Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018: Journey

January 16, 2019

As in the past, this year’s Holiday Gift arrived at our NJ home in time for us to open the first of the 24 boxes on December 1st.

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

The gifts reflected reflected the journey EMP’s Make It Nice company took in 2018.

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Untitled

Untitled

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Untitled

Untitled

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

Eleven Madison Park/Make It Nice Holiday Gift 2018

The always inventive EMP/Make It Nice folks have once again put together a wonderful gift. We are honored to have received it and to be considered a member of their family. Their 2018 journey was filled with so many truly exciting events. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for the coming year. We wish them all a very happy and successful 2019!

The entire photo set can be seen on my Flickr here.

Advertisements

At Home: New Year’s Eve 2018

January 1, 2019

Last New Year’s Eve, we did it up fancy-schmancy at Eleven Madison Park. This year, we were back to what we normally do: staying at home in NJ, listening to the WQXR Classical Countdown, and having what has become a New Year’s Eve tradition, a beef fondue.

At Home: New Year's Eve 2018

Michael drank this Bordeaux, a good pairing with the beef.

At Home: New Year's Eve 2018

Using the Coravin which he purchased several years ago enables him to have a glass or two of finer quality wines, and then keep the resealed bottle indefinitely.  A huge plus since I don’t drink.

At Home: New Year's Eve 2018

At Home: New Year's Eve 2018

At Home: New Year's Eve 2018

Filet Mignon

At Home: New Year's Eve 2018

Sauces: Tarragon, Mustard, Garlic, Horseradish

At Home: New Year's Eve 2018

Salad and Roll

At Home: New Year's Eve 2018

At Home: New Year's Eve 2018

My Plate

Michael’s plate was blue. The fondue forks have color indicators which we match to the color of each plate.

At Home: New Year's Eve 2018

Traditional Side Dish: Rösti Potatoes

When it came to dessert, we kept it simple.

At Home: New Year's Eve 2018

Breyer’s Vanilla

The WQXR Classical Countdown top 5:
5. Mahler: Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection” (Ugh!! Michael and I hate anything Mahler. And this one goes on, and on, and on….)
4. Beethoven: Symphony No. 5
3. Beethoven: Symphony No. 7
2. Dvorak: Symphony No. 9, “From the New World”
1. Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, “Choral”

Happy New Year!

Mel’s 70th Birthday Dinner

December 25, 2018

Mel's 70th Birthday Dinner

My brother Mel turned 70 in November. I’m six years older. Actually, 6 years + exactly one month so that my birthday in October is always on the same day of the week as his four weeks later. I have a pretty good memory of the night he was born. Our mom and dad were sitting at the kitchen table in our apartment on Norfolk St. when her water broke. My mother’s parents lived a block away, so my grandmother came over and took me to their apartment to await news from the hospital. Around 11 p.m., my father called to tell us that the baby, a boy, had been delivered by Caesarean section. And so, on November 28, 1948, my status as an only child ended.

Mel's 70th Birthday Dinner

To celebrate Mel’s achieving three score and ten, his wife Marcie decided to arrange a dinner. It was held at The Basil Leaf Café, an Italian restaurant, in Locust Valley, L.I. Mel told me he and Marcie had not been there before. Marcie’s sister Nancy suggested it since she and her partner Billy had eaten there often.

We had our own room with a table arranged horseshoe style. Mel and Marcie have no children, so being his closest blood relative and only sibling, I got to sit next to the man of the evening (on his left) with Marcie on his other side.

Mel's 70th Birthday Dinner

A friend sat to Marcie’s right.

Mel's 70th Birthday Dinner

Michael (left) sat next to me at the bend of the horseshow. The men next to him were Mel and Marcie’s friends.

Mel's 70th Birthday Dinner

Jen was there (Louis stayed home) as was their other niece, Nancy’s daughter Farrah, along with her s.o. Nancy’s son Ari and his wife were not able to make it.

Mel's 70th Birthday Dinner

Left to Right: Farrah’s S.O., Farrah, Jen, Nancy, and Billy

(Note: Two women friends who were at a dog show in Massachusetts arrived so late, they missed dinner but did get some cake. Michael, Jen and I were just leaving, so no photo of them.)

Baskets of Italian bread placed on the table signaled that dinner was about to be served.

Mel's 70th Birthday Dinner

The first course was a Tre-Colore Salad with Shaved Parmesan.

Mel's 70th Birthday Dinner

Next, a pasta course.

Mel's 70th Birthday Dinner

For the main course, there were three options: Chicken, Veal, and Salmon.

Mel's 70th Birthday Dinner

Mel's 70th Birthday Dinner

Mel's 70th Birthday Dinner

Last, but far from least: Birthday Cake! Mel is a chocoholic, so no surprise his cake, which Nancy got from a local bakery, was all chocolate!

Mel's 70th Birthday Dinner

Mel's 70th Birthday Dinner

Mel's 70th Birthday Dinner

Mel's 70th Birthday Dinner

A seriously delicious end to a lovely evening!

Mel's 70th Birthday Dinner

Chanukah Dinner at Jen and Louis’s

December 7, 2018

Chanukah Dinner 2018: At Jen and Louis's

I usually cook our Chanukah dinner, and we do it in our apartment. However, this time, we went up to Jen and Louis’s apartment and she did the cooking. We hadn’t been there in quite some time, so this gave Michael and me the opportunity to see the few new things they recently acquired, including a gorgeous couch. So-o-o-o comfy!

Jen set out some tasty noshes.

Snacks

The table is ready.

Chanukah Dinner 2018: At Jen and Louis's

Our holiday dinners traditionally start with my famous chopped salad. Because of the tainted romaine lettuce situation, she and I decided she wouldn’t use any green lettuce.

Jen dishes out the salad.

Jen Dishing Out the Chopped Salad

She cut the vegetables in bigger pieces than I do.

Chopped Salad

This excellent baguette came from Maison Kaiser.

French Baguette

We discussed the main course menu ahead of time and made some changes from what I usually make: short ribs rather than pot roast and carrots instead of red cabbage. Of course, the one thing that had to remain the same was potato latkes with applesauce.

Main Course

Applesauce

Louis was in charge of desserts. He is gluten-intolerant, so it’s really lucky that there is a bakery called By the Way nearby where everything is gluten-free (as well as dairy-free and kosher) and delicious. He got Chanukah cookies…

Chanukah Cookies

…and raspberry-filled sufganyot, Israeli donuts that are a Chanukah treat.

Sufganyot

Vanilla and vegan dark chocolate ice cream came from Van Leeuwen which opened a shop a few blocks away during the summer.

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream

Jen did a great job! And Louis’s dessert choices were first-rate! I hope those of you celebrating have had the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful holiday meal as we did.  Happy Chanukah!

Chanukah 2018

December 3, 2018

Chanukah 2018

At Home 2018: Thanksgiving Dinner

December 1, 2018

It’s been more than 10 years since I last cooked Thanksgiving dinner. However, this year, Michael and I did not go to EMP on Thanksgiving as we’ve been doing. Instead, circumstance dictated that we remain at home in NJ. Jen and Louis normally go to his parents. But Jen decided to come out to NJ for a few days and be with us on Thanksgiving while Louis went to his parents as usual. Jen and I don’t often get to cook together, so that would be fun! (Coming out here also gave her a chance to meet up with several of her Marlboro friends. They’d be in NJ celebrating Thanksgiving with their parents who still reside here.)

When I did do Thanksgiving, I always used a kosher turkey. At first, it was because we kept kosher. But even when we stopped, I still continued to buy a kosher turkey because the koshering process, which is essentially brining, made for a flavorful and juicy bird.

This time, I decided to order a cooked turkey from Whole Foods. I purposely ordered a big turkey (10 lbs.) so we’d have plenty of leftovers. Jen could take some home, and Michael could overdose because he loves turkey. We picked it up two days prior to Thanksgiving, and I kept it in the frig until then. Turns out, it wasn’t fully cooked, so it came with finishing instructions along with a disposable roasting pan. I also ordered two large containers of gravy because for me, turkey is absolutely nothing without gravy – and lots of it!

Jen arrived Wednesday morning. After lunch, we baked a pumpkin pie. We also cooked meatballs for an appetizer.

Turkey Day

According to the instructions, the turkey required between 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours finishing time in the oven, plus some standing time before carving. We planned to eat around 2 p.m., so we prepared the side dishes before finishing the turkey.

Turkey

The instruction said to brush the skin with oil or smear it with butter before putting it into the over pre-heated to 325 degrees. I’d always brushed the kosher turnkey with peanut oil, so I used that here. By the way, the turkey was not stuffed.

Turkey

Finished and waiting to be carved.

Turkey

Dinner Is Served!

Brioche Rolls

Brioche Dinner Rolls

Appetizer: Meatballs

“Swedish” Meatballs

I got this recipe nearly 50 years ago from a neighbor (long ago moved away). The beef is flavored with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. The sauce for the meatballs consists of two ingredients: ketchup and beer. Definitely not Swedish (hence, the quotation marks). But that’s what she called them, so we always call them that. We hadn’t had them in ages. Label them delicious!

Turkey

Carved Turkey

The turkey was very flavorful. So, a good decision getting this Whole Foods bird.

Gravy

Gravy

Excellent!

Dressing

Dressing – My Own Recipe

Honesty compels me to say that even though I have the recipe written down, having not made it for so many years, I didn’t get it right and it somehow turned out too soupy. It had always been delicious, so a real disappointment. I did manage to correct it somewhat when we had our leftovers meals, but still not anywhere near as good as it should have been.

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Seriously delicious! There was actually a lot more but Jen started to serve them before I was able to take the picture.

Roasted Broccoli

Roasted Broccoli

Michael and Jen are big broccoli fans (me, not so much), so this was essentially for them.

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce

As you no doubt can tell, this is the stuff that comes out of the can. Sue me! We love it! I used to make fresh cranberry sauce, but we still preferred this kind.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

As I did in the past, we used the recipe that’s been on the Libby’s pumpkin label since forever. And, no, we didn’t make the crust. We used a crust from Oronoque Orchards which comes two to a package in your supermarket freezer. An excellent pie!

Pumpkin Pie and Breyer's Vanilla

Pumpkin Pie and Breyer’s Vanilla

Overall, with the exception of the dressing disaster, this was a thoroughly enjoyable Thanksgiving dinner. I hope all of you felt the same about yours.

At Home 2018: A Carpet of Fallen Leaves

November 21, 2018

At Home 2018: A Carpet of Fallen Leaves

At Home 2018: Fall Colors

November 2, 2018

Late this year….

At Home 2018: Fall Colors

At Home 2018: Fall Colors

At Home 2018: Fall Colors

At Home 2018: Fall Colors

Surprise! Surprise! From Jen and Louis on My Birthday

October 25, 2018

Birthday Gifts on My 76th

Birthday Gifts on My 76th

Birthday Gifts on My 76th

Birthday Gifts on My 76th

Birthday Gifts on My 76th

Birthday Gifts on My 76th

Birthday Gifts on My 76th

Delectable!

It’s My Birthday!

October 24, 2018

cake 76