Delicious! From appetizers to dinner to dessert at my aunt and uncle's.....what a gorgeous day. I'm glad for your "where are your food pictures?" questions...My nephew took these and approached me last night and asked "So, Auntie Z, you want the food pictures like always?" "Yup, I sure do...!"
Some of you've asked "So where are the Christmas food shots,Z?" I just got them from my wonderful nephew and thought I'd post them now: This was at Mom's house, 30 of us, and we had a delicious night! In the picture are carrots cooked in honey and sauteed pancetta, roasted potatoes, ham and (very unusual for our Christmas feast) salmon served room temperature with a lovely yogurt/dill sauce. I published the second dinner pic because of the RICE PILAF which is always manna from heaven! There was a huge salad with avocado and tomatoes and baby cucumbers, baby corn and hearts of palm, too. yummy.
This is an Armenian dessert that is fabulous...a thick, sweet mixture of dry fruits that reconstitute and barley which is softened with them...sounds awful. Tastes delicious! My sister also made paklava with cream instead of walnuts which is divine but I don't have a shot of that;
What did you guys eat for Christmas..? I can't wait to hear!
First, let me thank everybody who asks "are you going to have pictures of Thanksgiving?" I appreciate it and love posting them. The most delicious thing of the night was the amazing parmesan bread pudding that was really more like a souffle and fabulous! It's in the second picture down to the left of mashed potatoes.. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving and hope you all did, too! We were 34 people, not including the new baby who was happily announced...making it 35 (in April!) Here are some pictures from yesterday that my nephew took for me (thanks, J!) The top picture is the appetizer table...kind of Middle Eastern, with my mother's amazing stuffed grape leaves, salamis, hummus, string cheese, taramasalata, Armenian breads, vegetables, etc... delicious! Dinner gets more traditional later!
I added the photo of the ubiquitous turkey because our friend/blogger Cube asked in a comment "Where's the turkey!?" before I posted it.
I want to, again, thank my aunt and uncle for a great day!
I had such fun writing this (it erupted, it wasn't written!), so I hope you enjoy it, too...
Some of you have even been at my home for dinner; Like Matisse, FrogBurger and Priscilla, who are esteemed commenters at my blog (Pris is also a wonderful article contributor).....Blogger FreeThinke knows me through photos of dinner parties I've given over the years, my table settings, etc...(he's a terrific entertainer from the pix he's sent me, I must add, and we've had fun sharing)... So, the bottom line is I'm a pretty good cook and have been told I'm a good hostess.I LOVE having people over; that's all you need, so it's really no talent!
Having said that; I SCREWED UP the other night. SCREWED UP!
I haven't entertained 1/10th as much as when my dear Mr. Z was alive; he loved having people over even more than I did and, by the way, he helped me a LOT, which is wonderful considering he was a HUSBAND :-) There's a German saying "What you don't have in your mind, I have in my legs" ...he'd say that, and off he'd go to the grocery store (again) for something I'd forgotten to buy, bless him! I say all of this to tell you another tip: If you haven't entertained lately, you might have lost the GROOVE. I have....I am very well prepared and 'have it down' normally....since I haven't entertained at all lately, I'm well out of the groove, trust me. And it showed....and it prompts this comment, the point of my post here:
DO NOT SERVE A HEAVY HOT DINNER ON A VERY HOT NIGHT NO MATTER IF YOU HAVE AIR CONDITIONING OR NOT. (is that loud enough?)
There we were, six people here...Matisse (a woman friend who I introduced to everyone as 'my date tonight'!), FrogBurger and his lovely and smart wife Lorrie, and a teacher (SO smart) at the school with which I'm associated, and his wonderful wife. It was about 90 degrees outside, but I thought "So what? I have AC! and they'll love this Armenian dinner!" uh huh.
I have a two story condo that's not huge....with six people here, it felt like I had NO AC (when they read this, they will not be amused when they hear I had the AC on the next night and felt like I was in a meat locker!). That night they were here, I was spritzing. FrogBurger's wife thought she was catching a bug that day so she wore a light SWEATER (poor thing!)...but everyone was so gracious and I'm hoping nobody was as uncomfortable as I was. Of course, a hostess is always kind of spritzing because you're running around pouring more wine, etc..but...man, it was HOT. I'd served a kind of Armenian VERY thin flat bread for hors'doeuvres, with really good Feta cheese, big, fat kalamata olives, and thinly sliced prosciutto..... FrogBurger had brought a fabulous bottle of red wine called Cahors, which I'd never had even in Paris, where I lived for four years. BUY ONE, it's my new fave. I served white wine, too.
OK......so we get through that...good conversation, appetizers, and then dinner; Stuffed vegetables served the Armenian way (called DOLMA in Armenian)....I scoop zucchini out with a special scooper and I save the innards (more on that in a second)...I cut the tops off tomatoes and scoop out those innards...I cut bell pepper tops off....and I stuff all of this with ground lamb, rice, tomatos, S&P, parsley and MINT. THAT is the secret; lots of mint. The second secret (which is now not a secret) is LEMON JUICE. DO not boil in broth or water, just throw in the juice of plenty of LEMONS and that is FABULOUS (if I do say so myself!). (for those who have made stuffed vegetables, don't pile too high in a high pot like I did...I usually cook it in something lower and wider so all the veggies have a chance to steep in the lemon juice so not only the lower levels are juicy, like the case that night)
The best part of that dinner is what I do to the Zucchini innards...chopping it all up finely, salting it and letting it 'leach' the water out...squeezing it dry and then throwing into the dry zucchini innards some beaten eggs and jack cheese and parsley, S&P...this makes a kind of firm souffle (less firm if you don't cook it too long, like I did that night, while I waited forever for the stuffed veggies to cook about forty minutes past the forty-five minutes they should have cooked in.."WHY?!") EVERYBODY loves that souffle. And they were no exception, even in this heat.
For dessert, I served white peaches sauteed in sugar and butter...on vanilla ice cream, with a Pirouette cookie.........that was pretty nice. On another night, I'd have realized IT'S HOT, DO NOT WARM THE PEACHES, the ROOM is doing that all by itself!
For those of you who know the film, I felt like ALICE ADAMSthat night (with Katherine Hepburn).........(if you read that link, pay particular attention to the dinner party mention!). (I told my guests I felt like the marvelous Hatti McDaniels that night with her maid's cap wilting in the heat)
My tip is this: EVEN IF YOU DO HAVE AC, DON'T MAKE A VERY HOT, HEAVY DINNER FOR GUESTS.
I don't usually apologize for my dinner parties, I usually don't have to!....but I did learn something that night (you're never too old), I see humor in that night, I saw gracious guests who overcame the heat better than I did (thank you, folks), and I hope you see the humor in it, too, since you've read this far!
rant finished! (i'm not even reading this again to edit, it was painful living through it, and then writing about it...I don't need a third time)
Makes almost 50 and FREEZES well.. These are absolutely perfect for a cocktail party or a football party, or you're having a few friends in and want to serve them something you made with a drink before dinner...they're the perfect munch for drinks or even on the side at a luncheon or dinner party! ENJOY!
2 cups Rice Krispies
2 cups flour
2 Cups shredded sharp cheddar
1 cup melted butter
¾ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp salt
Mix dry ingredients
Melt butter and mix butter slowly into dry ingredients..
Make into small balls...like a walnut
Bake at 350 Degrees...20-25 minutes.
If you enjoy these as much as I do, don't thank me, thank my friend Wendy! :-)