Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Blow Out

I woke to a bit of snow and ice on the ground, a perfect, crisp weekend for a gathering with friends up north.

A little Christmas cheer, with music, snacks and desserts and drinks, for about a dozen friends, mostly of the non blogger variety, all fans of trains, planes and automobiles.

I was working Party War Room for planning (OK, where is the tiny pie crust recipe?) Partner in Grime and I both love to cook and this was going to be a fun day of preparation with my being able to help him with a few of my own recipes. (click on the photos to enlarge)

Baking was started at first light, and cooking continued on until 6 pm when the first of the guests arrived. We kept busy, talking shop and other things while things baked, simmered and seared.

The buffet was laid out with adult beverages, and there was going to be plenty to eat.

Before the outside light gave out, the 60's retro aluminum Christmas tree went up in the parlor, with a original, rotating color wheel (come on, I remember having one of these as a kid).

As a plane flew over on the way into the airport some miles East, I thought it might be fun to have it on the big front porch but I could see it now. "uh. . tower, we saw some lights, not a laser strike, thank god, but we see colors, there's four of them, red and green and orange and red?. . . .what the??. . .(just kidding, it's not hardly bright enough for the tree, but it did bring back some memories).

The menu (the evening light and my briefcase camera did not make for the best of photos) was as follows:
Cream Cheese topped with Homemade Jalapeno Jelly (a dip combonation you have to try) with triscuits and vegetable sticks.

My famous Hot Sweet Onion Dip, for which the recipe was requested by many, served with wedges of fresh Pita bread.

2 cups chopped sweet onion
3/4 cup 2% sharp cheddar
1 teaspoon hot smoked Hugarian Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Heavy Metal Hot hot sauce
1 cup mayo
dash of pepper

Mix and top with 1/2 cup grated fresh parmeson and a dash of more smoked, hot paprika

Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes until bubbling.

E's homemade yeast rolls, cut in half and topped with:

(1) goat cheese and sautied mushrooms and herbs, then broiled
(2) steak marinated in vermouth then rubbed with espresso salt and chipotle and seared, on top of pepper jack, also broiled

Finger sandwiches: Turkey, cranberry and cheese or ham and cheese club on toasted sourdough and honey wheat.

and dessert:

An assortment of cookies including my Mom's Rosette recipe.

Plus small, hand crafted mincemeat pies, sliced apples with caramel cream dip, peanut butter and chocolate cookies, Pfeffernusse, dark chocolate/ cherry biscotti (yum, thanks I. !), eggnog and don't forget the trifle, made with a homemade butter rum pound cake, french vanilla custard and berries.

There was no big screen TV, no fuss other than food, just lots of conversation and laughter, card games and quips, and remembrances of parties past (last year there were marshmallow guns). As always, big fun watching our host, Partner, with a butane torch, finishing off the classic touch to the evening, fresh creme brule served with hot mulled wine and coffee. Everyone went home with a little plate of goodies and wishes for the best of New Years. All in all a wonderful evening, with new and old friends, a perfect holiday blow out.

However, I managed to blow out my knee as well (no, NOT playing Twister, but with slippery outside surface) the morning after the event. I'd wrenched it badly a couple days ago, when Barkley on his leash, decided to go East when I was going West. It hurt like blazes but seemed a little better, so I just kept trucking. But today, crossing the street in a hurry, I went down hard, the knee just giving out with a pop. I tried to just get up and get on my way, hopping out to the truck in traffic (think frogger) and heading home but E insisted on taking me to the emergency room (poker face, I am not and it was about as pleasant as a bag of spiders.)

They diagnosed a possible torn miniscus. A pair of "don't ask what the insurance is going to bill me for the crutches", some hydrocodone to help me get through the night and off I went, under orders to put my leg up on ice (frozen peas were recommended) for 24 hours and stay off it and then go see an orthopedic guy in IND. I do say the Chicago hospital was happy to have a patient in the ER that spoke English and had insurance and they took good care of me (though the every so kind, middle aged admittance nurse did NOT buy the story about the jet ski accident while being chased by Ninjas, but it sounded better than "I busted a move".)

So I won't be home for a couple of days (and yes, Partner or Midwest Chick or Mr. B. will drive me back to IND where my doctor is if need be), but I am surrounded by those that care about me. I couldn't quite make it to eat at the dining room, but on a leaf from the dining room table, with a grand dinner of pasta with green and black pepper, olive oil, parmasan and mushrooms, with red pepper puree and pitas and. . of course. . green beens.

Life is full of surprises, but with friends who love you, you can get through the holiday blow out, or whatever life hands you.




  1. Just like your weapon do not leave home without a pair of GET-A-GRIPS to pull on over your shoes, I have not fallen after I started useing them. QVC usually has them for about $20.00 be sure to buy more than 1 pair because your friends will steal them.

  2. Good luck on the healing thing.
    Frozen corn works too.

  3. Ouch. Did that the week before getting on the plane to Iraq. Best wishes for a quick recovery.

  4. I'm glad you had such a great get-together, and that you're surrounded by friends. Sorry to hear about your knee, though; get well soon.

  5. Och! Terrible luck...I hope you are well soon...

  6. Ouch... hope you get the fixed soon... I've had enough knee surgeries going back to high school... they should have just put some zippers in for laproscopic access...

    Tell Barkley to get his port and starboard straightened out...

    Dann in Ohio

  7. Hope your knee heals quickly.

    Your dip sounded delicious.

  8. I'm so sorry to hear about your knee! Will it mean you'll be at home after Christmas? If your other plans are derailed, would you like a visit? We can bring edible things, for you and Barkley!

  9. Get well soon. Same knee that went before?

    Timberland makes a decent pair of hiking boots that have really good traction. I have personally worn the tread off a couple pairs. They work great for keeping from doing the splits on sloped blacktop covered with ice. Unfortunately, they are only fashionable in Yuperland.

  10. Oooh! Ow! Damn those Ninjas anyway.

    Get well soon!

  11. I was thinking of mailing you some double-sided tape. Stick you in place to keep you safe...

  12. Get well soon, and be sure to take it easy.


  13. Love all the food, onion dip sounds amazing... hate the blow out. Praying for quick & full recovery for you.

  14. "the every so kind, middle aged admittance nurse did NOT buy the story about the jet ski accident while being chased by Ninjas"

    Damn nurses they never believe the face saving ever so slight embroidery of the facts.(I can cuss them coz I are one).

    For me it was fighting off seven (or was it eight) ninja pensioners to save the fair damsel (They normally hang around in gangs in hospitals wearing black open back gowns and eating macaroons, whilst trying to score some more Ex-Lax. They're much worse than normal ninjas, they're wily, and armed with.. well, ever been hit with a full catheter bag, or a hard thrown denture? No, well it smarts)...yes, I was in the stock room...Oh, Ok I slipped when I picked up a box of normal saline, damn.

    Torn hamstring, subluxated proximal tibiofibular joint and the RSD - can I at least claim that I was hit by a truck - please :-(

    Get well soon. (Oh and at least try to get the Tactical crutches as in 'The Day of The Jackal')

  15. Along the same lines as North's suggestion, just wrap that knee in duct tape and you should be good to go!!!

    Once it comes off, you won't have to worry about shaving that part of your leg for a while, either. :)

    Get well soon!!

  16. Torn meniscus? My sympathies.

    Husband got his nickname on his softball team after blowing out his meniscus: D Cup. After refusing medical attention after hurting his knee many years ago, his knee became the size of a D cup bra. When he couldn't take the swelling anymore, he went to the Dr and got the torn meniscus diagnosis.

    17 years later, his team mates still call him D Cup.

    I hope you heal quickly - no fun being gimpy for the Holidays. At least you are in good care and not alone.

  17. Sorry to hear about your knee! Take good care!

  18. The admitting nurse might have bought the story about the jetski if you had shown up in the emergency room with hypothermia wearing a wetsuit. Jetskiing in Chicagoland on lake Michigan at this time of year is not recommended. Especially once it starts icing over; it makes for a very bumpy ride.

    Rest well & prayers for a swift recovery.

  19. Sorry to hear that, and hope for a speedy recovery!

  20. OW....Sorry about your knee. Thanks so much for your blog, I love reading your heart filling words. I have been missing my mother's rosettes. Thanks for sharing pictures. Dang, Dad gave away her iron. Merry Christmas and heal quickly.

  21. Holy cow, sorry to hear about your injury! Rest up, make the most of your downtime, enjoy those movies and get better soon.

  22. Holy cow, sorry to hear about your injury! Rest up, make the most of your downtime, enjoy those movies and get better soon.

  23. Ouch, sorry to hear about your knee, have a speedy recovery. Love the old movies!

  24. "I busted a move". Ha!

    But OW! Damn. Glad you're on the mend, and well tended.


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