I love the week leading up to Christmas — especially when we’re hosting.
When my Mom and stepdad Fritz came on Tuesday we knew we had a busy week ahead, so we knew we needed to hit the floor running.
First off, there was lots of baking.
Like these Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies made even more decadent with Reese’s Pieces and M & M’s.
They’re always a hit, and perfect for drop-offs because they stay soft and chewy for days.
And bittersweet chocolate brownies — ultra rich with three kinds of chocolate and made even more delicious with a touch of sea salt.
We saved a couple of these fudgy bad boys to enjoy with gelato one night.
My mom is a great game player so she hung out doing that with the kids while I popped in and visited with a few of my senior friends.
I wanted to share with them some treats from my kitchen and about.
I’ve found that even the simplest cookie assortment for someone home-bound can bring lots of cheer. I’ve had so many drop off delicious offerings that I snuck in a couple of those, too.
Aren’t Gwen and Jill’s sugar cookies adorable? We saved the last one for an older gentleman we knew would love it.
My whole crew helped out with our Christmas Eve Party — I’d invited about fifty people over for an open house so there was lots to do.
My mom is a great cook and it was wonderful that she was on hand to help with the food.
I made four kinds of homemade pizza on giant sheet pans and every thirty minutes or so I fired off another one.
There was Sausage and Pesto, Four Cheese, Prosciutto and Arugula, and Yukon Gold, Brie and Ricotta.
I cut the pizza into tiny squares so everyone could have just a nibble.
And I have to say, I loved the fresh popcorn with truffle oil and Parmesan.
I’d never made it before but I’d been given a full bottle of white truffle oil and I thought it would be terrific with it.
I made the popcorn in my air popper and then heated up fresh garlic in butter and the truffle oil and drizzled that all over that — and then dusted with lots of very finely grated Parmesan.
The crowd went through bowls of this — the perfect accompaniment to a Pomegranate Mimosa.
I love holiday open houses — I’ve been to two other ones in the past ten days, and I love how they allow people to just pop in for just a short bit, or the whole shebang. In this neighborhood, I always find both a familiar face and a fascinating new one to get to know.
And having family in town means there is lots of cooking to do and everyone eats well — and I mean everyone.
For example, if Charlotte and my mom make lasagna
we will throw it in the oven
and then everyone gets to try it.
I’m not talking massive amounts for Bailey — just a couple bites of all the delicious foods that we too are enjoying.
After all, aren’t the holidays about sharing?
So if we make pasta with sausage, Meyer lemons, arugula and Parmesan
my Mom will tell him about it and if he asks nicely, he knows he’ll get some, too.
Don’t you love how he is listening to her every word?
And when it comes to Christmas dinner, we all love grilled flat iron, a little Meyer lemon juice and Fleur de Sel (a la Nostrana restaurant).
Especially with grilled asparagus and roasted Yukon Gold potatoes.
Since she’d bought the steak, we gave my mom the honors of serving our four-legged buddy.
Merry Christmas, friends.
I hope you too are able to hold your loved ones dear.