Monday, February 05, 2007

Holidays February 6-12

February 6: Mid-Winter's Day, a good day to go out cross-country skiing or have a snowball fight...and then come in for hot cocoa spiked with cinnamon & cayenne! If it's just too cold to go out, as it is here today, make yourself some cocoa anyway & use the cold as an excuse to curl up with a good book! I am immersed in a funny and sweet book called Crawling: A Father's First Year by Elisha Cooper. Also holding my attention at this time is The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation by David Kamp.

February 7: Muffin Day, for which I will probably make Ghirardelli chocolate muffins from a box or gingerbread muffins, the recipe for which can be found at

February 8: Rebel Day, in honor of James Dean's birthday. You can simply rent Giant, East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause for a James Dean film festival. Or you can engage in some rebellious behavior yourself. This may mean wearing black lipstick and embarrassing your kids or it may mean participating in an anti-war protest. When I was a teenager & wanted to rebel against my folks, I would flee the Flipper music downstairs & go upstairs to blast Frank Sinatra. Rebellion looks a little different for the daughter of anarchists! If I'd really wanted to break my mom's heart, I could have voted for Bush when I became old enough to vote.

February 9: Fruit Day. I am partial to oranges & ruby red grapefruit this time of year, but there are all kinds of interesting fruits to try in the market this time of year. I saw cherimoyas, mangoes and papaya looking lush at the grocery yesterday. Since we are in Mardi Gras season, Bananas Foster would certainly be appropriate. I've never tried making it at home, but Brendan says it's easy as long as you are careful & don't have low ceilings.
Bananas Foster
3 tbsp. butter
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
4 bananas, cut in half crosswise, then lengthwise
3 tbsp. dark rum

Melt the butter in a 12" cast-iron skillet (or other heavy skillet) on medium heat. Add the sugar & cinnamon & cook, stirring, to melt the sugar thoroughly. Add the bananas & cook 3-4 minutes. Pour the rum over the bananas & allow to heat up. Tilt the pan and very carefully ignite with a match. Let it flame, swirling the skillet a bit, until it dies out, a minute or two. Bananas Foster just right served over vanilla ice cream. Hmm, I bet butter pecan would be good, too.

February 10: Blues Day. While Taj Mahal is my absolute favorite blues artist, I can happily spend hours listening to all kinds of blues. If you haven't heard Saffire-The Uppity Blues Women yet, get yourself on over to their website ( right away! Another talent who is not getting the national attention she deserves is Jonell Mosser, who can be checked out at If you get the chance to see either of these acts live, don't miss it!!! Both put on amazing shows! While I have never seen Taj Mahal live, he is #1 on my "To See in Concert" wishlist. I have been listening to his music since I was a baby with a blues-singing uncle.

Fenruary 11: White Shirt Day. Don't ask why. For many of us, it will probably end up being White Sweater Day or perhaps White Shirt with Long Johns Underneath and a White Sweater Over Day, considering the below zero temperatures in many areas. My friend in Madison says it was -16 when they woke up this morning and it's -3 here right now. Brr!

February 12: Spaghetti Day. I have no special recipes to offer, since I usually just doctor bottled sauce (not Ragu, anything but Ragu) with onions, garlic, basil & oregano. But, it's a great meal for a cold winter night! Just don't eat so much you get what Graham calls "spaghetti belly!"

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