Monday, December 31, 2012

Home for the Holidays

With just a little less than 12 hours until 2013, I can't help but reflect on what a wonderful year it has been. I moved closer to two of my siblings (now if only I could be near the third one too), landed my dream job, and got engaged to the most beautiful man (both inside and out) that I've ever met. I get to wake up everything morning and go to work doing what I love and then come home every night to the man I love. 

Someone pinch me. 

There isn't a better way to end a year then taking a bit of time off to spend with the people you love most. I just spent 9 days with my family (13 of us under one roof!) at my parents vineyard compound in Northern California. The days revolved around food, naturally, and just being together. 

Morning walks through fruit trees and along the bocce court collecting bloomed paper whites and then over to the chicken coop for freshly laid eggs followed by afternoon wild mushroom hunts, and sunset hikes along our favorite beach between Carmel and Big Sur. Evenings were spent making dinners, drinking wine, cozying up by the fire, and playing wild games of dice. 

If anyone has ever wondered how I became so completely and utterly passionate about food (and wine for that matter) then all you need to do is spend 5 minutes with my parents and it will all make total sense. 

My parents are the coolest people I know.  

It is not that they just love food and wine, it is more that they crave to understand and experience the process of its creation. They make wine with the fruits of their vineyard, raise chickens for fresh eggs, grow fruit trees (figs, persimmons, meyer lemons, apples, apricots, etc), have a full-blown lettuce, tomato, and herb garden,  harvest  and press olives from their olive trees for extra virgin olive oil, and most recently began curing meats in the outer room of their wine cellar. It doesn't even stop there... let's not forget a favorite hobby: foraging for mushrooms (porcinis, chanterelles, and candy caps) .They also make vinegars, pickles, and even limoncello from scratch too. 

Being home with them is my happy place.

Here are a few of my favorite snapshots along with a couple captured by my sister and better-half, Boo

[Christmas Eve Stone Crab Feast]

[Christmas Afternoon Nosh Board]

[Estate Grown Chocolate Persimmon]

[Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies w/ Flake Salt for Santa]

[Morning View looking West over the Vineyard]


[Dad's Home-Cured Prosciutto] 

[Late Afternoon Walks on Monastery Beach]

[Morning WSJ & Toasted Bagels with all the fixin's]

[Mom's Chicken Coop]

[My favorite little princesses playing some Bocce]

[Fresh-Laid Eggs]

 [Cold-Pressed Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil]

["Alice in Wonderland" Mushroom from one of our Hunts]

[Wine Braised Short Ribs for Christmas Dinner]

[Heaven on Earth]

[Single Source Cave-Aged Gruyere Fondue]

[Paper Whites - the best smell on this planet]

[The Soon-to-be Mr. & Mrs. Kelly Hendrix]
[Sunset at Monastery Beach]
[Carmel,  California]

Wishing you all très fabulous New Year filled with happiness, health, & all of the best that life can offer!

See you next year! 

xo, LFE