December doings! 12/1-31/19

Lots of goings-on in December!  After we managed to leave our Southeast Asian jet lag fog behind, we started off by trying to make the Vietnamese sour soup in our own kitchen. It turned out pretty well! Plus searching for ingredients at the Asian market was fun.

Home made Vietnamese sour soup

One of the first weekends in December Jon, Alex, and Sam came over to help decorate our Christmas tree. It turned out looking beautiful. Afterwards we all went out to lunch.

Sam is intent on having everything just so.
Alex helps with the decorating

George and I celebrated our birthdays on December 8 at Albatross in Danville. I forgot to take pictures. The restaurant turned out to be quite an albatross!

Before Christmas Sarah spent four days making a Panettone and it turned out pretty much like the one we had in Florence last year. So delicious!

Sarah’s panettone
Panettone with citron and raisins

Unfortunately on Pilat Eve many of us were sick. Sarah was just starting to get over her bad cold and I had just caught it. Sam was sick too and Ryan stayed home with him. We had some delicious bites but saved the singing for Christmas Day at Jonathan and Ryan’s. I did make an annual favorite, rum cake!

Rum cake

On Christmas morning John, Sarah, and I exchanged gifts and had our traditional breakfast, bagels and lox with Schneider Weiss beer.

Traditional breakfast

Later on we went to Jonathan and Ryan’s for Christmas dinner. Jon did a fabulous job cooking a a prime rib roast, mashed potatoes, death by broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and I brought along creamed spinach and John made gravy. After dinner we all sat around and sang Christmas carols following the bouncing ball on YouTube.

Leigh, Sam, Ryan, Alex, John, Sarah, Jonathan, and Mary

I spent the rest of December trying to recuperate from my cold so New Year’s Eve was a quiet affair. We made a scallop dinner for ourselves and were in bed by 10 P.M.

New Year’s Eve dinner

Christmas Eve. 12/24/18

Ryan and Jon have fallen into a pattern of going downstairs to the cafe each morning to have a pastry and cappuccino. Jon says it is the best cappuccino he has ever had. I am happy that they are having such a good time.

Jon and Ryan’s favorite breakfast

Sarah and I are looking for bagels and other items for Christmas breakfast and dinner at the Pam grocery store. Once she has all her lasagna ingredients we have to make an executive decision about breakfast. We decide to buy a panettone from the bakery downstairs. It turns out to be much more expensive than the ones in the grocery store but we are hoping for a much better quality one. While we are at the bakery we also pick out a bunch of pastries. This is definitely a far cry from bagels and lox.

A 1 kilo panettone should be big enough for the 5 of us

Jon and Ryan go to the Duomo and visit the Opera del Duomo which contains older works that are no longer adorning the church or items that were on the outside and have been brought in to keep them from getting damaged from the elements.

John heads out to find more goodies for our Christmas Eve celebration. He is a regular at the Salumeria where he buys so much chopped liver that we will have an unopened container to give to Mikki and France when we leave.

Salumeria

We gather at lunchtime and Jon says he wants to go back to la Bussola for more pizza. No one puts up any arguments,

La Bussola, our spot for pizza

Everyone orders pizza but I am afraid if I eat pizza I will be too full to enjoy tonight’s hors d’oeuvres. So I order linguini vongole, a favorite of mine.

Sarah makes the lasagna in the afternoon and I help (watch mostly) and take various taste tests. Later she and I go out for tea at a restaurant in the Piazza della Republican and take some pictures of the decorations and store displays.

Piazza della Republica
Window display at Gilli’s
Decorations in the nearby street

Later over wine and hors d’oeuvres we sing traditional Christmas carols and then everyone is off to bed.