Sunday, December 2, 2007
Hi! Welcome!! I'm so happy to see you - thank you so much for coming! What's that? Oh, it looks delicious, let me take your coat. I know! The roads are so icy this morning, I'm glad you got here safely!
Who's that playing on the iPod? Sufjan Stevens! I'd heard of him, but never heard his music until last year, and Charley picked it up as a gift for a friend, and we decided to get it too. It's so festive and mellow, isn't it?
Help yourself to the table - I've made Brie topped with fresh cranberry relish, and there are some dipping crackers next to it on the table, and some yummy chile & cheese spirals. Both recipes are below:
Wheel of Brie
Topped with fresh cranberry relish, it can be store bought (not jellied), or home made. I make mine following the directions on the bag of fresh cranberries, substituting brown sugar for white, using orange juice instead of water, adding apple chunks and some hot pepper flakes. Stop wrinkling your noses - it's delicious! I'm serving it with Milton's Multi-grain crackers, but any sturdy, slightly sweet cracker would be perfect.
Chile & Cheese Spirals
4 oz. Room temp cream cheese
1 small can mild green chiles
1 small can chopped black olives
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup green onions
Mix cheeses, chiles, olives (drained), and onions, spread on lavosh, roll into logs & slice into spirals.
Please, help yourself, there's wine & beer and hot chocolate & spiced cider on the stove.
I'm going to go pour some cider for myself, and see who's at the door....
Edit 12:00 p.m.: Look who's here! It's Lola and Franklin! Lola is getting tipsy on beer, and is promising to make this an interesting party - we're going to play some Apples to Apples, and I've added a salad to the table. Here's the recipe:
AnnieMcQ's Holiday Green Salad
1 bag of mixed greens (make sure there's arugula in there)
1/4 to 1/2 cup of dried cranberries (sweetened is best)
1/4 cup toasted pecans or almonds
good aged parmesan, shaved
Girard's Champagne Dressing
Soak cranberries in hot water for 10 minutes, or until soft, drain. Pour enough Champagne dressing over softened cranberries, just to cover. Arrange greens on a large platter, peel and dice apple, sprinkle on toasted almonds, add cranberries just before serving (so it doesn't wilt), top each serving with shaved parmesan.
Make yourselves comfy, I'm going to change the music on the iPod to Vince Guaraldi. I'll be back in a bit!
Kari's here, with the Winona Ryder version of "Little Women", and Franklin is burping away in some corner of the house! I think she might take a nap, then party on with us into the night. I'm putting on some chili, because it's raining outside, and the fire is roaring, and chili with sides of sour cream, cheddar, and green onions, with some cheddar cheese biscuits sound pretty heavenly.
From Nestle's Make it Simple Entertaining:
Pumpkin Chili Mexicana
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 c chopped onion
1/2 c chopped red bell pepper
1/2 c chopped green bell pepper
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 lb. lean ground turkey
3 1/2 cups (2 14.5 oz cans) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 3/4 (15 oz) solid pack pumpkin
1 can tomato sauce
1 can kidney beans
1/2 cup diced green chiles
1/2 cup whole kernel corn
1 Tblspn chili powder
1 tspn ground cumin
salt & pepper to taste
heat oil over med-high heat, add onion & peppers & garlic, cook 'til tender. Add meat, cook 'til browned, drain.
Add everything else. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cook covered for 30 minutes. Serve with garnishes. Makes 6-8 servings.
Who wants to chop the onions? It always makes me cry... I'm going to change the music on the iPod to A Merry Affair.
Edit 8:00 p.m.:
I'm hoping Suttonhoo can make it back - she's traveling, as usual, but I've decided that maybe if I post a good eggnog recipe, she might just make it back!
Traditional Eggnog Recipe, from eggnogrecipe.net
12 eggs, separated
6 cups milk
2 cups heavy/ thickened cream
2 cups bourbon
1+ ½ cups sugar
¾ cup brandy
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
In a large bowl and using a mixer, beat the egg yolks together with the sugar for approx 10 minutes (you want the mixture to be firm and the colour of butter).
Very slowly, add in the bourbon and brandy - just a little at a time.
When bourbon and brandy have been added, allow the mixture to cool in the fridge (for up to 6 hours, depending on how long before your party you're making the eggnog).
30 minutes before your guests arrive, stir the milk into the chilled yolk mixture.
Stir in 1+ ½ teaspoons ground nutmeg.
In a separate bowl, beat the cream with a mixer on high speed until the cream forms stiff peaks.
In yet another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture.
Gently fold the cream into the egg mixture.
After ladling into cups, garnish with the remainder of the ground nutmeg.
Drink up! I'm changing the music on the iPod again: this time it's James Taylor, At Christmas, one of my new all-time faves...