The Holidays This Year

This year the holidays feel different and I mean that in a good way. Last year was our first holiday season together as a couple and we celebrated both Hanukkah (Richard is Jewish) and Christmas (I am Christian). And while we aren't through the holidays yet, I guess this year it feels different because since we've already made the decision to spend the rest of our lives together, there's a sense of permanence this year as we are creating new traditions for subsequent holiday festivities.

Duck Fat Beet Latkes, just before the oven
We had made the decision when we first started dating to honor the traditions of our different religious backgrounds and incorporate them. So every year around this time, we pull out our menorah and light it for all eight nights. This year we bought a new one that has taken up residence as the centerpiece of our dining room table. We thought, "new life, new menorah", makes sense, right? We have a second menorah that was in Richard's family for years and it sits comfortably on the window sill.

Tri-color Matzoh 
Next to the menorahs is a freshly cut Christmas tree. Well, by freshly cut, I mean someone else physically cut it down but it's real and that's what matters. I love that subtle piney fragrance and the glow of the lights on the tree. I also love how we made it a tradition to buy a new ornament each year for our tree. Most of them are food related and we love it that way. My favorite thing to do is turn out all the lights, flip on a movie and sit in the glow of the menorah and Christmas tree lights. This is what the holidays will be like and I love every minute of it.

Chocolate Babka
For the first night of Hanukkah, we had Richard's parents over along with two of our closest friends. Here's a peek at what we made:

  • Matzoh Ball Soup with Tri-Color Matzoh 
  • Duck Fat Beet and Sweet Potato Latkes
  • Jewbelation Beer Braised Brisket 
  • Tsimis Kugel 
  • Homemade Challah
  • Chocolate Babka 

To say we had a blast putting together this menu would be an understatement. We kept it sort of classic and then twisted things up a bit, similar to our cooking style. And because we just got caught up in the excitement of it all, I didn't really write down any recipes (sorry!) nor capture many pictures (double sorry!). For the most part, these photos are Instagrams, for a fun change of pace.

As part of another annual tradition, we're off to NYC for a couple of days before working our way to my parent's house in Western Mass for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day before we're back in Boston to ring in 2013. Whatever you celebrate this year, hope it's merry and happy!