Cookie Sunday Redux - Due to our ever more obnoxious schedules, it's gotten ever more difficult to make all of the holiday shindigs and the one we've had to sacrifice the past couple of years is one treasured family tradition: Cookie Sunday. I've written often about this cocktail-fueled baking extravaganza and how much we enjoy it, so in an effort to keep it going, we decided to recreate it ourselves with the Posse. Kiko graciously offered up her recently renovated abode and the big day served as a christening of sorts for her spanking new kitchen (dig those Ikea cabinets!). The Posse wholeheartedly embraced the idea and arrived en masse for some serious baking hoo-rah. True to the family event, Kiko and Tiffany, her bud from New Orleans, whipped up some jello shots for the party. These two would later become the Lucy and Ethel team of baking as they stumbled their way through creating their cookies in hilarious fashion; frequently punctuating the process with funny asides inflected with Tiffany's NOLA accent such as: "we gotta cream the freakin' buttah". In the end, Cookie Sunday was perfectly rebuilt...cocktails from warm bourbon cider to Rum Chata were sipped while countless cookies emerged including Deb's awesome iced sugar cookies and our monster cookies. Carl's anasazi beans, Mike's beef and noodles and our cheddar biscuits were but a few examples of the hearty dinner that capped off the day. Can't wait to do it again.
The Family That Dines Together...A plethora and yes, random bit of bites swirled through the family get-togethers this year, both traditional and new. Keith and his sister constituted one of two hosts for the annual Christmas gathering this year, which means we handled set-up and clean-up and Dave and the guys deep-fried the turkeys as the main entrees. There was plenty of ways this 100-strong event could have gone off the rails with the impending ice storm and the illnesses that were coursing through various family members, but as usual, everyone rallied, and the meal was marvelous.
Christmas Eve and Day brought anticipated traditions like the oyster soup that has been passed down through generations, the creamy clam chowder and even the cranberry salad with dubious origins (is it store-bought? Or homemade? Only Keith's Mom Helen knows...). This year had an audacious newbie with Kim's upstart banana pudding, which is like the Vanilla Wafer-studded banana pudding of our youth on steroids. We had a guest join us this year in the guise of South African student Erick who also joined us for Thanksgiving and astoundingly, we didn't completely overwhelm him. Instead, after he caught his breath in the chaos of it all, Erick seemed to recognize these boisterous family gatherings as I do: special, delicious moments with a wonderful family. Cookies for Santa, appetizers at Aunt Diane's always stunning home, so much goodness, so many blessings.
All of these random bites come together to make the month of December a truly celebratory way to round the old year and celebrate the new.