Sunday, December 18, 2011
Holiday Blow Out
I woke to a bit of snow and ice on the ground, a perfect, crisp weekend for a gathering with friends up north.
A little Christmas cheer, with music, snacks and desserts and drinks, for about a dozen friends, mostly of the non blogger variety, all fans of trains, planes and automobiles.
I was working Party War Room for planning (OK, where is the tiny pie crust recipe?) Partner in Grime and I both love to cook and this was going to be a fun day of preparation with my being able to help him with a few of my own recipes. (click on the photos to enlarge)
Baking was started at first light, and cooking continued on until 6 pm when the first of the guests arrived. We kept busy, talking shop and other things while things baked, simmered and seared.
The buffet was laid out with adult beverages, and there was going to be plenty to eat.
Before the outside light gave out, the 60's retro aluminum Christmas tree went up in the parlor, with a original, rotating color wheel (come on, I remember having one of these as a kid).
As a plane flew over on the way into the airport some miles East, I thought it might be fun to have it on the big front porch but I could see it now. "uh. . tower, we saw some lights, not a laser strike, thank god, but we see colors, there's four of them, red and green and orange and red?. . . .what the??. . .(just kidding, it's not hardly bright enough for the tree, but it did bring back some memories).
The menu (the evening light and my briefcase camera did not make for the best of photos) was as follows:
Cream Cheese topped with Homemade Jalapeno Jelly (a dip combonation you have to try) with triscuits and vegetable sticks.
My famous Hot Sweet Onion Dip, for which the recipe was requested by many, served with wedges of fresh Pita bread.
2 cups chopped sweet onion
3/4 cup 2% sharp cheddar
1 teaspoon hot smoked Hugarian Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Heavy Metal Hot hot sauce
1 cup mayo
dash of pepper
Mix and top with 1/2 cup grated fresh parmeson and a dash of more smoked, hot paprika
Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes until bubbling.
E's homemade yeast rolls, cut in half and topped with:
(1) goat cheese and sautied mushrooms and herbs, then broiled
(2) steak marinated in vermouth then rubbed with espresso salt and chipotle and seared, on top of pepper jack, also broiled
Finger sandwiches: Turkey, cranberry and cheese or ham and cheese club on toasted sourdough and honey wheat.
An assortment of cookies including my Mom's Rosette recipe.
Plus small, hand crafted mincemeat pies, sliced apples with caramel cream dip, peanut butter and chocolate cookies, Pfeffernusse, dark chocolate/ cherry biscotti (yum, thanks I. !), eggnog and don't forget the trifle, made with a homemade butter rum pound cake, french vanilla custard and berries.
There was no big screen TV, no fuss other than food, just lots of conversation and laughter, card games and quips, and remembrances of parties past (last year there were marshmallow guns). As always, big fun watching our host, Partner, with a butane torch, finishing off the classic touch to the evening, fresh creme brule served with hot mulled wine and coffee. Everyone went home with a little plate of goodies and wishes for the best of New Years. All in all a wonderful evening, with new and old friends, a perfect holiday blow out.
However, I managed to blow out my knee as well (no, NOT playing Twister, but with slippery outside surface) the morning after the event. I'd wrenched it badly a couple days ago, when Barkley on his leash, decided to go East when I was going West. It hurt like blazes but seemed a little better, so I just kept trucking. But today, crossing the street in a hurry, I went down hard, the knee just giving out with a pop. I tried to just get up and get on my way, hopping out to the truck in traffic (think frogger) and heading home but E insisted on taking me to the emergency room (poker face, I am not and it was about as pleasant as a bag of spiders.)
They diagnosed a possible torn miniscus. A pair of "don't ask what the insurance is going to bill me for the crutches", some hydrocodone to help me get through the night and off I went, under orders to put my leg up on ice (frozen peas were recommended) for 24 hours and stay off it and then go see an orthopedic guy in IND. I do say the Chicago hospital was happy to have a patient in the ER that spoke English and had insurance and they took good care of me (though the every so kind, middle aged admittance nurse did NOT buy the story about the jet ski accident while being chased by Ninjas, but it sounded better than "I busted a move".)
So I won't be home for a couple of days (and yes, Partner or Midwest Chick or Mr. B. will drive me back to IND where my doctor is if need be), but I am surrounded by those that care about me. I couldn't quite make it to eat at the dining room, but on a leaf from the dining room table, with a grand dinner of pasta with green and black pepper, olive oil, parmasan and mushrooms, with red pepper puree and pitas and. . of course. . green beens.
Life is full of surprises, but with friends who love you, you can get through the holiday blow out, or whatever life hands you.