2011 Christmas @ Karnes (dt)
Getting to the guts of the evening:
an Ellen Burrell-inspired chuck roast short ribs, roasted in a red wine & vegetable sauce, a long platter of flavorful richness, only a fork needed, (Deb K)
a Sunny Anderson-inspired mac-n-cheese, with cheddar, Colby, parmesan and pepperjack cheeses, with the kick from the pepperjack, but without the hot spices from the original recipe, topped with chunks of croutons (Deb K)
a generous bowl of roasted peppers, mushrooms, carrots, asparagus, and onions, steeped in a balsamic vinaigrette (Deb K)
a carrot soufflé, a Judy concoction, borrowed from Mari – a smooth carrot mixture
a ring of garlic dinner rolls, with accompanying dual ramekins of maple butter (both Deb K)
Preceding this were the appetizers (Sheila): marble-sized spinach
balls, as well as beer braised meatballs,
both awaiting a twirl in the horseradish creamy dip,
which in turn was followed by:
-- a Teator salad, with a base of mixed greens, red cabbage and carrot shreds, complemented with plum tomatoes, broccoli, anise, red pepper strips, white mushrooms, fresh strawberry slices, a sprinkle of craisins, a scattering of chopped walnuts, and a spatter of provolone cheese, ready to be drizzled with the freshly made balsamic vinaigrette, followed by:
-- an intermezzo of grapefruit sorbet, another of Deb’s experiments that consistently pleases the experimentees, this one with a pulpy texture and sweet palate (voted the best sorbet yet!).
If these were the guts, then the heart was:
the Hartmann Kaffeehaus Black Forest Cake, a wheel of soft chocolate cake layered between a delicious cream, chunks of cherries, chocolate bits (Kriss), and
the Paula Dean-inspired spice cake with layers of caramelized pears and a maple-cream cheese-butter frosting, with a walnut-packed side (Deb K).
(Again, after vowing to not overeat like last year, and the year before,
and the year before that,… most of us again vowed to finally keep that promise
next year, maybe.)
Guts…, heart…, on to thirsty throat:
A to Z 2009 Pinot Noir
NV Mionetto Prosecco
Concannon Conservancy 2008 Chardonnay
Mesta 2008 Tempranillo
NV White Zin
Sierra Nevada Celebration
and a lone shot of Scotch filled the libation list.
OK, spleen, or maybe, bile.
After dinner, and before dessert, we traversed to the living room (Kalli in the crate, to spare the bags and wrapping paper and dry noses) to perform our gift exchange. The rules changed this year, with each person, in turn, allowed to steal first, but, if choosing not to, to open a gift. Finally, near the end, the first theft happened (nice, Sheila!) and by event’s end, perhaps three thefts occurred. The wood slat basket seemed to be the thieves’ target. (We’ll have to ponder which thieving method to use for the next round.) (After all the braggadocio of desiring the arch-villain role, no one really stepped up, with only Kriss and Sheila adding some excitement.) And no one wanted to steal the hummingbird garden pole after ...
And finally, brains: chat and discussions of wittiness, news, gossip, and catch-up. With five weeks since last dp8, we had a bunch of news to fill in, all of it overshadowed, at first, by Michael needing to accompany his grandson to the ER ...
Other strands, minor or major, all together or in the multiple clusters spread around the kitchen & living room, included: Kalli, especially when she was loose, demonstrating a rather loose obedience to her Ma and Pa’s commands; Deb K’s use of the Food Network for this dinner; the Adamses’ soon-to-be-realized RV trip this winter; the Romalins’ Florida abode; the Monteverd Thanksgiving; Kriss’ thoughts of her impending retirement; Ken’s date-to-be-determined retirement & TV; ideas for retirement trips; the Teator Christmas earlier in the month; the Notar party; the Adams clan arriving in Leeds for Christmas; Deb K’s upcoming office party at Prime 677; risqué comments during the gift exchange; Kikki’s heart murmur ...l; Kriss no longer calling Don at night, and multi-tasking; Dr Oz; poop and Dr Oz; shapes of poo (of course, during dinner); color of urine; Nathan’s new sink/vanity/building project; sounding like a group of old-timers jabbering about medications; Christmas house decorations, especially on Rt 67; bank holdups, and psychological effects; the SEC investigation into a former local CEO; Tim’s beeper; old age and memory loss; Kitty Green (nice shoes, eh, Ken?!); which connubial activity might increase during retirement days; and more that I wished I had a memory for.
Best comments of the evening? ...golf balls ...
This date has loomed ever since our November dp8 date, with reality striking tantalizingly close as the arrivers pulled up Pine Meadow Lane, with the white, blue, and classic-primary-color Christmas lights etched on trees, forms, and fences. And, of course, there’s the big old-fashioned light bulbs on the tree in the orange lobby, the glow of which (both the lights and wall color) anchors the interior as well as warmly glowing for the drivers turning up the road.
New this year was a different greeting at the door – the rambunctious, want-to-be-good bouncing and tail-wagging of Kalli, the newest addition to the Karnes’ family. Kalli is a frolicking handful, and it is fun to see new life circuiting the rooms, with an occasional hop upward to waist, or chest, or neck, or nose level. Here’s to many playful years with Kalli. (We never did see a sign of the cats!).
And, of course, Chay and Deb, your efforts are many, from small to large details, and appreciated: the Christmas poppers; the favors (insulated glass-wraps); the bowl of green, red, and silver foiled Kisses; the constant attention to the food courses; Chay’s help with the “cinnamon,” food planning and prep; the unseen prerequisites of hosting any dinner party; the above details; and the good cheer and hosting skill that makes this event one of our most anticipated nights of the year.
Thank you, for good food, shared food, friendship, relaxing ambiance, and the efforts that comprise another holiday extravaganza whose beginning stretches back to 2003.