What a week!!!!! I can’t believe that Christmas is already over. There is so much to say about the past few days. We’ve had such a great time….
Let me just start with a few pics of The Champs Elysées to show you some of the great street decorations of Paris.
Wednesday’s pre-Christmas dinner with Fanny:
For us, the festivities started early this week. On wednesday night, we had our friend and neighbor Fanny over for a nice little dinner.
And Escargots!!! mmmm……
Have a look at these little guys right out of the shell:
Rest of the meal included a homemade risotto with sautéed scallops and Fanny’s famous endive salad:
We had our little gift exchange. Travis was spoiled: he received 3 liters of distilled water for his new computer cooling system. This is a rare find in France. Travis was really desperate (we had called several places to find it with no luck) but thanks to Fanny, who had to pull a few strings and litteraly beg several research labs at our hospital, he is now a happy man!
We then watched the “Lemon Tree”, a movie from Eran Riklis, an israeli director. This movie exposes the legal journey of a middle aged palestinian widow against the Israeli minister of defense who plans to destroy her lemontree grove for “security reasons”. This movie is about the real political madness that surrounds even simple matters that could be resolved if people forgot their fears and just talked to each other. It is also about the wordless bond that can exist between 2 women (the palestinian widow and the Minister’s wife) despite the deep border between them. I loved it!
Movie time was followed by a chocolate-nut layered cake that sadly was unphotographed.
Christmas eve was quite an ordeal for Travis and I. After a couple days of compulsive christmas shopping, we spent several hours putting together my mom’s present. We scanned, printed and framed many childhood pics of my sister and I, as well as more recent pictures. It took a loooonnnnng time but we were quite happy with the results.
I then had to quickly run some errands before my family got here. By 8pm, everything was ready and Taliah and I set the table.
Here is what we ate:
- Marinated swedish salmon (Gravlax)
- Wild alaskan smoked salmon
- Another thick piece of cured salmon fillet (yes, we love salmon!!!)
- 48 raw Oysters with shallot vinegar
- Foie gras with Sichuan Pepper and Piment d’Espelette. It was extremely flavorful, maybe a little too much, hiding the taste of the Foie Gras itself)
- 8 different cheeses: Brie, Camembert au Calvados, Munster with cumin, Rocamadour, St Paulin, Comté, Mont d’Or, Epoisse.
- 6 sorts of breads: baguette, cereal and seeds baguette, hazelnut/apricot bread, walnut bread, cocoa bread and blinis.
- 2 bottles of champagne and 1 bottle of red wine (no kidding!)
Surprisingly enough, nobody was hungry for desserts 😉
Boys and girls then split. The guys decided to go on a video game marathon and played until 10 in the morning!!!!!!! They fueled on cokes and energy drinks. Meanwhile us girls settled in the living room, watched a couple movies. Between our new couch and our air mattress, we can now sleep 4 people there (had to say that just in case some of you want to come visit us in France!!!!):
Lots of presents under the christmas tree!!!!
Christmas day started late due to the late night the day before (especially for the guys who woke up at 2pm!). While the guys were still sleeping Taliah, my mom and I started our Christmas Gumbo!
Then making the Roux (1/2 cup of canola oil and 1/2 cup of flour):
Then add the celery, bell pepper and onions:
When soft, add the garlic and the okras (did you know that the french name for okra is actually “gumbo”!!!):
When the okra are cooked enough to look less stringy, we added some scalions, parsley and sausage. Then 8 cups of chicken broth and we let everything simmer on low for several hours while we were all opening presents (!!!). The shrimps were added towards the end since they were already cooked.
And here is the final product:
Well, I am aware it looks pretty bad in the pot like that. And I should have taken a picture of it served over white rice. But I am just happy and proud that I have made Gumbo for the first time ever! Couldn’t have done it without Taliah though! Great team work!
Opening all the presents literaly took hours! It was so much fun. Again I was spoiled! Sorry I don’t have any pictures 😦
For dinner, we ate our gumbo while watching Appaloosa (which I got for Travis), and sipping on red wine. The movie was awesome and the food pretty good too (even Travis said so!). No leftovers!
Once again the guys abandoned us to go play some games. Once again, they had a sleepless night…
It was another late morning. We had a pretty interesting brunch of leftover cheeses, foie gras along with some eggs and chocolate chip cookies that I made from scratch. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures.
Around 5, my mom, my sister and Stefan went back home and Travis and I sat lazily all evening watching some episodes of the Office. We are so excited about the season 5, which we received from Santa and Mrs Claus!
Dinner was Chicken Noodle Soup:
Made in the Crockpot, with farm raised organic chicken (gotta make sure my chicken wasn’t fed beef or one of his fellow chicken friends….). I also made my own chicken broth (was inspired by cousin Paul and the wonderful advice he gave me last year).
Hope yall had a great Christmas!
Lots of love!!!!