My Blog List

Sunday, December 16, 2012

MY annual no-tree tree-trimming party

I've been doing this party every year for longer than I care to remember. We used to have a tree, of course, and I put out the ornaments on a table--miraculously by the end of the evening the tree was decorated. These days I decorate the house but don't have a tree. It's always a casual party--plastic cups and plates, no utensils needed. Blue jeans welcomed and encouraged.
But one of the joys of the holidays for me is cooking for family and friends. This year, the party was small--just a few friends. But I always do the cooking myself, which means I began baking in November and loaded the freezer--with way too many desserts and the cheeseball I've had every year most of my life--a family recipe passed down. This weekend I made spreads and loaded the refrigerator. These days I have a method--make one spread, clean up the dishes, and sit at my desk for a few minutes; repeat until finished. Otherwise my low back begins to hurt. But today I was sort of lazy and only had to unload the fridge about an hour before the party. Here's my menu:

liver pate - a wonderful recipe from an old friend; most non-liver eaters like it, though a few declined after one bite
cheeseball and crackers
an artichoke/cream cheese spread topped with caviar
a curry chutney pate
cream cheese with jalopeno jelly, served with gingersnaps
hummus with vegetables

cranberry/chocolate chip/pecan cookies
chocolate pecan bars
peanut butter cookies
gluten-free cupcakes (they were a hit, though most didn't care about the gluten free aspect)

And oops: I just realized I had a loaf of banana chocolate bread in the freezer that I forgot to serve! No matter, as over half the desserts are back in the freezer. Good thing I didn't make the Oreo truffles I meant to--but now I have an unopened package of Oreos in the cupboard. I should be set for after-school snacks for the rest of the school year.


½ lb. Roquefort
1 pkg. Old English cheese (no longer available—I use an 8 oz. pkg of Velveeta)
l eight-ounce pkg. cream cheese
½ lb. pecans, chopped fine
1 bunch parsley, chopped fine
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 small onion, chopped fine      
½ tsp. horseradish

Let the cheese soften to room temperature and mix thoroughly. Add Worcestershire, onion, horseradish and half of the parsley and pecans. Mix thoroughly and shape into a ball. Do NOT do this in the food processor, as it will become too runny. Even a mixer makes it too smooth and creamy—wash your hands thoroughly and dig in, so the finished cheese ball has some texture and credibility. Roll the ball in the remaining parsley and pecans. Chill. Serve with crackers.
And here's the liver pate. I think I've posted it before but this has slight changes:
1 lb. chicken livers
2 Tbsp. chopped green onkions
2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 c. Madeira
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. pepper
pinch thyme
1/4 c. whipping cream
1/4 c. melted butter
Saute livers and green onions in 2 Tbsp. butter until the livers are cooked through and no longer pink.
Put the mixture in a food processor and puree. Add Madeira to the skillet and cook down to 3 Tbsp. Add to livers along with herbs, spices and cream. With the processor running, slowly add the melted butter. Pour into container and refrigerate overnight.
Confession: I forgot to reduce the Madeira; I also forgot to buy whipping cream, so I used sour cream. The mixture was very liquid but hardened nicely in the fridge. I am great "make-do" cook! It was good anyway.


No comments:

Post a Comment