Monday, December 26, 2011

A good time was had by all . . .

A splendid Christmas Eve Dinner

About once or twice a year we spurge and have Dungeness cracked crab. Usually this occurs on Christmas Eve or New Year's then if we have out of state visitors in the summer (Q & Lou for example) we’ll do it again when we can have a big crowd. I will not lie it is expensive for 11 to 18 people with one good sized crab for two normal eaters and almost a full crab for those who like to “pig out.” But boy, oh boy, is it tasty. This year the Gimlet volunteered to stand in line at the University Fish & Poultry Market to pick up the crab where they hand out candy canes and the line sometimes stretches all around the block. They must have had slightly smaller crabs than we have had before since the market recommended 8 crabs to feed 11 including three big eaters. The Gimlet got there at 10 or 10:30 am and the line had thinned out so he did get a candy cane but he didn’t have to wait an hour to pick up the pre-ordered crab. It was ready to go when it was his turn at the counter. The crabs were caught early that morning and fresh cooked, very sweet, and we managed to make a respectable dent in the bowls with just enough leftovers to make broiled open faced sandwiches for lunch.

Leftover crab for lunch.

Petra Lee's monogrammed linen napkins

Mrs Gimlet inherited her great-grandmother’s linen napkins that had been stored in the bottom of her grandmother’s cedar chest for probably 70 plus years. They were somewhat yellowed and spotted with age but otherwise lovely with a hand embroidered monogrammed “L”. The week before Christmas Mrs. G soaked the linens in special soap and then painstakingly ironed them dry. Now we know why we love clothes dryers and modern laundry methods! The napkins turned out beautifully and it was fun to use them for the first time in more than 75 years. The original tablecloth that accompanied the napkins was lost years ago but Mrs. G’s holiday tablecloth was similar enough that it made a splendid table indeed.

My brother and his family drove up from Tumwater to share the evening with us and brought three platters of cured salmon sliced so thin one could see through it seasoned with lime juice, tiny red peppers, cilantro, sweet onions, ginger (what have I forgotten?) that were picked clean within seconds of placement on the table. Mrs. Gimlet had her famous deviled eggs and Wassail on the sideboard. The Tumwater contingent also brought a baked Jerusalem Artichoke vegetable dish that is a true favorite with all of us. Curly had provided a spinach and fruit salad with tangy dressing. A community effort to fill the table. So much food, but so good.

A few hungry souls sit down as soon as dinner is announced

Christmas Day has always been a quiet relaxed day here with just our immediate family and a few gifts to open. Bopa's son S & his wife, D, came down to Seattle from Lynden and made several stops visiting his mother, sister and brother and their families and then on to share an early dinner and gifts with us. They are vegetarians so it is a whole different world as far as the menu goes. Curly has been gravitating toward vegetarianism for a while now so I asked her if she would do the main dish. She made the most incredible, edible vegetable lasagna. I think part of the wonderful taste is her secret red sauce but whatever it was it was marvelous. Even the carnivores didn’t complain. We had such a nice visit with S & D even though The Bride of Satan absented herself upon hearing their voices and then proceeded to scream, hiss, growl and otherwise be obnoxious to me after they left. She is sweet today, however.

TBS at repose

My special gift--the plumbing project is almost completed. All that is left is the upstairs shower. It is so wonderful to have hot water at full pressure in all the faucets now. The downstairs shower is heaven! What a wonderful gift. Thanks to B & the Gimlet.

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