Karnes - December 2014 (dt)
Christmas #12

The pleasure of sharing DP8 Christmas at the Karnes has come and gone but the golden glow of memory lingers to remind us all of the interplay of long-time friends and a delight in good food.
          Starting in 2003, DP8 Christmas @ Karnes has now reached its dozenth edition, each twelfth an enjoyable piece of the meld of pleasant times, refreshed, at times, by reviewing past write-ups. And narrating from memory of the variety of Christmas favors bestowed upon the attendees, Sheila reminded us of the Karneses’ largesse. 
          This year’s weather gods looked favorably upon us, with average to slightly above average temperatures combined with a few warm days to help disassemble the snow packs we had accumulated.  Anyone looking for snow cover might have been disappointed but most of us were relieved.
          Kalli once again greeted each arriving couple, with a more polite welcome than in past years (especially after some timely reminders from Mom & Dad), and we deposited gifts under the tree, yielded our coats to Chay, admired the Christmas decorations, welcomed those present and then those arriving, found a glass to fill, espied deviled eggs, and thus began the evening. The anticipation of another Christmas event had now morphed into experience.
          Despite Deb’s best attempts to suggest that the communal gathering could be other than the kitchen/stove-top/island, we, as usual, congregated around the island, sometimes all ten of us. After initial greeting and health checks, we delved into our variety of topics as one followed another interrupted by another outdone by another reconfirmed by another and on it went.
          Even though food has been the impetus of our group, socializing is not far behind, and we accomplished both this evening. So, enough of the anticipatory stuff, and on to food

==> Tray of deviled eggs, topped with layers of bacon bits, cheddar cheese, and then more bacon bits
==> A quiche-esque preparation of spinach and gruyere

==> Large wooden bowl of romaine, kale, Kalamata olives, and shaved parmesan-reggiano
==> Homemade roasted pepper balsamic vinegar salad dressing

==> Lime/lemon/orange sorbet

==> Long white platter laden with slice of beef tenderloin
==> Twice baked stuff potato casserole, piping hot, topped with cheddar shreds.
==> Long green beans, seasoned with lemon zest, roasted pine nuts, and grated parmesan
==> Spoon rolls, enhanced with garlic and parmesan

==> A moist, creamy dark-chocolate bundt cake, infused with orange, butterless but mayonnaise dense; awaiting the homemade chocolate-orange sauce
==> Ice cream
==> Charlene Hull cherry pie
==> Charlene Hull lemon meringue pie
==> Double plate of homemade Christmas cookies

==> Chateau Ste Michele Cabernet Sauvignon, Prosecco, Scotch, sodas, an additional medley of reds and whites

The table setting reminded us of the Karneses’ Christmas touches. This year’s table favor was an organic deer, composed of pine needle fur, cedar chip spots, small stick antlers, set on a foam core and a white brushy “snow” cover.
          The usual break between entrée and dessert found us wandering to a living room chair, awaiting the number-draw container to start the I-dare-you-to-steal-my-goodies gift exchange. Judy, whose second most important reason for traveling from VA was to steal some Christmas spirit, picked the #2, the worst position to steal, but steal she did, and she pressured Tim, unsuccessfully, to do her bidding when it came his time!
          We managed, in the few hours present, to catch up on news. Number one was the attendance of the Virginia-based Adamses, renewing their DP8 Christmas attendance.
          (Note #1: DP8 was DP10 again this year, with Mike and Sheila again gracing this Christmas dinner.)
          Talk of winter plans, and travel plans, and more that will be left unlisted filled the evening.
          (Note #2: DP8 coincided with Deb K’s birthday which, despite a kind and generous spirit, somehow encourages the outpouring of tasteless and humorous cards.)
          Note #3: We arriving attendees, as always, applaud and appreciate Chay and Deb’s generosity. However, it must be noted that Deb outdid even her usual efforts, with the preparation of nearly all the menu this year, necessitating an even louder thank you from us. And another goes to the now retired Chay for his behind-the-scenes coordination. (go ahead and say it Chay! “I wonder how I found time while I was working!”)

So ends 2014, and 2015’s start will witness DP8 #146