Yes, hello. I’m still here. It’s funny how a mere 4 days’ absence can feel like a decade when I’m used to being umbilically connected to this place. I have missed you guys, but didn’t want to be the little raincloud that popped up over your head every time you stopped by for a visit.
(Also, I’ve been teaching in Red Deer the past two evenings, arriving home tonight and last at close to midnight. Yesterday, having been up since 5:30, I couldn’t bring myself to open my laptop.)
To bring you up to speed on the past few days, I’ll give you the Coles notes: I survived Saturday, in no small part due to Pierre. A chili cook-off at the Ramsay Christmas Fair on Sunday, more sad news from friends, and the arrival of other friends from BC, whose coming provided ample excuse to make beef bourguignon and open some wine.
Monday we baked dark fruitcake (the very best therapy, I’m telling you) and took the kids to see
A Christmas Carol (the movie) which – by the way? SCARY. Dark. Heavy. Very traditional Dickens (save for the occasional poke at religion, which I don’t recall in any versions I’ve seen) – spectacular effects, but all in all not as lightened/humoured by Jim Carrey or the Disney title as I expected. The kids aren’t particularly inclined to be scared of stuff, but we spent half the movie covering their 3D glasses with our hands. I may have nightmares. About the $45 popcorn tab and over $100 admission between the 8 of us, at least.
And today, after the dog park and W’s gymnastics and before I drove to Red Deer, I retrieved some sausages from the freezer, grilled them and topped them with spiced figs from last week. It was a tapas menu item I stumbled upon that struck me as particularly tasty, and it was.
Grilled Pork Sausages with Spiced Figs
adapted from Bon Appétit, September 2007
1 cup red wine vinegar
3/4-1 cup sugar
1 pkg. dried black Mission figs (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cinnamon stick or 1 sprig of rosemary
1 tsp. cornstarch (optional)
5 sweet Italian link pork sausages (about 1 pound)
In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, figs and cinnamon stick or rosemary and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat for about half an hour, until the figs are plump and the liquid is syrupy. If you like, dissolve the cornstarch in about 2 tsp. water and add it to the mixture to thicken it a little; bring back to a boil for at least 2 minutes to allow it to thicken and get rid of any starchy texture.
Meanwhile, grill the sausages until almost cooked through; holding them with tongs, cut them in half lengthwise, then throw them back on the grill for a few minutes, cut-side down, until char-marked on the bottom.
Serve each sausage half topped with a few figs and some sauce. Serves 10.
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