File this one under why can’t I be everywhere at once? I don’t want to leave my family behind, but I’m looking forward to my next stop.
I have had an amazing Christmas with my family in Albuquerque. This year I flew home on Christmas Eve, and I was graced with happy airline people and kind and somewhat patient fellow flyers. All of my flights were delayed and NO ONE had a meltdown. I feel like our country has finally turned a corner from the 2008 downturn. This year felt like people were looking out for one another instead of fiercely guarding personal territory. A breath of fresh air!
Albuquerque always provides! Every kind of weather, every kind of traffic, every kind of clothing from ten gallon hats and boots to sandals. The joke here is if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes. I have experienced temperatures in the sixties, some snow, gusting winds, and occasional puffy clouds. This morning it was 14 degrees with a clear blue sky. No matter the weather, it is always beautiful.
I saw a great bumper sticker: New Mexico: Not Really New and Not Really Mexico. If you have never been here, you should do something to change that.
I made a good old-fashioned chicken pie in the Central North Carolina method for Christmas dinner. I did some research about this type of chicken pie and found out it is Moravian in origin. That means just chicken with gravy and a pastry top. However, I was required by law to add green chili. There was a request for butternut squash with chipotle and honey, and there were plenty of other traditional and not-so-traditional dishes. The table was beautiful because my sister did her usual magic and decorated with chili lights and holly and a few of the family ornaments. There was no dessert baking involved because we had the official NM holiday cookie called Biscochitos to nibble. One or two of those is enough to convince you that dessert happened.
My next stop is Tucson by way of Phoenix. Those of you in the know are putting two and two together and that equals a visit with Serena. I suspect there will be some espresso and alcohol high-jinx involved with this visit. I will report back when I come down off the caffeine and laughter high!
- 5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 pound lard, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1½ tablespoons ground anise seeds
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 425° F.
- Combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- Sift together 5 cups flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Beat lard in electric mixer, gradually adding sugar until extremely light and fluffy; about 8 minutes.
Stop mixer occasionally to scrape down sides of mixing bowl.
- Add eggs singly, beating in each one before adding the next.
- Mix in dry ingredients, beating only until incorporated. A stiff, piecrust–like dough is what you’re after.
- Add anise seeds.
- Add some or all of remaining flour, as needed, to get the proper consistency.
- Roll the dough out ¼ inch thick on floured work surface and cut into rounds with a 2-inch cutter, then arrange ½ inch apart on cookie sheets. Avoid handling the dough more than necessary.
- I find it easier to roll out between layers of floured parchment paper.
- Bake cookies 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned.
- Remove from oven and arrange on baking racks to cool.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the tops of the warm cookies.