Friday, January 01, 2016
It's New Year's Day. My husband and the cat are napping and, while I, too, have eaten too much junk food this afternoon, I've not yet reached the point of carb-induced coma, so I thought it would be a good time to start my blog. Quiet and no cat on the keyboard -- I give it about 10 minutes.
We had a quiet Christmas this year. My sister and my brother and his family came over for dinner on Christmas Eve. It's been a tradition for the past 7 or 8 years, with only a couple of misses due to weather or illness. This year my sister's son and his fiancé couldn't make it and we missed them; they've been dating for several years but just recently became engaged.
Dinner with my family is a pretty casual affair, so this year I stepped it up a bit and served a "fancy" vegetable. Along with the honey-glazed ham, cheesy potatoes, salad, and burned-on-the-bottom crescent rolls (I always forget to put them in the second oven instead of the very hot oven that roasted the ham and potatoes), I served french cut green beans that, amazingly, were a big hit! I did find it sad that my nieces and nephews had never seen a french cut green bean. I defrosted the green beans, tossed them with thyme, salt & pepper, and lemon-infused olive oil, then heated them through in a skillet. Delicious! If I were making this for company or taking the dish to a pot luck, I'd add sautéed slivers of sweet red peppers and chopped scallions, green and white bits -- also in the lemon olive oil -- to the beans, perhaps topping with some toasted chopped pecans or bread crumbs and slivered almonds. Although I must admit that the slivered almonds take me back to a rather nightmarish casserole topped with them that one of our neighbors gave my Dad when Mom was in the hospital having my baby brother -- same brother who was at the table on Christmas Eve. My father, who was a superb cook, dished it up, took a couple of bites, looked at our faces, and tossed it. I think we ended up enjoying french toast instead....
Well, the cat has arrived to help me write, so I will wrap up this first post with a note about another first that is in keeping with this holiday season: the first map of the Holy Land printed in Europe following the creation of Gutenberg's press. The map, creator unknown, was included in a large chronicle called the Rudimentum Novitiorum, printed in Lübeck, Germany, in 1475 by Lucas Brandis.
The map is a wood block print with Jerusalem at the center, 8 wind heads lining the edges, and an out-sized crucified Christ dominating a small hill labeled "Calvaria" or Calvary. More information about this map and the chronicle can be found on the James Ford Bell Library's web site: www.lib.umn.edu/bell and the library will have the book on exhibit through January 31st. If you're in the Twin Cities this month, stop on by.