Monday, December 20, 2010

The Weekend Report: Saint Lucia Celebration

Oh last weekend before Christmas, you go by to quickly! Seriously, this weekend felt like it was about 2 hours long, and what did I even do?

Well, on Saturday afternoon, we embraced a certain guest blogger’s Swedish heritage and celebrated Saint Lucia Day (a week late, I know). On this traditional Scandinavian holiday, normally celebrated on December 13, Saint Lucia comes as a young woman with a wreath and candles on her head, wearing a white robe and red sash, and bearing sweets. The oldest daughter is supposed to bring her parents coffee and Lucia buns (Lussekattor) in bed, singing Natten går tunga fjät (The Night walks with heavy steps).

6x6 has some Swedish in her…LOTR-Emily and I just sort of resemble the Scandinavians (plus she loves Swedish music). So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we attempted the song and failed miserably (listen to the real thing here). Oh those Northern Europeans and their excessive consonants…
Let’s be real here, the reason we celebrated this rather obscure saint (none of us are Lutheran…and blonde-ish hair is as close as I come to the Swedes), is so we could eat the food!

I was charged with providing the pepparkakor. I don’t have cookie cutters, and didn’t have time to cut shapes by knife, so consider them drop-cookie gingerbread (aka a lazy-woman’s gingerbread…). But they are delicious!

  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 tablespoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • I added white chocolate discs, just for funsies.
  • Place butter in a large, heatproof bowl. In a medium saucepan, heat brown sugar, molasses and spices just to boiling point. Add baking soda and stir in. Pour this mixture over the butter and stir until it melts.
  • Beat egg and mix in; add flour, a cup at a time, and blend thoroughly. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead 1-2 minutes. Wrap in waxed paper and chill until firm (about an hour).
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C).
  • Roll out to approximately 1/8 inch thickness on a lightly floured board and cut into desired shapes. Place on greased baking sheets and bake for 8 - 10 minutes.
  • Remove from sheets and cool on racks; may be decorated with piped icing or whatever else you like!
We foraged in Meridian Hill Park for greenery to make a Saint Lucia wreath for the table, but I prefer my wreaths in cookie form. 

LOTR-Emily made some truly awesome Lussekattor. These rolls are fantastic! They’re traditionally made with saffron, but she substituted turmeric and I’d say it worked perfectly. Click here for the recipe.

And 6x6 made her dad’s famous Swedish pancake. It’s more crepe-ish than pancake-ish, and you eat it with lemon juice and powdered sugar. Yum!

Swedish Pancake
½ cup flour (preferably white)
½ cup milk
3 eggs
A dash of cinnamon
Mix together and bake for 13 minutes in a large frying pan on 425

On Sunday, after a fury of productivity and a failed Christmas shopping attempt, I briefly considered going to yoga.

But in light of the excessively hot class I went to on Saturday (117*!!!!) I opted to do FitTV exercise videos in my apartment instead.

LOTR-Emily have done many ridiculous things together, so why not add more to the list? First we spent some time with Jillian Michaels (from The Biggest Loser). I don’t have hand weights, so Emily used two cans of vegetables, and I used molasses and corn syrup. (I know I know, good call using the two stickiest things in the kitchen to pump over my head to the barked orders of a slightly crazed fitness guru. But nothing disastrous occurred.)

And then we went East. Bollywood Dance Fitness. Bam. Picture us ex-ballet dancers attempting these moves in my very small living room. And laugh hysterically. Do you need a shimmy break? I might…