HOLIDAY GATHERINGS

DEC. 2012

We have participated in some delightful holiday gatherings over the past couple of weeks.  In an earlier blog entry, we shared details about our wine/beer/cheese pairing event.  Here are a couple of glimpses of other opportunities that we have enjoyed with friends.

ECHOES OF JOY–Two parents from my school invited me to attend a special dinner event at their church.  One of the highlights of the event are the beautifully decorated tables.  Here are a few:

photoThis was our table – several nativity scenes from around the world were displayed.

photoI loved this table – a baker’s delight!

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Along with a spirit filled program of music and words, we enjoyed a fabulous dinner.   A juicy, fruited chicken breast filled with flavorful stuffing, accompanied by roasted vegetables and a light and refreshing salad.


BHWC PROGRESSIVE DINNER–
Three of my neighbors and myself hosted this year’s Balcones Hills Women’s Club December party.  The evening began at our home with the appetizer course.  We served a fun assortment of cheeses from Antonelli’s and my cranberry chutney butter spread with a multigrain baguette from Central Market.

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Cranberry Chutney Butter Spread with multigrain baguette

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Thomasville Tomme, Nancy’s Camembert and Big Woods Blue

I also have to show off the beautiful roses from my 25th Hill Anniversary celebration.  They added so much to my simple table decorations.

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…and a close up look at this cleaver idea I saw on Martha Stewart’s website – she put live flowers in her wine glasses.  I decided to showcase my collection of flute ornaments.

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10043_10102641615642950_495565053_nMOLE MAKING PARTY–Our 3rd annual mole making party was a hit again.  We have learned that you can purchase all of the necessary ingredients in one trip if you head over to Fiesta Market, east of I-35.  Several friends came over to lend a hand with all of the prep work – mostly chopping and frying.   Now that I have made it three times with the help of a dear friend, I think I could go solo if I had to next time around.  We finished in record time!  I can not wait to dive into to finished product on New Year’s Eve.  It is currently resting and developing flavor in my fridge.

PS – for dinner we enjoyed baked potatoes with fixin’s – including a great cowboy chili (thanks Mike).  Dessert was a chocolate shortbread with ice cream and gelato.

Yum!!

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CHRISTMAS DAY 2012– Christmas Day found us with the Carmack Clan (Debra’s family).   Papa cooked up another amazing turkey with the BEST stuffing ever!  Only to be outdone by his AWESOME gravy!  Impossible to recreate (with pictures or words) the smells, textures and flavors of these three critical components of the holiday dinner.  Papa is the master – every year it is perfection.  Thanks Dad.  Love you!!

… oh yes, the Pumpkin Pie was pretty darn delicious too.  Perfect with a small dollop of whipped cream.  I am bias, however.  It is my all-time favorite dessert, when it is made by way of my Mom’s recipe.  Nothing fancy.  Just the recipe on the back of the Libby’s can (with a little extra spices) and fat free Cool Whip.  Heaven on a plate.

NEW YEAR’S EVE 2012-  (I know… No pictures) It is hard to believe that 2013 is here!  We brought in the New Year with our 3rd Annual Mole Eating Bash.  As always, the food is wonderful, but my favorite part of the evening is spending it with friends.  Thanks to everyone who joined us for the festivities.

THE MENU:

* Cheese Platter – three lovely cheeses provided by one of our dinner guests.  She purchased all of the cheeses at HEB (Her HEB has a cheesemonger!).

Drunken Goat from Spain. http://cheese.about.com/od/internationalcheese/p/drunken_goat.htm

La Peral Blue Cheese from Spain. http://forevercheese.com/products/la-peral-blue/

La Tur – 3 milk soft ripened cheese from Italy (sheep, goat and cow). This was a new cheese for us, and we loved it!  I found this blog, which has a great entry about this exciting cheese from the Piedmont Region  http://reluctantgourmet.com/component/k2/item/806:la-tur-cheese

* Mole Chicken – the Chapa family recipe

* Mexican Rice – made in our reliable rice cooker.  Add 2 cups rice, 3 ½ cups of chicken broth and ½ cup of a tomato/garlic/onion puree to the rice cooker.  Start.  Done.

* Pinto Beans – made in the slow cooker.  Soak the dried pintos overnight in the crockpot.  Add a ham hock or two (I had a spiral-sliced ham, so after I removed as much of the ham as I could, I just put the bone in the crockpot with the beans), add water to cover and cook all day on LOW.

* Butternut Squash tamales with Borracho Sauce – brought by one of our guests.  These were amazing!  If I can get my hands on the recipe I will share.

* Sopapilla Cheescake Pie – YUM!  Here is the recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/sopapilla-cheesecake-pie/

Hope all of you have enjoyed some culinary treats this holiday season!

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