Holidays on Ice

Every year my Mom’s friend “K” has an elaborate multi-course holiday dinner. Last year was my first year in attendance. I was going to be sure not to miss the invitation this year. Plans were unfolding, snippets of the menu were leaking out and then…the unfortunate, unthinkable happened. K’s husband died. They went to Hawaii to attend a wedding, when he suddenly became ill and hospitalized. It was a kidney infection. I’m not really sure all of the circumstances but it happened rather quickly and he was gone in a couple of days. Poor K, on vacation hundreds of miles and land away from home, alone. He was cremated on the island and brought home a couple of weeks ago.

I was unable to attend the funeral. I always feel bad when that happens. But in true K style, she was NOT going to cancel the dinner party. And of course, it went off without a hitch. A widow of a couple weeks, K held her head high, was surrounded by friends and delved deep into the therapy of the kitchen.
I was greeted at the door by a sparkling flute of champagne (which I am normally not a big fan of, but do find this variation to be quite wonderful. Mumm M Cuvee and soon the hors d’oeuvres came rolling out. First was the Italian Torte, we lovingly call “crack”, made of cream cheese, provolone, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts and pesto. This picture does not do it justice!

Next were the tostini baguette slices topped with toasted crab and bleu cheese. Amazing!!

On the double tiered platter was an assortment of chocolate treats and brie with an absolutely delectable chipotle-raspberry sauce.

K stole the recipe from the Hobbit restaurant for their puff pastry appetizer. It was delicate layers of puff pastry, a hint of Dijon with layers of cheese and capicola (which I picked out).

The table was set immaculately and we feasted on, which I forgot to take a picture of, the moistest, tastiest, cut-it-with-a-butter-knife tender filet mignon roast, pesto artichoke salad and oven roasted butter potatoes. The accompaniment of wine was not forgotten, Duckhorn Vineyards Savignon Blanc (superb) and a wonderful Pinot Noir from Ancien.

Dessert of a panettone trifle was served with piping hot, freshly brewed coffee.

K made it through dinner without tears but I cannot imagine how hard it is to get through the holidays without the person you loved the most and for so long. On my way out, I gave her a copy of 90 minutes in Heaven by Don Piper and told her when she feels up to reading it, I think it will help give her some piece of mind.

Thanks, K for brightening our holidays when it must be some of the darkest days for you. James, you are missed.