Photographs by Francesco Tonelli for The New York TimesI like to cook, I may be a very good cook, but I enjoy it. My family loves to cook as well at least I am sure my Dad's side like to cook. I think I have more traits from my Dad and my brother takes more after my Mom and her side. Just an observation. I vividly remember going to Grandma's for the holidays, I cherish these memories of my Grandma. To some degree, I might even have some yearning of recreating this experiance durning the holidays some day. You know, the house full of family, the "kids" table, turkey, ham, potatoes, hand-made rolls, pies, stuffing... you get the idea. Even decorations.
Someday.... my own way.
J has this increable ability to simplify things. He has been trying to convey to me the importance of a simple life, I am trying to learn. Now and again, I have to sit back and grin, understanding what he means by this.
I can make a mess in the kitchen, I can be in there for hours and hours and become weary. As the holidays roll around, my excitment has mounted, the recipes have been buzzing around in my head. There is so much I want to make, I want my house to be full of happy people. Deep breath... slow down... the people around us have invited us to spend the time with them. So I happily volunteer to bring a few dishes. Ahhhh the choices. In my search, I focused on recipes where I had most of the ingredients on hand, recipes that were simple and didn't require much time in the kitchen, foods that I would eat, and could be made ahead of time.
Here is what I am sooooo excited to share with my family and friends. I have found all these recipes (there are 101 recipes that can all be made ahead of time and are described in 1- 2 sentences) by Mark Bittman over at NY Times
Sweet Potatoes With Prosciutto
Cut sweet potatoes into wedges; boil until tender. Drain and toss with olive oil. Wrap each with a prosciutto slice and a sage leaf, then roast until browned.
Cranberry Polenta Cakes
Make polenta with half milk, half water; stir in chopped fresh or dried cranberries. When thick, pour onto a sheet tray and let cool. Cut into squares and sauté or broil until slightly crisp. Drizzle with honey.
Cranberry-Orange Sauce: Cook a bag of fresh cranberries with orange and lemon zest, cut up (peeled) orange segments, 1/4 cup sugar (or to taste) and a bit of minced jalapeño or chipotle.
Pears in Red Wine
Simmer 2 cups red wine with 1/2 cup sugar, 2 cloves, a cinnamon stick and a few slices of ginger in a pot for a few minutes, then gently poach peeled and cored pears (use a spoon to hollow them from bottom), until soft. Cool or chill, and serve with a bit of the poaching liquid.