Already, the year is so old??

Stunning firewords compliments of the City of Unalaska!

Good grief, time flies.  I really need to get past living from holiday to holiday, event to event, and meeting to meeting.  It blurs all those good days in between!

We had a wonderful New Year’s Eve, celebrating not only the new year, but, of course, the birthdays of my mother, Gert Svarny, who welcomed her 81st year with perfect grace, and my husband, Caleb, who grumpily acknowledges his birthday each year.  Of course, if a big deal was not made of it, I am sure he would be totally disappointed!!

So every year, I debate the great cake question….what kind of cakes this year?  I settled on a cheesecake with a nut crust, enrobed in chocoate and served over a strawberry coulis, plus an incredibly dense chocolate cake with chocolate ganache.  To tie them together, each had orange in them and were sprinkled with orange zest.

Crazy, dense chocolate cake.

The chocolate cake was so heavy, (literally, I could not carry it with one hand) I was really afraid to cut into it and serve it.  But, thank god, it was absolutely delicious.  I believe I have found the perfect cake for the Chocolate Extravaganza!

Pirates invaded the party at about 11:45.

As we get older, we joke about being able to stay awake until midnight!  We have devised a schedule to help us out….a late dinner at 8 PM, socializing and drinking(!), then, started for the kids several years ago, we play our “traditional” New Year’s Bingo games with great prizes of things mom wants to get rid of!!  At 11:45 things start to ball up….getting the champagne ready, watching the ball drop, toasting the new year in, running outside to watch the fireworks, coming back inside for a hearty rendition of Happy Birthday, eating cake and opening presents!  By the time this is all done, it is usually about 1:30AM.

And so, with a great start for 2011, here’s hoping your year will be filled with happiness and prosperity.  If not that, at least have some fun!

Ruined for life.

Well, my mother and father have done it again.  I have managed to go through life thinking that a knife is a knife is a knife.  I am going to have to revise my opinion now that we received a steak knife set from Mom and Dad for Christmas.  A steak knife set for crying out loud.  The knives slice through meat like it is butter.  I am now going to have to save my money so that I can slowly replace all my knives.  Wusthof……from Solingen, Germany.  My husband used to drive by Solingen when he was stationed in Germany. 

The book, by the way, Fifty Miles from Tomorrow, by Willie Hensley, actually was a gift from them last year.  It is an excellent read and I am on my second time through.  That’s why it was laying about!

Christmas Eve 2010

Okay, it has been a while!  I wonder if anyone believes how incredibly busy a small town can be?  Enough said.

Christmas Eve 2010 was worth the effort put in.  Mom and I planned, then parceled out some cooking duties:  Cookies – Greg Hawthorne, Gingerbread cookies, Alena Syverson, Scallop ceviche, Wendy Svarny-Hawthorne, who promptly parceled that one out to  her son, Nicky Hawthorne.   Brie with cranberries in puff pastry, Wendy, as well as hot crab dip.  Laresa was designated the official setter-upper, which includes setting up the table, the buffet, and the dreaded wrapping of the silverware.

Of course Mom cleaned house for almost 2 weeks before hand.  Holiday cleaning…why didn’t I inherit that gene?  On the 22nd and 23rd we started cooking in earnest.

Nicky Hawthorne's scallop ceviche....delish!
Alena's gingerbread cookies and Zoya's million layer Russian cake.
Cookies made by Greg and Mom; truffles by me.
Silver salmon lox, octopus, and pickled salmon.
Yum...Perushkies, brie, layered shrimp & potato salads, ham, curried rice, etc.
Gert Svarny, without whom the party would be nothing!
SP digging in!
Catching Sam just at the right moment!
Greg Hawthorne and son, Jacob, enjoying themselves.
Yekatrina, Michelle, and Zoya, hanging out in the kitchen!
The tree!

Enjoying family, friends, and food.  What could be better?