Merry (Belated) Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday so far. Bryan and I have been blessed to have an entire week off from work. We’ve been visiting family – spending quality time with my parents, sister, brother-in-law, and 1-year old nephew.

Of course, that also means we’ve been eating way too much.

Hot Pot Soup
Christmas lunch: Hot Pot Noodles Soup

In accordance with our family tradition, we had a Chinese hot pot for dinner on Christmas Eve. It’s something we’ve done on Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember.

One of the best “side effects” of a hot pot are the leftovers. During Christmas lunch the next day, my mom prepares bowls of hot, piping noodle soup made with the leftover hot pot broth. The broth itself is super flavorful, brimming with complex flavors from all the goodies cooked in the hot pot from the night before.  To that broth, my mom adds fresh noodles and lots of fresh vegetables, tofu, and meat. On a cold, snowy morning, there’s nothing that’s hits the spot like this satisfying soup.
For dinner on Christmas this year, our family made our own Taiwanese “lumpia“, or fresh hand-rolled spring rolls.  I’m sure every culture makes these slightly differently. My mom’s version includes pork, cabbage, carrots, eggs, pickled turnips, and (mostly importantly), crushed sugared peanuts. I absolutely love the complex mix of textures and flavors in this flavor-packed roll – it’s absolutely addictive.

Finally, the day after Christmas, we had simple stir-fried vermicelli, which was both comforting, healthy, and totally reminded me of home. My mom told me that the secret to making good vermicelli is to soak the dried vermicelli in cold water before cooking. Hot water degrades the noodles too much and causes them to break apart when you stir fry it.

Who knew?
Australia ChristmasJen in Sydney, Australia, where Christmas decorations begin in early November

Though it’s been super relaxing being pampered by my mom while she cooks every single meal for us, I’m also anxious to get back into the kitchen. I’ve been inspired recently to try out new recipes from The Modernist at Home (a gift I received from Bryan) as well as playing with my new pressure cooker (which apparently is needed for many of the recipes in that book). It’s also been awhile since I’ved baked, and I’m in the mood to make some super cute cookies – maybe of Domokun or The Snowman.
Snowman in the snow
The Snowman in Ohio

We’ll soon resume the Tasting Tour of Tokyo series, as well as explore some great local Boston-area restaurants I’ve tried in the past month.

For now, however, relax, slow down, and savor this special time of year.

Merry Christmas!

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