25 December 2007

Holiday Happenings

This was actually one of the smoother Christmas mornings that I can remember. As usual, I was responsible for the majority of the meal. It's sort of become a tradition for me to cook Thai food for Christmas. As far as I can remember, this started in a year that Christmas was on a Sunday and my mom was still the organist at her church. This meant that she would not be able to help much with preparation. Also, she was still sick of turkey from Thanksgiving. So I volunteered to try and make some Thai food. Coconut curries are no problem; they're fairly easy to get to taste right. Other main dishes I haven't had so much luck with, so this year I only made the curry and was very careful not to get it too spicy for my mom. She didn't complain about the spiciness, so I must have succeeded. I also stir fried some vegetables on the side.

For the dessert end of things, I made a coffeecake, some coconut custard, and some coconut rice. Mom made some jello-with-fruit-in-it (there's probably a name for this). The only snag was that I'd forgotten to put the sweet rice to soak last night. Recipe directions say to "soak overnight" and steam for 20 minutes. I checked the package, and it said to "soak 1-2 hours" and steam for 40 minutes. So I did it that way. It turned out all right.

The most annoying thing was slicing up the chicken. Mom had moved it from the freezer to the fridge after the midnight service last night, and the chicken was still nearly frozen solid. In an attempt to separate off one of the pieces, I beat at them with a frying pan that Mom was planning to throw out anyway. The frying pan is now impressively bent and warped. I was rather amused; Mom was horrified. Anyway, I gave that up as futile and began sawing away with a steak knife until I got some pieces to separate off. I gave up after four, though the last two were closer to the right solidity for slicing. Ideally, you want them partially frozen. They're too...wiggly when completely thawed, and too solid when completely frozen. There's a sweet spot in between that is perfect, but it's pretty rare to find it exactly.

One other minor snag: when Mom left to go pick Dad up (I was busy cooking, and had a lot more to get done that Mom would have had to guess at had we traded), she got stuck whilst backing out of the driveway. I heard her walking back and forth and peeked out to see what was going on. I couldn't go help right away due to cooking duties, but when I got a break, I ran out and did some digging around the front right tire. There wasn't much snow there; she must have just hit a slick spot at exactly the wrong angle. Between the salt she put down and my digging, we got her moving again.

Both Mom and Dad liked the curry, which made me very happy, as I'd made up most of it this year. Yeah, I had a recipe, but half the stuff is impossible to find (lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, etc.), and the easy way out, using pre-made curry sauce, is fraught with ginger: Galangal, aka Thai ginger, to be exact, and I don't know whether it has the same effect on me as plain ol' ginger. So I improvised, with some chili-garlic sauce, some curry powder, a bit of lemon juice and fish sauce and tomato paste, all boiled in the coconut milk with the chicken.

As for presents, we did that after lunch/dinner/feast-thing. I got Pirates 3, a gold dragon, and money. I could swear that Mom just wants to make sure that she gives me more than Dad does... but since Dad doesn't even pick out anything, and I have a pretty good idea how much that dragon cost, she's already ahead of the game. And she still offers to give me more. Seriously, those two were plenty. Now I have to find things to buy with that money. Gift-type things. Really, the snowfall yesterday was a nice enough Christmas gift. I get why Dad gives money; he can't go pick stuff out himself unless he sanes up enough to go get his eyes fixed. I don't get why Mom does. *sighs*

Oh, speaking of gifts, I got Buster a doggie-cape. He didn't really want me to put it on him, but I did. It took him five minutes to get it back off, and he had the proudest look on his face when he did... We'll see if we can get him used to wearing it, but I won't hold my breath. ^/^

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