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.
CHEESE BOARD AND PATE
English Farmhouse Cheddar
Truffled Mousse Pate
Toasted Sesame Seed Crackers
Table Water Crackers
Toasted Raisin Pecan Crisps
Beef Stew in Red Wine
Roasted String Beans
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.