Sue Celebrates the Holidays (21 Guests)


Our Celebration Started…

the weekend before Christmas in beautiful Buck Hill Falls as we prepared for 21 family members to arrive for the holidays.  Saturday, we unpacked the holiday glassware and the giant shiny red ice bucket ringed with jingle bells.  On Sunday we put the finishing touches on decorating the house — lots of Christmas lights for the grandchildren!  Monday morning, I started cooking.  You know by now that my preference is to avoid slaving over a hot stove during a celebration and to spend as much time with our guests as possible.  I believe in balancing “store-bought” with “do it yourself”.  My menu is a combination of years of tradition and family members’ special requests.


Shrimp Cocktail

Lobster Salad

Halibut Salad

Calamari Salad


English Farmhouse Cheddar

Goat Cheese

Truffled Mousse Pate

Italian Olives


Toasted Sesame Seed Crackers

Table Water Crackers

Toasted Raisin Pecan Crisps


Beef Stew in Red Wine

Mashed Potatoes

Buttermilk Scones

Roasted String Beans


Irresistible Tiramisu

Chocolate Chip Cookies


I have shopped at the same fish market for 30 years in our old neighborhood, Forest Hills, NY.  In some ways it’s a “typical” fish market:  all white tile, drain in the middle of the floor and clean and fresh as a whistle.  In other ways there is nothing typical about it. Their shrimp (I buy large, not jumbo) have that perfect balance of the sea and sweetness.  Our entire family is crazy about the salads.  Had I left out any of the three salads, people would have commented that something was missing.

Everyone has their favorites.  The grandchildren gobble up the goat cheese and grapes.  And according to my son Tommy, a cheese board without English farmhouse cheddar simply isn’t complete.  My favorite are the toasted raisin pecan crisps.  I buy them at Eli Zabars.  For years I made chocolate chip cookies from scratch.  One day the grandchildren told me:  “Grandma, we like Tate’s chocolate chip cookies”.  So now, I save myself the work and buy them Tate’s.

I buy the buttermilk scones at Alice’s Tea Cup.   The recipe is on-line if you are a “DIY” –  type.  The tiramisu recipe came from the owner of our favorite local Italian restaurant / pizzeria in our old neighborhood.  I told him that his tiramisu was the finest I ever had and he generously shared his secret recipe. Thanks Joey!


For all of the details on celebrating the holidays with my family, just follow the diva to our website.


Mimi Celebrates the Holidays (3-5 Guests)


Christmas Started in Brooklyn…

Brooklynites who don’t have a “wfp” (working fireplace) plug the Christmas tree in right next to the yule log on the TV.   Classy!  Our morning started with my 28-year-old stepson Jeff, who gives the greatest gifts.  He challenged my cooking skills with an assortment of duck products.  (I had to google duck rillettes to figure out what to do with them.)  My husband treated us to authentic “Christmas Vacation” moose mugs for our morning orange juice.  Again, classy just like his  treasured collection of Christmas toys under our tree.  (This is a family – friendly website so I won’t tell you what they actually do.)  Today is a marathon of eating and drinking so we had juice, coffee and fresh-baked Pillsbury cinnamon rolls while we exchanged gifts.


Our cat , Bogey, gets in on the Christmas action.


Our Christmas Continues …

in our beautiful mountain top  community of Buck Hill Falls.  My sister and her friend were joining us for Christmas Brunch.

Christmas Brunch


Banana Bread with Whipped Cream Cheese

Scrambled Eggs on Potato Pancakes 

topped with 

Crisped Duck Rillettes

Mom’s Mocha Drops



Follow the diva to our website for the “how to” on putting together a diva-worthy  holiday brunch.