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

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

After Christmas

Hello! I hope everyone has been having a wonderful holiday. For me Christmas is so fun, so exciting, such a joy to gather friends and family [as best I can] around my table to celebrate the season. So much anticipation---for months!

So much planning and effort, yes, enjoyable, but...then....boom. It's over.
There was a cute Snoopy cartoon online, "Christmas is over, I'm ready for summer." It's a letdown!

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When I was a little girl the festivities lasted the entire week or more, all through until January 5th, tree taking down day. We got off school the week before Christmas, so the holiday seemed to last forever. My parents often hosted a big grown-ups-only party during this week. I loved seeing my mom in her chiffon cocktail dresses and very high heels. One year her dress was apricot!, instead of black. I loved that dress. My parents would almost entirely redecorate the house for New Years. The tree would stay but the holy-pine-Santa stuff would be gone, everything would be silver and gold, with ornaments hung from the ceiling lights, trays of glittery glasses and intriguing bottles of obscure liqueurs to sneak a taste in thimble sized crystal goblets. Champagne at midnight in vintage ''flutes'' with hollow stems that showed off the champagne bubbles.

Some years my dad would make masks for everyone, silver and gold with feathers; another year crowns for all the partiers, again silver and gold with glitter. Oh and those funny loud paper horns, and sparklers!

Some years they were into cocktails...there was a glass and chrome shaker and more specialized glasses. Martinis/ Manhattans---eeew when you're six or even ten. But also Grasshoppers and White Russians, Bellinis and mimosas.  My dad often cooked--filet mignon and duchesse potatoes* at midnight on New Years; party foods like Kentucky ham and pheasant and roast pork loin would appear on the buffet.

New Years Eve dessert was a ball of peppermint ice cream, frozen extra hard in a round mold, then rolled in coconut to form a ''Snowball''. These would be set into a stemmed crystal cup on a bed of chocolate sauce or creme de menthe. A single birthday candle would be stuck in each and lit: ''Happy Birthday! Happy New Year,'' we'd scream.

The  point is: my expectations are high. Here's my menus.

Christmas Eve
savory antipasto, with cheeses and three kinds of salami, olives, hummus. 
Champagne brought always by a good friend.

Main course

spinach stuffed mushrooms.

Peppermint ice cream
Cookie and sweets [marzipan etc] tray for dessert

Christmas Day

"sweet" antipasto: apples/ orange/ lemon slices; sweet cheeses, 
cocktail cookies from Trader Joe's.

Horseradish crusted Prime Rib with gravy

creamy horseradish sauce/ onion-garlic chutney
Wild rice pilaf
asparagus with Bearnaise sauce and fresh herbs

creamed onions

 assorted red wines

Dessert~ Cranberry lemon bars.

I was so busy cooking and serving I did not get good pictures, too bad. But all was tasty and enjoyable. The new butcher provided us with a delicious roast, the main event!

I was exhausted, but not in too much pain, so I consider the dinners --and gifts, well-liked!--a success.
Today I rearranged some things in the house. Mo and I were able to sit on the deck and sew---60*.

New Years will be quiet, as my family is elsewhere now. Mo and I will enjoy a quiet midnight, watching for fireworks on the ships far out at sea.

What do you do for New Year's Eve/ Day?



gone to the beach...


Duchesse Potatoes

Use a muffin tin or 3 1/2" tart pans

use both parts of a  store bought pie crust to make tiny tart/pie shells. 
Bake 350* for 12 minutes. 
Filling: mashed potatoes, sour cream, grated white cheddar, minced onions, butter, to taste. 
Bacon bits optional. 
Whip the filling with a fork til fluffy, then fill the tiny tart crusts. 
Mound the filling up pretty.
Dab of butter in each center, plus a fine sprinkle of paprika. 

Bake about 25 minutes until the potato tops are browning lightly.

Remove carefully, I use a fork.

Serve with bacon-wrapped filet mignon grilled in the open fireplace. 
Hollandaise sauce
And Champagne.