Guess what I just found underneath about 43 tag end knitting projects, boxes that need to go out (now 2ND Day, ka-ching!), Christmas cards that Kodak.com darkened so badly the photo is barely visible, party dregs and the butt end of a giant unfinished snowman? My blog! I was sort of hoping Typepad would stay down longer than just last weekend; it was a good excuse while it lasted. So here are some seasonal odds and ends.
BEST BLACK TIE/PAJAMA POKER PARTY RECIPE YET- CRAB CEVICHE
In a giant, very festivus bowl mix:
-3 16oz.cans of jumbo lump crab meat. (Gasp!, I know. ka-ching, ka-ching. I get it at Whole Paycheck where it sits in ice right beneath the fish counter. It’s handpicked, pure white, fresh as can be, big chunks.)
– 5 red sweet bell peppers, diced 1/3 inch
– 5 green bell peppers, diced 1/3 inch
In the food processor: mince 1 seeded poblano pepper and 2 seeded serrano peppers. Add a large bunch, minus stems, of cilantro and one of parsley. Fine chop.
Mix all ingredients together. It mixes best with clean hands.
– Add juice of 5 fresh limes. Toss again. Serve in red and green plastic party glasses- the short, squat kind.
I ended up with close to 5# of crab ceviche and 18 people ate almost all of it- they just kept coming back for more. This is so fresh, so festive, so snappy and so luxurious with all that crab and I’ve found that this ratio of peppers is just right to add a small but not overwhelming bite. Red, green and white-with zing!
The party was a blast. This is the first time I’ve seen Rich in a tux. He was delighted it still fit and he seemed non-plussed by the lipstick smack on the right lapel from some previous lifetime. It was okay because he looked so darn HOT but I sent that baby to the cleaners yesterday. There was a lot of black velvet, a fair amount of cleavage and everyone was beauteous. Frank’s mother is hardcore Italian and she made 4 dozen fresh cannoli. What else- oh! I boiled whole 2 bags of those small purple fingerling potatoes (also Whole Foods) until they were almost done, sliced them in half, put them on a baking sheet, sprinkled them with garlic salt, lots of crushed pepper and good olive oil and stuck them under the broiler until they got slightly brown and crispy. Nice fingerling food. Quintin won almost every hand of poker so he got lots of party gifts: kirigami Christmas trees I made, DVDs of old I Love Lucy and The East Side Kids, etc. People stayed and stayed- always a sign of a good party.
My favorite grandmother died young and the last couple years of her life she was low on energy from fighting cancer so she only had a small table top tree. I always loved that little tree and now I have it but I didn’t have any ornaments for it so it always sits sort of sparsely on the sideboard. This year, a friend I’ve made in this neighborhood sent me an assortment of little tiny Hallmark keepsake ornaments her husband found at an auction. Isn’t it just lovely? The little tiny bird feeder and the angel are my favorites. This makes me so happy.
Another bit of traditional holiday decor around here is our creche. I got it the year Dan was born; I liked the bright simplicity of the little Mexican figures. When he was two and I was setting it up he wanted to know what it was for and what each figure meant. He listened very attentively and when it came to the kings I explained that they brought the most special gifts for the new baby. At that time, Dan’s love in life was a collection of Matchbox tractors (tractors are in our genes. Buckminster Fuller will be here Thursday- promise) and the next morning when I passed by the piano I saw that Dan had given his most prized possession to the Baby: his John Deere tractor. Twenty-four years later, it’s still a part of our manger scene and I imagine it will stay that way until I pass this on to a grandchild.
We had some fine snow these past few days and I had fun playing around with the camera (when I should have been knitting and mailing and maybe posting. Here is a picture of our front yard and some little finches on a thistle sock hanging amongst the Christmas lights.
Finally: MUSIC TO A MOTHER’S EARS
As many of you know I have my beautiful mermaid, Abby, aka the Snarl, who is an apple of my eye and also the world’s most intelligent airhead. I can say all this without the usual bias because I’m firmly convinced she was switched in the nursery or, more likely still, she is actually an alien (and amphibious) life form. She has been away at college in Florida, working on a degree in Environmental Science and Policy. She called the other day and said, "Mom! I’m so proud of myself! I just finished my last exam, I got all A’s, I learned how to live on my own and balance my budget and I only lost 2 driver’s licenses, one passport and 3 ATM cards!" I said, "Good job! I’m very proud of you, too. And I can’t wait to see you so go get your replacement license so you can fly home on Tuesday."
Today is Tuesday. I had lost track of the days there for a few but because she is coming home today and that’s so important to me I know what day it is. About an hour ago the phone rang. You now have to imagine essentially incoherent screaming and wailing and weeping and raging and gnashing of teeth.
"MOM!!! THE CAB IS WAITING AND I CAN’T FIND MY LICENSE I JUST GOT YESTERDAY AND IT’S GONE! IT’S GONE! I JUST HAD IT IN MY HAND AND THE CAB IS HONKING AND IT’S NOT HERE AND I’M NEVER COMING HOME AND THE CAB MAN WANTS MONEY TO WAIT AND I DON’T HAVE ANY MORE AND MY LICENSE IS GONE AND I CAN’T COME HOME AND…"
I couldn’t get a "calm down" in edgewise and my offers to pay the cab by credit card went unheard. The Snarl slammed the phone down 3 times, called back screaming more of the above and finally for the fifth time in 7 minutes she called, sobbing, "I’ll see you next year." Since she was only weeping and not screaming I said, "Abby. Take two deep breaths and think. It was in your hand and then you put it in your pack or your suitcase or…"
"Oh! Here it is." Click.
She called a few minutes ago to let me know she was at her gate and had 40 minutes to spare so she was going to (finally) register for classes on the airport’s wi-fi. Which works for me because no matter how much I love her and crave her smell, she was staying on the porch until I saw a license and a schedule of classes.
Let Christmas commence.