Instead of setting goals for the New Year, I’ve chosen a word, or hell, it has chosen me.
It came to me Saturday afternoon during the Winter Solstice Celebration. Guys, the Irish Arts Center does it for me hard-core. ALWAYS festive. Full of stories and gut-laughter. Full of a history I love to hear about through song and foot-stomping.
Tamar Korn played a set in yiddish, not without translating first. It was the sort of poetry sung that brought me Home. It begins with a child sleeping on his pillow, then moves to the feather in the pillow, then to bird to nest to branch to tree to root and circles back again. Over and over again. I couldn’t stop crying when the word struck me and of course it struck me then. The more the lines were repeated, the more it felt like a chant, the more it felt like easy-breathing. I need to go back to my roots. Roots that I, alone, had put down and raised. I’ve felt such a major disconnect for longer than I even realized. A year? Longer? My computer even experienced it’s own disconnect–AKA CRASH. A few days before this, I reconnected with a gentleman friend from college, who I am now traveling to DC with mid-January. The word itself is manifesting in many forms and I don’t think I want to ignore it. With that said,
IT IS ALMOST CHRISTMAS.
I am finally in the holiday spirit. THANK YOU, VALERIE. I was a grinch up until this weekend and WHO wants a GRINCH cooking up Christmas dinner!? Not I.
So being IN the holiday spirit, I wanted to give the gift of boozy jam for my three, very beautiful friends, who I was to meet in Long Island for brunch. Unfortunately, LIRR was in the middle of an investigation, so we ended up having us an Irish brunch in Queens, without my beautiful Megan, while she had hers with her loving fiancé. Brunch, clearly, needed to happen for all of us. And I still needed to give out the boozy jam.
If you’re running out of holiday gift ideas, this is a good one. I received feedback from Malvina a few hours after we parted, saying that this jam paired well with her pork chops. So, really, just put it on everything, folks.
Spiced Raspberry Rye Jam (small batch)
4 cups of raspberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup sugar ( 1/4th more if you like it on the sweeter side.)
about 2 tbsp lemon juice (fresh)
Zest of orange (to your liking. I zested a whole)
2 tbsp fresh mint, minced
2 ounces rye whisky
cracked black pepper, to taste
Follow this recipe loosely, it’s all about what YOU like. More spice? More mint? More booze? Keep tasting it til it reaches a level of Helllllll YES.
I put the raspberries in a deep pan and let it break a bit over med heat before adding the sugar. About 5 minutes. Mashing is not necessary. Add sugar, lemon. Simmer a bit, stirring often. Add orange zest, pepper, some mint, one ounce of whisky. Simmer. Then add fresh mint and a little more booze, plus a squeeze of fresh orange towards the end. Make whatever adjustments you see fit. It’ll be slightly thick after about 20 minutes of it simmering. This should take no more than 20 minutes total. But it’ll thicken up some more once cooled and canned.
We did our gift exchange at Snow Days and I received a gift of LUCK (cause I need it), a bracelet with my name on it, and a gorgeous necklace made of a London Plane leaf. Thank you so much, Tory! <3 Being this loved is the greatest gift of all.
Last night, my boss took Kay and I to a French Bistro called Maison up in Harlem and OH MY. It was delicious. Had my first Duck Leg Confit in an orange cognac sauce, with a creamy side of Cauliflower Gratin. I HAVE TO MAKE THIS. I also tried snail for the first time but don’t want to talk about it. 😀 The wine, btw, was pleasantly fruity and smooth.
I’m still buzzing. I’ve been having a whirlwind of great conversations (and food!!!) these last few days and it’s certainly the very thing I need right now. I went from despising the arrival of a New Year, to being quite excitable about it approaching. I want the same for you. If the idea of setting goals for the new year is too heavy, try choosing a word. It’ll support whatever goals you generally do have throughout the year, and it’ll be a mantra of sorts. Thank you Nicole Gulotta, for the idea!