christ the Lord is Born Today.

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My Favorite Christmas Music

I love anything sung by the King’s College Choir.  

These two albums in particular are favorites:

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 O Come All Ye Faithful

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Classic Christmas Carols

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The Christmas Tree

We’re almost finished decorating the Christmas tree.  The scavaged and gilded leaves turned out exceedingly well.  We even found some magnolia leaves!  Here are photographs of the end result:

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leaves

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full-tree

Lit Christmas trees are very difficult to photograph but I did my best.  We are all especially enamored with the long narrow seed pods that we glittered (the embossing glitter from Paper Source is excellent for this purpose).  I brought the garlands up from Rockridge.  They are gilded paper, available at Tail of the Yak in Berkeley for approximately $10.  I believe we only used 2 for our eight foot tree. 

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Christmas Crafts: Even Better Than the Real Thing

There is a long tradition of handmade ornaments in my family.  Whenever there was a lack of ornaments, due to fire, earthquake, a move, or little money, we made what we didn’t have.  For generations my family on both my mother’s and father’s side has used wired ribbons tied in pretty bows and strung garlands of popcorn and cranberries to decorate their trees in addition to classic hand blown glass balls.

My family also just loves making things, so we’ll use almost any holiday as an excuse to pull out the paint and craft supplies.  This year we are handmaking ornaments since we are celebrating Christmas away from home in Nevada City. 

Yesterday we collected leaves from the ground around the cabin and set them out to dry overnight.  Once your leaves are dry, all you’ll need to do this craft yourself is some gold and silver leaf paint, some paint brushes, and some old newspaper to protect your surface.  

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Just lightly brush on either the gold or silver paint on one side of the leaf, trying to avoid letting the paint pool.  Let paint dry, then turn the leaf over and paint the other side.  These are gorgeous as ornaments, but equally beautiful scattered on your Christmas dinner table.

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Sprinkle with glitter to take it to the next level.  

It’s not unlikely that you’ll find some plastic gold leaves at Macy’s around the holidays, but what kind of fun would that be? 

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Nevada City Soothes

Once we were able to navigate the driveway, Nevada City became the soothing Victorian winter wonderland it is at heart.  The houses are adorable and very well-kept.  Red bows, garlands, lights, and wreaths abound, which makes it all feel a lot like Christmas.  

Rain came yesterday to wash the snow away, which was a blessing given the driveway situation, but I snapped some White Christmas pictures before it all melted:

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cottage

I just love the even blanket of snow on the roof.

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I’m not sure what kind of tree this is but the little red berries are divine.

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This one is for sale and it’s right at the top of Broad Street that runs through the old-fashioned downtown commercial district.  Quel adorable!

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Christmas Vacation!

Subtitle: Getting your car stuck on an icy driveway in a winter wonderland!

My family and I departed Rockridge at approximately noon in a “boys car” and a “girls car,” respectively, not purposely protracting heterosexist world views but doing so nonetheless.  It was a fairly uneventful drive to Nevada City, California, where we have rented a log cabin/lodge big enough to sleep ten, replete with hot tub, grand piano, a sign above the back door that says, “Friends are like pottery, you can never get enough.”  Now, I wasn’t aware that you can “never get enough” pottery, but…now I know.  (Thankfully the sign is very small and only over the back door off the den leading to the hot tub, AND the other strengths of our rental–foosball, a violin, and multiple wood-burning stoves—outweigh any textual elements that have been incorporated into the decor).

When we drove into Nevada City on highway 49 we were greeted by visions of a beautiful snow topped Victorians and evergreens.  It was breathtaking.

But, what really took my breath away was the two-foot high moguls that compose the 400-yard inclined driveway to the lodge.  We made it about 20 feet up before getting completely stuck.  

Fun!

Ironically, we had contacted the proprietors of the establishment earlier in the day to ensure that no such problems would occur.  Did we need chains?  Nooooooo!  Was the house accessible?  Yeeeeeees!  Did we get stuck?  Yeeeeeees!

It took about a half hour to locate a shovel while the light was quickly fading.  Our fearless leader saved the day: 

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Unfortunately, the job took a little more than a shovel.  One hour, phone calls to every major national rental car company (we wanted to rent a 4WD vehicle.  None of the national car rental companies had ANY 4WD vehicles, not even at the Sacramento Airport, but Enterprise offered me an “all weather” vehicle, that they really wanted me to rent that “might” have 4WD, but was not listed as such), multiple phone calls to the proprietors, countless trips up and down the first 20 feet of driveway, and a trip to buy chains, we had the good fortune of making it up the hill to the lodge.

The proprietor came and salted the driveway, and made vague intimations of a “maintenance crew” coming by tomorrow.  

There was absolutely no food in the house.  We had reservations at the New Moon Cafe in town.  Very soothing.  We also had reservations about going down the driveway and needing to get back up, but our hunger got the best of us.

We had a fabulous dinner.  New Moon Cafe has a phenomenal wine list.  I ordered a great Anderson Valley cab for my dad since he’s a cab guy, and a nice Barbera for myself.  Everyone else was generous enough to go along with my wine selections.  I had an unbelievable sturgeon filet with a mustard seed crust and white wine buerre blanc.  Amazing.  But more on that later.  

We got to the driveway and I got butterflies in my stomach.  I wasn’t driving and I just had a bad feeling about our prospects for getting back up the hill.  We got that same 20 feet up the hill and got stuck.  The driver started to reverse to try again–but the rear window had fogged up, what with five people in the car–and the driver couldn’t see when he was reversing and ended up reversing part of the way down the embankment on the left side of the driveway so that the left rear wheel was sort of, you know, hanging off a tad.

Fun!

The elders jumped ship.  I. and Rimpletide and I spent about 45 minutes trying to get the left rear wheel back onto the driveway.  I stayed in the driver seat and let the boys be boys.  We tried all combinations of chains, twigs, and spare boards wedged under the wheels.  Pushing didn’t really do much since we were going uphill.  I suggested calling my roadside assistance, but the boys were sure that they could be mountain men and get us out of the embankment through sheer will and ingenuity.  So I went along with it until I was just too cold.

So at approximately 10PM I trudged up the driveway and called Geico Roadside Assistance (no cell reception up here).  Within 30 minutes a tow truck was at the base of our driveway.  K., a pleasant and burly fellow came to pull us out of our rut.  K. was wearing shorts and shoes with no socks in 38 degree weather.  K. was missing a few of his front teeth, and saw “no reason” why we were not able to make it up the driveway, and saw “no need” for chains on our tires.  

Within five minutes he had knelt down in the snow, attached our car to the pulley on the truck, and yanked us out of the embankment.  To prove how easy it is to drive up this particular snowy/icy/narrow mountain driveway, K. offered to drive up back up to the house, free of charge.  

Without much ado, we piled in.  K. reversed down to the based of the drive, and then sped up to 30 miles and hour as we blasted over the icy moguls known as our vacation rental driveway.  

K. is part of a towing establishment known as “Kilroy.”  When he announced the name proudly to us he said, “Kilroy, ever heard of that?”  We assured him we did in fact study WWII and that the $10/month I spend on Geico Roadside Assistance is probably the wisest investment I’ve ever made.  Seriously.  Major Geico plug.

kilroy

Love you K.  Love you Kilroy.  Love you Geico.  

Happy Holidays from A Rockridge Life via Nevada City.

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