Another Christmas come & gone!
Was that a collective sigh of relief I just heard? ;)
Regardless of what kind of Christmas it is,
I am almost always relieved when it's done.
This time between Christmas and New Year
is my favorite time of the year.
There's a special quietness to this time...
We all slowly get back to our routines.
I get back to some serious painting & sketching,
after having done very little of it
over the past few weeks.
This is my first quick painting (acrylic on paper)
in at least 2 weeks.
So we have a Christmas tradition here
of making "Acadian poutines"
that I want to share with you.
Not the same thing as "Quebec poutines",
which are basically french fries with gravy & cheese.
These Acadian poutines are far more elaborate.
Even if they look like dirty snowballs
when they're done. ;)
I don't think I ever remember a Christmas without them.
When I was young, our tradition consisted of
going to the evening mass (at midnight for many years!)
coming home & having poutines & meat pies,
and opening a few gifts.We'd usually keep some for Christmas morning,
although they seemed to dwindle
with each passing year,
because we opened almost all of them on Xmas eve!
It would often be 2 or 3am
by the time we got to bed.
When mom was here,
she was basically the chef and we pitched in
to help with the poutines.
But since she's been gone,
I hadn't dared to try to make them on my own.
But this year, I thought, fuck it!
We're making poutines.
Got to keep the traditions going, right?
So let me share the process with you...
so you'll understand that it's quite a process,
and that I'm not just a big crybaby
who wants her maman. ;)
We started by peeling a 50lb of potatoes.
We normally then grate the potatoes by hand (about 2/3 of the bag)
with a handmade grater like this:
But this year, I had the good fortune
of having a good friend
who has a good mother
who lent us this ELECTRIC grater!!
So we were FLYING through those potatoes!
The grated potatoes look like this,
and we then take this & scoop it up
in these special little bags,
made for me by the same little momma
who lent us the grater. ;)
We fill these bags with the grated potatoes
and then squeeze out the excess water...
although this is where it's tricky,
cause I remember mom saying:
"leave a bit of the water in, but not too much.
It can't be too squishy
otherwise, they'll burst when we cook them!"
So we'd constantly ask: "is this too squishy mom?"
So this year, I asked myself
"would mom think this was too squishy?" ;)
The rest of the potatoes are cooked (1/3 of the 50 lb bag),
salted & mashed,
and then mixed with the grated (and strained) potatoes.
We then form balls with the 2 combined potatoes,
a bit smaller than the size of a softball.
We use pork meat in the middle of the poutine.
My friend laughed when she saw my meat
all lined up like obedient little soldiers on parade.
Some people cook the meat a bit
before putting it in the center of the poutine,
but mom never cooked it, so I didn't either.
We then make a little space
in the middle of the potato mixture,
like a bird's nest,
to fit the meat in there, like this:
...put the meat in, & close it up as gently as we can,
and hope to hell they don't all bust in the pot!! ;)
They are patted down a bit
so they're nice & round,
before gently being put in a pot of boiling water,
and then cooked for 2 hours.
If the water boils too much,
the poutines will burst when they're cooking.
If it doesn't boil enough,
they won't cook well.
It's a fine balance.
We only had 3 burst...
which is not bad, out of 35 poutines.
It is. ;)
But if you can get past the idea
of eating dirty snowballs...
they are SO good!
Of course whenever there's tradition involved,
you wonder if your brain isn't tricked
by all those happy childhood memories
and that the memories are making things taste
so much better than they actually do? ;)
Either way, they were good
and we enjoyed making and eating them!
Mom would be so proud. ;)
Christmas morning breakfast!
Besides the poutines,
I got very little art done
over the past few weeks,
but I did this little acrylic painting (on paper)...
And a crazy one...
done just before Christmas
Micron pen & watercolor on paper.
And this was yesterday,
which I spent mostly outside.
Walking in the trails,
on a beautiful sunny day.
It felt so good to get outside
and to feel the sun on my face.
We're getting a storm today,
so who knows when we'll see the sun again.
I should be back here before the new year,
but if I'm not,
I wish you all a Happy New Year
filled with laughter and lots of love.
Thank you for being here
and for all your comments
and cards & emails
and the support you've shown me
throughout the year.
I appreciate EACH and every one of you.
Hugs to everyone.