For having to stay in NYC for Christmas, I think my friends who also couldn't afford the $600 tickets to California and I, did a pretty good job of making it something special. Christmas Eve that is, Christmas Day was a wash that I do not even need to get into here. So at first we decided we were going to do a gift exchange where you pick a name out of a hat and get one gift for someone — but then in the giving spirit of the season we decided, what the heck, why don't we each get everyone a present. I mean there were only four of us (and one added last minute surprise guest). And with the gift giving we would have a proper feast.
I got really into cooking when I was living in Germany last year, but since I have been back in New York it's been harder to keep up for various reasons. But I got back into it for Xmas Eve and decided to make something I had never cooked before. A little risky for a special day, but I wanted to make something festive that looked amazing (or maybe a little scary for some) and hopefully tasted the same. So I bought each of us a whole trout and kept the heads for dramatic effect and made this recipe, along with some seared scallops. With the side dishes the girls made, it all turned out pretty delicious.
But back to the presents: I had never really exchanged gifts like this with friends before but I'll tell you it was a good idea. We hang out with each other pretty much everyday, so I guess it was no surprise that we all ended up with perfect gifts that suited all our likes and styles. No faking an "Oh I love it" when opening a Christmas sweater from your Grandma this year. It was sweet and fun and we all felt like Christmas even though we were far away from our families.
I took a bunch of photos while we cooked (look all the girls wore purple!) but my camera died right before dinner so the rest of the night went undocumented, maybe for the best as we may have been a little overindulgent with the wine. Naturally. Hope you had a special holiday too! Here's ours: