Oh, the post-holiday lull. Or reprieve. Whatever you want to call it. I must say, it’s welcome. Chris and I loaded the dog up in the back of our car along with the Christmas gifts, and headed southbound on I-95 to North Carolina. We drove 2 days, stayed 3 days, and drove 2 more days. It didn’t really feel like a vacation, but it was relaxing in the sense that we were with family for Christmas. This still feels like a luxury to us since we spent so many Christmases in Alaska, crowded around a table with our dearest friends, doing what families do, sans gifts. In a way, I miss the simplicity of Christmas away from home because time wasn’t terribly crowded with catching up, traditions and gift giving. For those three reasons, I loved Christmas in Fairbanks and for those reasons I love spending Christmas with family.
After the holiday hustle and bustle, we’re finally getting back to our routines and resolutions. I’m not usually one for resolutions because 1) I tend to set myself up for failure and 2) I like the idea of one being on a constant journey to improve oneself, not just at a given time of year. However, there is one challenge I am taking this year and that’s #100happydays. I’m a true empath which may or may not be linked to the fact that I tend to take myself and life too seriously. As of late, I’ve been reading and hearing about all the bad going on in our world, and it’s stifling. That, coupled with my ‘down-ness’ that generally hangs out with me this time of year (you know my love-hate relationship with winter), I needed an outlet, a different perspective on my world and that’s how I ended up jumping on the bandwagon. So far this week, these are my happies:
Day 1: I got into the office this a.m. and had the sweetest birthday card on my desk from my coworkers. It brought a lot of happy into my life on this Monday morning!/Day 2: A birthday serenade and the gift of a dozen donuts from my fave Holy Donut!/Day 3: A mentor of mine once told me he would like the front of his fridge to be the framework for his eulogy-all the pictures, the handwritten post-it notes, artwork (no matter how novice), post cards, unpaid parking tickets, every piece giving a good depiction of what he loved and valued most. I always loved everything about that idea and when looking at the front of my fridge this morning while drinking my coffee, I was reminded of the rich life I have lived and am living. And loving./Day 4: I’m a sucker for sunsets and snow-covered fields./Day 5: Further down the road, I will write a post about how happy this man makes me each and every day. But for today, there is this sweater and the fact that Chris will wear it to work “every Friday until the Seahawks are out of the running,” he says. For luck, he says.One happy I should have posted was this amazing recipe I created on a whim. For me, happiness really is creating a recipe and it not tasting awful. Exponentially more happy than that is knowing my recipes make it to your table to be shared by your families and friends./Day 6 brings Izzy. It’s impossible to put into words how much joy this bearded lady brings to my life. She is the very best little spoon, gives the best nuzzles, brightens my worst days, and always keeps me company when I pee. She’s the very best copilot and reminds many of Falkor from ‘The Neverending Story.” She is, simply, my love./Day 7:Happiness is a fire in the wood stove on a cold, rainy day./Day 8:Happiness is winter sun. It’s as essential for me as 8 hours of sleep, red wine, and me-time./Day 9: This is Tabitha. Tabitha was made in the Philippines by a woman artist from a rural, farming village. Her ‘good luck power’ (as stated on her tag) is to make sure I always remain a free spirit. What a doll!
I’ll plan to share these with you in weekly blog posts, in hopes these little glimpses of an ordinary day will make you happy or better yet, will inspire you to find your own happy,
Food. Yes. This recipe, this delicious recipe, is inspired by the ever-so-popular Leeks Vinaigrette recipe that can be found in many cookbooks, vintage and new alike. Like this one found in my old cookbook:
Photo will be posted soon of old recipe!
My response to this particular recipe is easy to make (only 5 ingredients..okay 7 if you count salt and pepper) and is best served warm with a fork and knife. I originally thought that these wouldn’t work because leeks tend to be stringy when cooked. Hot out of the oven, these little bites aren’t stingy at all. They have the perfect blend of sweet (from the cooked leek and champagne), salty (from the prosciutto), creamy (from the goat cheese), and crunchy (from the whole grain mustard).
I hope you enjoy these as much as Chris and I did. Oh, and before I go, cheers to you and the year ahead! May 2016 be the best year yet!
- 5 small leeks
- 6 ounces goat cheese
- 10 thin slices of prosciutto
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons whole ground mustard
- 2 ounces champagne (or white wine)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- For the leeks, boil 8 cups of water in a large pot with a palm-full of salt. Meanwhile, trim off green tops and reserve for your next pot of chicken stock. Trim the white end as closely to the root as possible, basically brushing your knife against the roots. You'll want your leeks to hold together, so if you trim too far up, they'll unravel, so-to-speak. Cut leeks in half lengthwise and wash well in cold water. Place leeks in boiling water and let cook for 5-6 minutes, or until the leeks are softened. Drain in a colander and run cold water over the leeks to stop them from cooking further.
- To assemble, take a leek half and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Peel back half the leaves from the green end of the leek, being careful not to peel too far back so to break the root end. Crumble about 1 Tbsp. of goat cheese on the exposed, inner leaf and fold outer leaves over cheese. At this point, you should have a leek and goat cheese sandwich (with the root end still attached). Repeat with the remaining leek halves.
- Wrap each leek in a piece of prosciutto and place side by side on a pan or in an oven-proof casserole dish. Once all the leeks have been wrapped, season with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until prosciutto is golden and cheese has melted.
- While leeks are baking, whisk mustard and champagne together. Spoon over leeks before serving.