The weather has been decidedly gray and stormy over the past week. I've also been taking finals and recovering from a mild cold, so I've been spending a lot of time around the house. While studying for finals wasn't so fun, there have been other consolations - hanging twinkle lights, decorating our tiny Christmas tree, and doing some little cooking projects.
When Daniel was in college, he did a semester abroad in Australia and the family he stayed with is out in California visiting this week. Since they don't eat wheat, I decided to make a few kinds of ice cream for dessert - Pear Caramel and Panforte. I haven't made ice cream in ages and it was a treat to try out two new flavors. The Panforte involves making candied orange peel, which my mother and I tried back in San Diego over Thanksgiving and burnt to a cinder, so this time I watched the pot very carefully and was rewarded with some very pretty bright orange slivers of candied peel that I added to the ice cream base with a handful of toasted almonds. The Pear Caramel was pretty straightforward - just Bartlett pears cooked in caramel until soft and then sieved. Both were delicious and good flavors for wintertime.
Anyway, I hope everyone is staying warm and cozy and enjoying the holiday season. For our part, we're headed across town tomorrow for cocktails with my parents followed by a performance of Handel's Messiah at Grace Cathedral. Friday is Daniel's work Christmas party and on Saturday we're heading to Marin for another holiday celebration. I do love this time of year.