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Winter Holiday Fireside Moments: Interview with Rosemary Harris

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It’s that time of year when the chill in the frosty air brings us indoors to hunker down with thick comforters and mugs of steaming hot chocolate overflowing with fluffy marshmallows.  When holiday music and movies become the soundtrack to our everyday home lives. When we gather ‘round the fire for company, drink, food and love.  When we are celebrating and remembering those we treasure and hold near and dear.  When the real meaning of the season is family – by our DNA or by our heart.  When we reflect and give thanks for all we have. In a nutshell, unconditional love.

I’d like to welcome Rosemary Harris to share the beauty of the season with us.

Favorite Holiday tradition? 

 Trimming the tree.

Favorite childhood toy?  

Easy Bake Oven set

Favorite childhood game? 

Monopoly

Snowball fight or making snow families?

Snowball fight…and keeping one in the freezer until my mother threw it out. (It’s amazing how yucky they look after a few months.)

Sleigh rides, sledding or skiing?

Cross-country-skiing

Favorite Holiday song?

Little Drummer Boy (Marlene Dietrich version and Bing Crosby/David Bowie version)

Favorite holiday movie?

Love, Actually, but for classics, the Alistair Sim version of A Christmas Carol

Favorite holiday story to read?

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

Snow on holiday eve or just a chill in the air?

Snow!!

Most memorable holiday memory?  

Last year, Midnight mass in St Peter’s and having the Pope kiss a baby that was right next to me.

Did you eat popcorn balls as a kid? If you did, do you still?

Ick!

Real tree or artificial? Green or white?

Real

What do you holiday eve?

Now it’s in-laws, but growing up it was a real Neapolitan Christmas Eve with seven different types of fish.

What are your holiday plans this year?

Holiday party for my oldest friends and then family.

What’s the one holiday dish your family can’t go without?

Martha Stewart’s Cranberry Tart

Please share a Holiday recipe.

Sadly I don’t have my mother’s recipe for struffoli but Mario Batali’s is very close.

Struffoli

  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 6 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced, plus 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon limoncello
  • 4 cups canola or peanut oil, for frying
  • 2 cups honey
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

In a mixing bowl, place flour, eggs, yolk, zest of 1 lemon, orange zest , salt, and limoncello and mix well to form a firm dough, 8 to 10 minutes. Place in the refrigerator and allow to rest 30 minutes.

Remove from the refrigerator and cut golf ball-sized pieces of dough from the main batch. Roll each ball into a 1/2-inch thick dowel (rope) and cut each dowel into 1/2-inch pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and continue until finished with all dough.

In a 12 to 14-inch skillet with at least 3-inch sides, heat the oil to 375 degrees F. Drop enough balls in to cover about half of the surface of frying oil and cook until dark golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to turn them regularly, and expect them to puff up while cooking. As they finish, remove them to a tray covered with paper towels, and drain well. This should take at least 5 batches.

When all of the struffoli are cooked, heat the honey, lemon juice, and zest together in a wide 6 to 8 quart saucepan until quite warm, about 150 degrees F, and substantially thinner. Add struffoli to honey and stir carefully until well coated. Remove from heat and allow to cool 5 minutes in the pan, stirring regularly. Pour out into a large serving tray in the form of either a pyramid or a ring mold. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

Holiday party tip? 

I used to make a wicked eggnog (Joy of Cooking recipe) but no one drinks it anymore so I’ve switched to a holiday punch – usually cranberry or pomegranate based but this year I’m trying ginger sparklers. I think punch is more festive than regular drinks – and less alcoholic so people can drive home safely!

Favorite holiday decoration?

Pine cones…I have them in baskets everywhere

Please share some magical holiday memories?

Singing carols with all my cousins at my grandmother’s house, gigantic antipastos, carrying home the tree with my father and sister while my mother stayed home and baked…

Wrap, gift bag or bow & go?

Wrap (but when things get hectic, gift bags are lifesavers!)

Gifts or gift cards?

Gifts

Do you eat fruitcake?

 Nope.

Do you head to the movies on the 25th?
No…we watch dvds or basketball.
 
What’s in your stocking? *wink* 

Still filling them..mostly books and dvds..

What do you want in your stocking? *saucy wink aka swink* 

Since it’s unlikely that Russell Crowe, Roger Federer or Ryan Gosling can fit in a stocking, I wouldn’t mind a stocking filled with sparkly things…earrings, a bracelet…honey are you reading this??

Do you head out on the 26th into the madness to exchange or shop for anything?

Nope. Time to recover and start my diet.

Thank you so much.

Happy Holidays from my house to yours!

Visit Rosemary’s website and blog for the latest news.

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About Diane Morasco

  • http://notesfromme.wordpress.com Dru

    That was nice. I remember my first seven fishes meal.