Originally posted December 2014
There are so many errands and things to during the holiday season that it's easy to miss out on the little things. Holiday traditions in our house include making handmade gifts, beeswax candles and visiting the same Christmas tree farm but it's really all about the food. It starts with the Italian stuffing on Thanksgiving that's so rich it could be the main dish. Then the menu planning for Christmas and Hannukah begin. Brisket and latkes topped with applesauce. Gelt for the kids. Jelly doughnuts and some torrone while we play dreidel. On to Christmas Eve, everyone has to have their favorite. Dad wants eel, two ways. I want scungilli salad, stuffed calamari and rice balls. The kids want spaghetti with clam sauce. There has to be octopus, baccala - in a salad, fried, and as a spread, blowfish - that has taken good friends to all of the fish stores in Brooklyn to find, and you can't forget the snails in sauce, pasta with anchovy sauce, potato croquettes, panzanella salad, salami, cheese, olives, breadsticks....wait did I mention the zeppole that are made first thing that morning - with and without anchovies (windows are opened and closets closed lest we all smell like anchovies for the next 2 days). Desserts, what can I say. I think there's one for every person - cheesecake, coconut custard, flan, biscotti, anisette cookies, struffoli, brutti ma bruni, pizelle, boxes of chocolate, semifreddo (just received a torrone semifreddo receipe that I can't wait to try), and of course a sampling of torrone. Everyone has there favorite, hard, soft, Antica, Sorelle, Oliviero. Each brand tastes different and we have fun arguing which is best. Stuffed we go to bed and wait for Santa to come with hopes of torrone stuffed stockings!