Beer and Apps Dinner, 2nd Annual and Traditions

20111222-021232.jpgLast year, we started a new holiday tradition, a Beer and Apps Dinner with my mom, dad, and sister. As I was dreaming it up, I loved the idea of spending a festive night at home with our nuclear family (we typically celebrate Christmas with 30-40 boisterous family members so a night for "just us" seemed magical) sharing good food, tastes of new beers, and lots of laughs. Two nights before Christmas, we cooked, poured beers, and created lots of merriment. My hope in making it a regular thing came true, at least for one more year! We did our annual Beer and Apps night a bit earlier this go round since David, Jack, and I are staying out here for Christmas, but it was just as much fun and equally yummy!

20111222-021141.jpg These are this year's beer entries arranged in order of the group's taste preference. This year's winner: Pike’s Auld Acquaintance Holiday Ale brewed right here in Seattle! It has a nice toasty amber color and tasted of citrus with subtle holiday spices. (A note, mostly for the participants, last year we choose: Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock as our winner.)


20111222-021212.jpg My parents made a deliciously spicy baked Brie from Sunset Magazine. They seasoned a wedge of Brie with cumin seeds, cayenne pepper, rosemary, and cracked pepper and baked it until it was oozing. We scooped it up with a warm baguette.



Jack really got into the toasting and loved that our volume of "Cheers!" rose with our beer tastes!


Auntie Jessica egged him on, of course, and they had a bit of a "Cheers!" screaming match, which was actually really funny! It turns out, you can scream louder when your mouth is open wide! 20111222-021309.jpg




David and I made a yummy cheese dip that I saw in the NY Times, we of, course, adapted if to make it our own: Queso Fundido With Chorizo, Jalapeño and Cilantro

7 ounces dried chorizo, diced small 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped 2 scallions, finely chopped 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated Tortilla chips Lime wedges

Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring, until browned, about 8 minutes. In a medium bowl, mix the jalapeño, scallions, and salt. Add the cheese and toss well. Heat the broiler. Combine the chorizo and cheese mixture and pour into individual ramekins. Broil until melted and bubbling, about 4 to 5 minutes. Serve with the chips and lime wedges on the side. 20111222-021348.jpg


It was good, although we had trouble keeping the cheese oozy and dip-able. Still, it had excellent flavor...and Jack was able to indulge in one of his favorite pastimes- eating sour limes! 20111222-021404.jpg



I think it is safe to say that by now, you know my love for traditions! I love these new holiday traditions that we are creating for ourselves as well as the ones we cling to year after year- drinking egg nog, watching our stack of holiday movies, listening to Christmas music, eating sweets DAILY, opening new pajamas on Christmas Eve.

And, a new tradition for our immediate family that is of the upmost most importance to us- our present rule: For all the years to come, we plan to give each other- something you want, something you need, one little something, and something to read! Stockings fall outside of the rule and are free to have fun with. I just love the way this rule helps to keep us centered on the pure and meaningful, while allowing us to let go of the frivolous and unnecessary. Again, Merry Christmas to all of you! I hope you and yours have a peaceful season full of the things that matter most. xxo