Thursday, December 3, 2009

What We Really Want for Christmas

" Like a shop laden with merchandise, she brings home food from far off."

- Proverbs 31: 14

When we married Gerry was sort of the Brawny paper towel guy who worked as a mild mannered engineer. This Thanksgiving, he made a simple request this Christmas. He wanted to have the guys from work over for a lunch. The next week.

Some women would kill a husband for suggesting she "put on the dog" on such short notice. Not me. This kind of request is grade A prime excuse to decorate and shop. To be a one woman economic stimulus plan requiring no taxpayer dollars. To bring good cheer to many a merchant. Our guests. My husband. Of course, not necessarily in that particular order...

5 nights later, Weather woman Jackie Johnson is predicting good fortune. Our December weather the next day will be typical Southern California. Perfect for barbecuing and eating on the patio. Gerry insisted I stop preparing. "Guys do not care if you wash the floor under the refrigerator or hang a new wreath in the kitchen."

When the guys arrived. The halls were decked. None of the men knew that six days of obsessive decorating had not yet emptied all the boxes in the attic of balls and ribbons and lights. They did notice was that with all his guy gadgets: Gerry must have a a very understanding wife.

And they noticed the food.

The Menu

Baked cheese balls stuffed with green olive Green olive and pimiento stuffed cheese balls.
Deviled eggs & vegetable platter

Salad of butter lettuce and baby spinach, sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, glazed walnuts and bits of feta cheese. Served with Italian style vinaigrette.

Potatoes scalloped in sour cream sauce with chives
Crab cakes with tartar sauce
Prime rib eye steaks, marinated and grilled.

Bristol Farms makes the best crab cakes. So my husband tells me (I don't eat seafood- but I buy it for the "brownie points" I get). Their fresh tartar sauce is better than what the local grocery stores pawns in glass jars. The butcher at their Newport counter almost made me forget I don't like seafood with his mouth watering description of crab legs- but I distracted him by letting him pick out finely marbled rib eye steaks with an eye as practiced as a jeweler's.

Tiramisu. This Italian classic is Gerry's favorite dessert. Pizzaioli just over the border in Chino Hills makes an exceptional version every morning with delicate lady fingers soaked in espresso coffee, rum, and Frangelico layered with mascarpone cheese whipped with Kahlua then presented with a dusting of finest ground dark chocolate.

At the end of the day, our guests gone: my feet are up, my body pooped but my mind is relaxed. I understand that day I already have what I most want for Christmas. A happy husband.

Bristol Farms homepage

Pizzaioli homepage

The salad recipe is my own, but if you need inspriation, please hop over to where I borrowed the fruit photo from at

1 comment:

  1. Lydia,

    I had to chuckle because John always says the same things to me that Ger said to you; "they don't care if there is dirt on the floor, dust on the glass top table or if everything is neat and in order"! YEA RIGHT! Well, maybe "they" don't notice but I sure do! I would never feel comfortable entertaining unless the house is very neat and in order. That's me tho and you too.

    I was just a few minutes ago telling Lisa that for years when the boys were at Castle Rock, I hosted the Community Club Christmas Party here. I had a deadline for myself. All gifts had to be bought and wrapped, tree had to be up, house had to be decorated and gifts under the tree by Dec. 10. Lisa said "Talk about putting pressure on yourself"! Yup, I did, but then I wanted everything perfect for the party. Never mind that I had four little boys and a hubby to take care of! I am sure that I was a bear to live with during that time.
    "They" say "Just relax and enjoy your party and don't work so hard"! Again I say 'YEA RIGHT"!!

    Job well done, Lydia! Your menu sounded wonderful and delicious! I am sure after eating and seeing Ger's boy toys, they thought "What a lucky guy"!!


    Hugs, Trisha


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