I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

Saying farewell to the year just past....

and an interesting beach find, wisdom in the year ahead?

Good luck? Or just a curiosity? Look at those eys!

The last sunset of 2012...goodbye, Old Year!

Hello, New Year...

Happy New Year to everyone!



         gone to  the beach...!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Traditional Christmas Dinner

Hi! I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season! We had a lovely Christmas, family and friends and lots of good food, if I do say so myself. [since I am the sole cook around here.]

We open our gifts on Christmas Eve...we start with champagne and a big platter of antipasto: cheeses and salamis. And this year I added a bowl of hot popcorn just for fun. After the gifts we have a late dinner of lasagna and salad, then usually peppermint ice cream, but this year I couldn't find any---we had cookies and chocolates instead. This is a very relaxed and casual gathering, family time, just for us.

Then Christmas Day dinner...

a sit down meal using many plates and silverware and starched vintage napkins.

Pretty candles and real holly....

Over the years I have invented the use of tea towel placemats which protects my antique Swedish linen cloth from inevitable spills..and looks cute too.

Oddly I cannot recall what my mother served for Christmas dinner, but we always have prime rib roast beef.


wine and cheese

salad: baby lettuce with radicchio and pears, goats cheese
and balsamic vinaigrette

main course:

Prime rib with horseradish-mustard crust, brown gravy
and/ or
creamy horseradish sauce

red wine

potato pie
[mashed red potatoes, sour cream, green onions, bacon bits]

crisp-sauteed brussel spouts with chestnuts

and a new recipe: butternut squash gratin with Gorgonzola and sage 

dessert, served a bit later,

rum and creme de cacao soaked red velvet cake,
with a chocolate chip cannoli-style filling,


The gratin recipe is here , photo is from the Delish website.

That page also has good links for "Cooking with Winter Produce"..if you're feeling like you'd like some yummy veggies about now. As for this recipe..it was very good, and I will make it again. But I will simple bake/ roast the squash and onions first, instead of the separate steaming and sauteing. Butternut squash can be watery when steamed; it becomes much denser and more flavorful when roasted. Then I  will add the topping at the end. This will make it much easier, too.

The red velvet cake was a mix! With my tweaking...and its main problem was that it broke coming out of the pan. I swirled the filling down into the batter. Better to leave on top so it doesn't go through and stick. I added rum and tiny chocolate morsels to the mix filling, and when the cake was cooled I returned it to the pan and poured in the rum and creme de cacao. Amaretto would have been nice too.

I have NO idea what makes it Red Velvet, best not to ask? Back in the day I think beet juice was used which is possibly more 'eeew' than the likely red food coloring.

Anyway, the rum cheers everyone up and my baking shortcoming are lost in the haze of repletion and good cheer.

I love the glow of these thrift shop mercury glass candles
very warm and festive

Happy Holidays, again, and a Peaceful Happy New Year to all...



               gone to the beach.....

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

May your days be merry

                      and bright...!

Happy holidays!



...gone to the beach

Monday, December 24, 2012

Waiting for Santa

This afternoon at the beach:
Happy Holidays, my little friend!
  Yes, here we are at the beach, waiting for Santa to arrive. So exciting!

I think I am on schedule [sort of] with my lists!
And the house looks festive and "Nordic" in its red-and-white Christmas ''dress"?

Someday I hope to do an all white beachy Christmas...but my traditional  German /Swiss/French style always prevails. So much of Christmas, is, for me, revisiting family tradition, cherishing their memories...my great-grandmother's turkey red tablecloth [above], my other great-grandmother's white lace pillowcases. The lighthouse tree topper we bought years ago on a snowy day in Greenwich Village, in NYC. My dad's Noah's ark, my mother's silver. My aunt's etched wine glasses, thin and sheer as soap bubbles. And I take joy in seeing these treasures each year, even though they are not the white and modern I sometimes aspire to....here

The wind was so chilling. I put my coziest white and lacy flannel sheets on the bed, the biggest poufiest down comforter, and my favorite holiday quilt, a Mennonite beauty from my mom...

And I hung up a pretty patchwork stocking, just for fun....(just in case!).

I washed and fluffed up my holiday apron. I made this when I was in college, it's travelled with me, and has made millions of holiday cookies over all the years. The trim was brought from Switzerland by my grandma when I was maybe 6 or 7, though I admit it is just a commonplace woven band. Special to me though. (My mother had asked for 10 yards of Tyrolean ribbon, I have no clue why,lol.)

We hung up our stockings...

Made the lasagna and did a bit of the Christmas Day food prep, but really...If I cooked it today by Tuesday night it would just be leftovers, so mostly it is just waiting for the proper time.
And I think the red velvet cake is a flop..the rum I poured on will redeem it though! Or so I am hoping...

I finished the decorations. I don't gussy up the living room until Christmas Eve because it just gets too cluttery for me. And I did buy strings of white lights [2.99 at Stop n Shop] for indoors, but I don't think I'll get them up this year.

19th century turkey red damask pillow;
American homespun linen c. 1900 heart pillow,
red and white w/ cheddar homespun quilt, c.1850? very fine and old...
blue Shaker end table made by my dad.

Entry hall...

Living room wall...

Angels from Cape Cod, from my mother....

Some close-ups of the tree...

I finished Anneke the rescued angel from the thrift shop. I hung her on an inside door.

Her garland needs work, but I think she is so adorable! And just look at these cutie feet! She is so happy now...


Some things old, some things new...a special heart from my friend LN, next to the souvenir crock from the NYC flea market.

I hope your holidays bring you joy, and good memories old and new. Celebrate, enjoy, dear friends!



gone to the beach....