Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Then, two years ago, I was pregnant and suddenly wanted to host Christmas dinner. I had delusions of grandeur that I would give birth and then waltz into the kitchen to whip up a gourmet meal. Uh, baby girl was what people like to call colicky or what I like to call possessed by some demon. She cried 24/7 for the first six weeks of her life. After that she was a dream but she was 3 weeks old at Christmastime and, instead of hosting, the hubby and I put out a desperate m'aider call to my in-laws to please, please whisk us away to Connecticut!
Then, last year, my father died shortly before Thanksgiving. He was sick for a year and we were expecting it, but still, no one was in the holiday mood and the season passed with a faint-hearted attempt to show baby girl how to unwrap presents and ooh and aah at my mother's Christmas tree.
This year, however, I have officially embraced the holiday season. Thanksgiving, baby girl's birthday, the hubby's birthday, Hanukkah and Christmas are all within 30 days of each other so the holiday season is the most exciting time of year for us. This weekend, in an attempt to consolidate all holidays into one, we're throwing a holiday open house / birthday party for baby girl. That means, a dozen two year olds plus loads of adults crammed into our spacious-by-Manhattan-standards apartment. Yikes!!
Entertaining in December using locally grown in ingredients isn't easy and it isn't entirely possible, but I was able to pull a few local tricks out of my hat. On Friday, as I was walking through the Farmers' Market with baby girl I spotted some popcorn at one of the stands. Eureka! I thought and decided right then to make the Spicy Caramel Popcorn from Karen DeMasco's new cookbook, The Craft of Baking. It's super simple to prepare and is very tasty with a little kick of cayenne pepper adding a nice counterpoint to the caramel's sweetness. It makes a great gift packed in a little treat bag and tied with ribbon. I'm giving little goody bags away to all of our adults guests on Saturday. Try it out and let me know what you think!!
DeMasco's recipe was also recently published in the New York Times so click here!!