Category Archives: Holiday

SATURDAY DECEMBER 5TH IS THE LAST DAY TO PAINT BUOYS AT ART HAVEN, RESERVE NOW!

LOBSTER TRAPS HAVE ARRIVED, COME ON DOWN AND LEND A HAND UNLOADING!

Traps are on their way from Maine! We can’t wait to get started building the 2020 tree!!! Swing down to the police station this morning and help us unload the 350 traps that will make up the tree! Truck will be here at 10am thanks to Three Lanterns and Brooks Trap!

THREE CROSSES OF GLOUCESTER

Wishing all our readers a joyous spring holiday, Happy Easter and Happy PesachView of the three crosses of Our Lady of Good Voyage and Saint Ann Church from Good Harbor Beach

Holiday Blooms

The first of our amaryllis, planted about a month ago, are blooming, and just in time for the holidays. This variety is Amaryllis hippeastrum ‘Papillion,” and is one of the prettiest I think. ‘Papillion’ has three separate stalks, which means three bunches of flowerheads!

amaryllis-hippeastrum-papillion-copyright-kim-smithAmaryllis hippeastrum ‘Papillion’

dscf2240Chinese Paperwhites for fabulous fragrance

Sunday Afternoon Chocolate Party

Our hot cocoa party quickly became a chocolate party when Nicole arrived with a platter of chocolate-dipped-and-delicious strawberries, pineapples, and bananas (and I had as usual doubled the amount of chips in the chocolate chip cookies). I so hope the kids fall asleep tonight!

friends ©Kim Smith 2015

See Happy Hot Chocolate Snow Days

Calling All Chocolate Lovers ~ Happy Valentine’s Day ~ with a Gorgeous Gift of the Most Decadently Delicious Chocolate Cake Ever!

Divine and To Die-for Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe From Our Friends Chef Matt Beach and Meghan Pozzi

Meghan Pozzi Making Flourless choclate Cake cooking class ©Kim Smith 2014 copyLast week I had a fabulous and fun evening taking Chef Matt’s and Meghan’s Decadent Desserts cooking class, held at Savour Wine and Cheese. I was planning to post this on Valentine’s Day, but thought that if you want to make the cake for your loved ones for Friday, I had better share today. And, if you don’t have time to make the cake, please contact Chef Matt and Savour Wine and Cheese. They will be happy to make this yummiest of cakes for you!

Flourless Choclare Cake ©Kim Smith 2014

Enter Chocolate Heaven ~

Flourless Chocolate Cake

8 oz. Semisweet chocolate (Meghan used Bakers)

¼ lb. Unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened

6 large eggs, 2 whole and 4 separated

1 C. Sugar

2 Tbs. Grand Marnier (or Cointreau ot Triple Sec)

Zest of one orange

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1) Line the bottom of an 8” spring form pan with parchment paper.

2) Melt chocolate and remove from heat.

3) Whisk in butter and set aside.

4) Whisk 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with ½ cup of sugar. Whisk in the warm chocolate mixture, whisk in Grand Marnier and zest.

5) In a separate bowl with an electric mixer beat the remaining 4 egg whites until foamy. Gradually add the remaining ½ cup sugar until the whites form soft mounds.

6) Stir about ¼ of the whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten.

7) Gently fold in the remaining egg whites

8) Pour into pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.

9) Let cool.

Note: The cake will sink, forming a crater with high sides.

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Whipped Cream Topping

1 ½ C Heavy Cream

3 Tbs. Confectionary Sugar

1tsp. Vanilla extract

Whip cream, sugar, and vanilla. Fill the center of the cake with the whipped cream and spread evenly. Dust with shaved chocolate.

Flourless choclate cake ©Kim Smith 2014The cake at first looks like this when you take it out of the oven.

Flourless chocolate cake fallen ©Kim Smith 2014Shortly after removing from the oven, the cake falls.

Oftentimes flourless chocolate cakes seem somewhat leaden-like to me. Have you had that experience? That simply is not the case with Matt and Meghan’s recipe. This is the dreamiest and most cloud-like chocolate cake imaginable! My family loves my chocolate cake with lemon frosting and they will barely allow to me make any other cakes for birthdays. I think they may change their minds after sampling this cake! My daughter Liv is coming home next week and I’ll post a photo then.

Briar’s “Little House” Cookies

Briar Forsythe Willowdale Cookies -6 ©Ki Smith 2013 .Don’t these cookies remind you of the Virginia Lee Burton children’s story The Little House?

Briar Forsythe Willowdale Cookies ©Ki Smith 2013My friend Briar Forsythe, proprietor of Willowdale Estate, made this gorgeous gift of fabulously delicious baked treats for my family. The bursting-full-of-yumminess box contained gingerbread cookies, Willowdale signature cookies, pumpkin bread, apple cake (her Italian grandmother’s recipe), which Briar enhanced to include cranberries.

Imagine, despite the fact that she is the owner and operator of of Willowdale, where she employs over 100 local people, Briar continues to take the time to bake and hand decorate cookies and treats for her friends and family. Very fortunately for we, her friends and her employees, she bakes throughout the year, not just at Christmastime!Briar Forsythe Willowdale Cookies  -4©Ki Smith 2013 .

Briar Forsythe Willowdale Cookies -2 ©Ki Smith 2013 .Briar Forsythe Willowdale Cookies -3 ©Ki Smith 2013 .Briar has perfected her gingerbread cookie recipe. The “Little House” cookies not only look amazing, they are actually super delicious as well (which isn’t always the case with gingerbread house dough).

2325Several years ago, I took Briar to the Cape Ann Museum to show her the wonderful Virginia Lee Burton exhibit. I love Briar’s gingerbread house cookies and they remind me greatly of Burton’s extraordinarily beautiful children’s book The Little House. What do you think?

I imagine that if a local baker wanted to make the connection between Virginia Lee Burton, Gloucester, and Little House cookies, it would fill a terrific niche and they would have a ready made market!

IMG_3175What The Little House would look like on a day like today!

sun The Llittle HouseVirginia Lee Burton daisy sun detail.

The Little House images are courtesy of a google image search.

Snapshots from Christmas in Cincinnati

Cincinnati Country Club ©Kim Smith 2013Cincinnati Country Club

Liv and Alex copyLiv and Alex

My husband’s extended family has been celebrating Christmas Eve together since they emigrated from Germany in the mid-1800s. I was feeling a bit melancholy, as I think were other family members, because the older generation (now in their 80s and 90s) is retiring from hosting the parties. The festivities will surely still go on, although not in quite the same high style as Christmas’s past because many of the next generation (such as ourselves) have made their homes far and wide.

_DSF5764This year was my mother-in-law’s turn to host the party. The table was beautifully decorated and I love the simple and cheery touch of the cardinals on the apples.

Bumbleberry cake BonBonerie ©Kim Smith 2013jpg copyBumbleberry Torte from BonBonerie

Cincinnati was settled largely by German immigrants and judging by the countless established bakeries dotted throughout the city, I imagine the original emigrees were fabulous bakers. One of Tom’s cousins, Debbie, created a cookbook based on favorite family Christmas recipes, including recipes that date back to the 1800s, recipes from the family’s cooks, and recipes from old German great aunts who also lived in the big house and whose job it was at Christmastime to make thousands of cookies. When we spend Christmas at home and not in Ohio, Liv, Alex, and I love to cook from the family Christmas cookbook and the cookies especially are the yummiest you could possibly imagine.

_DSF5794My father-in-law, who is the most kind-hearted man I have ever met, has a wonderful sense of humor, and is a great storyteller, too–and boy does he have many stories to share from a life richly led!
Liv Alex and Hannah

Cincinnati Country Club snow ©Kim Smith 2013Dusting of snow Christmas Eve morning

Cincinnati Country Club  -1©Kim Smith 2013_DSF6033Cincinnati is just that much further west that sunrise is nearly an hour later than in Gloucester. The club that we stay at is set within a golf course sited on a hill, with beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Cincinnati Country Club  -3©Kim Smith 2013JPGCincinnati Country Club -4 ©Kim Smith 2013Getting ready for Christmas Eve celebration #2!

Liv, Alex, Tom HauckAlways a challenge to get loved ones to stand still long enough for a photo!

Liv, Alex, Tom Hauck -

Liv, Alex, Tom Hauck

Nutcracker ©Kim Smith 2013 copyDouble Exposure Fuifilm X- E1

End Note: In poking around online, I found a photo of the home of Great-aunt Kitty, where the Christmas Eve parties were held continuously for many years. Tom has fond memories of wonderful Christmas’s spent there and especially of the “kiddy table,” where all the cousins and siblings sat together (no adults!), and I gather, where many food fights occurred. The house, still standing, was donated to the Cincinnati park board and you can see more photos of the gorgeous interior at this link: The Gibson-Hauck House. While in Cincinnati we also visited the Rookwood Pottery studio. If you have ever seen Antiques Roadshow, you probably know how beautiful is Rookwood pottery. This post is already too long so later in the week I’ll do a little post about Rookwood.

Hauck Gibson HouseGibson-Hauck House

Panetonne French Toast for a New Year’s Day Brunch Treat

Did you know that panettone makes wonderful French toast?

Panetonne French Toast -- ©Kim Smith 2013 copyWe make French toast with panetonne during the holidays and it is always a much appreciated hit. Give it a try—your family will love you for it!

4-5 eggs whisked

1 ½ Cups whole milk

2 tsp. vanilla

pinch of salt

6-8 slices of panettone, cut into slices roughly ½ inch thick, and arranged to fit your baking dish,

Optional: add grated orange zest and cinnamon to the batter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter 9 x 12 inch baking dish. Dip panetonne in batter. Arrange slices in pan and pour any remaining batter over bread slices. Up to this point the French toast can be made ahead of time and set aside until ready to bake. Refrigerate if longer than half an hour. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown and puffy. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

Panetonne French Toast ©Kim Smith 2013

More Snowy Day Photos

Iron curlique © Kim Smith 2013Iron Curlique

Winterberry Ilex verticillata snow ©Kim Smith 2013Winterberry ~ Ilex verticillata

Dogwood Branches snow ©Kim Smith 2013Dogwood Branches ~ Cornus florida

Rosie Scottish terrier snow ©Kim Smith 2013Rosie

Red Bow wreath ©Kim Smith 2013Red Bow

Beautiful Morning After Snowfall in East Gloucester Square

Beacon marine Basin © Kim Smith 2013Beacon Marine Basin

Wednesday morning East Gloucester was especially beautiful although, is anywhere not magically beautiful after a new fallen snow? While photographing around the neighborhood, I nearly ran into Frieda on her way into her shop, Again and Again (with lots of terrific gift items for last minute shoppers). After photographing down by the North Shore Art Association I stopped in to say hello to Frieda and Beth at Again and Again (see yesterday’s post).

Leaving the shop, and while admiring Duckworth’s wreath and lovely holiday decor, I met Ken Duckworth outside his bistro. We had a friendly chat and I was reminded of what a fabulous neighborhood is ours. At that moment I was thinking not of the beauty that surrounds, but of our wonderful neighbors.

Maritime Heritage center ©Kim Smith 2013Maritime Center from Smith’s Cove

Duckworth's ©Kim Smith 2013Duckworth’s in the Snow

Dinner at Duckworth’s Bistrot anytime of the year, but most especially during the holidays, is always a very special treat. Plan to go soon for your Duckworth’s fix because I believe they close for several weeks during. January.

East main Street snow © Kim Smith 2013Snowy Morning East Main Street

Pine cones snow ©Kim Smith 2013 copyGlitter Pine Cones

Duckworth's wreath ©Kim Smith 2013Duckworth’s Wreath

Chocolate Amaretto Truffle Recipe

A fun to make and relatively easy recipe, Chocolate Amaretto Truffles make a wonderful host/hostess gift and also easily freeze for make-ahead gifts. I am bringing a batch to the Good Morning Gloucester Holiday Party tonight at Fred Bodin’s gallery and hope to see you there!

Choclolate Amaretto Truffles ©Kim Smith 2011

Ingredients

Mini baking cups

2 ounces Baker’s sweet German chocolate, broken into small bits

6 ounces Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips

¼ C. Disaronno Amaretto liqueur

2 Tbs. strong coffee

Few drops almond extract

2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 Tbs. vanilla extract

½ C. pulverized Jules Destrooper almond thins (or Anna’s, or any super fine, thin cookie)

Confectioner’s sugar to taste (approx. ¼ cup)

½ C. Ghiradelli unsweetened cocoa powder for final powdering

*   *   *

Melt sweet chocolate bits and semi-sweet chocolate chips over a gently simmering double boiler.

Whisk in liqueur, coffee, almond extract, and vanilla. Whisk vigorously, over gentle heat, a few minutes more until mixture is shiny and smooth. Gradually add the butter by tablespoons. With a wooden spoon, beat in the pulverized cookies. Beat in sifted confectioner’s sugar, to taste. Remove the pan from the double boiler and place in a bowl of ice with water. Stir until well chilled and firm enough to form into balls.

By teaspoonful, gather up a gob and form into a rough, truffle-like shape. Roll in cocoa powder and drop into frilled paper cup.

Makes about 22, depending on size. Refrigerate in an airtight container. They will keep for several weeks or they may be frozen. Very loosely adapted from Julia Child’s Chocolate Amaretti Truffles The Way to Cook Page 485.

I think you will find this recipe relatively easy. Let us know if you do give it a try.

Reposted from December 2011.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Happy Valentine's Day ©Kim Smith 2013

 

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Happy Valentine's day rose heart ©Kim Smith 2013Fujifilm multiple exposure created from the Big Rose Heart window display at Common Crow. I wonder who made all the beautiful paper roses?

Holiday Concert at Willowdale Estate

Willowdale Holiday Concert©Kim Smith 2012Lisa, Lora, and Briar sang to a packed house last night. Their solos, and voices in unison, of traditional classic songs, made for a beautiful evening of holiday music. My favorites were Carol of the Bells and the tender lullaby by Paul Williams and Joseph M. Martin: Still is the Night; also by  Joseph Martin was the joyful O Come Emmanuel and Listen to the Stars, both from The Voices of Christmas.

Lisa and Lora TamaginiMezzo Soprano Lisa Tamagini and Soprano Lora Tamagini

Sisters Lisa and Lora Tamagini and Briar have known each other since they began their opera careers in Boston. Lora and Lisa have toured the world over and Lora’s original music can be heard on three CDs: Joy in My SoulSing to the Lord, and Sing Gloria. Briar is passionate about supporting local artists and it has been her dream to host musical concerts. The success of Willowdale has made it possible for her to create unforgettable holiday performances for everyone to enjoy!

Willowdale Holiday Concert-4©Kim Smith 2012

Willowdale Holiday Concert-3©Kim Smith 2012Briar’s festive and delicious Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Frosting

jpeg

The Twelve Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas Dinner Napkins

Last week Good Morning Gloucester contributor E.J. posted photos of Haiti Projects merchandise for sale. I thought you might be interested to know that the set of four napkins pictured above was designed by me.

My designs were inspired by the first four verses of the English Christmas Carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas–A partridge in a pear tree, two turtle doves, three French hens, and four calling birds. Perhaps knowing what the images symbolize, you may be even more interested in purchasing as a holiday gift!

Daisy Table Mat with Matching Napkins

Over the years I designed many items for Haiti Projects and The Twelve Days of Christmas set of napkins was one of my favorites. All of the Haiti Projects linens are exquisitely hand embroidered, not machine embroidered. Additional photos are of several more of my designs for Haiti Projects, along with links to purchase each: Dove of Peace, Daisy Table Mat with Matching NapkinsDragonfly Eye Pillow, and Sweet Dreams Eye Pillow. See also Apple Blossom Table Mat. The prices are all very reasonable and make very special gifts–as E.J. said, Give a Gift for Good.” Photos courtesy Haiti Projects website.

Dragonfly Eye Pillow ~ filled with lavender

Dove of Peace  ~ Also available in white ground with red embroidery

Sweet Dreams Eye Pillow

Christmas Whimsy

Vintage Christmas Decorations ~ snowflake, cupcake tree, circus Noël, nutcracker frog prince, and music box Santa.

Happy Holidays!

Santa Baby

Santa Baby, slip a sable under the tree, For me.
been an awful good girl, Santa baby,
so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa baby, a 54 convertible too,
Light blue.
I’ll wait up for you dear,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Having fun photographing Christmas decorations around the house. My husband Tom made this cardboard Santa for me –that year Santa was bearing a jewelry box with a very pretty ring…

Think of all the fun I’ve missed,
Think of all the fellas that I haven’t kissed,
Next year I could be just as good,
If you’ll check off my Christmas list,

Santa baby, I wanna yacht,
And really that’s not a lot,
Been an angel all year,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa honey, there’s one thing I really do need,
The deed
To a platinum mine,
Santa honey, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa cutie, and fill my stocking with a duplex,
And checks.
Sign your ‘X’ on the line,
Santa cutie, and hurry down the chimney tonight.

Come and trim my Christmas tree,
With some decorations bought at Tiffany’s,
I really do believe in you,
Let’s see if you believe in me,

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing,
A ring.
I don’t mean on the phone,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight,
Hurry down the chimney tonight,
Hurry, tonight.                                     Joan Javits and Philip Springer

“Santa Baby” was originally recorded by Eartha Kit with Henri Rene and his orchestra in New York City, 1953.

Vin d’orange

Orange infused wine, or vin d’orange, is a warm weather Provençal aperitif, but I never remember to make it during the summer months, only during the holidays. Although, when drinking it, I like to imagine sipping orange wine from a garden cafe somewhere (anywhere!) along the Côte-d’Azure. Vin d’orange is marvelously easy to prepare and makes a much appreciated holiday host/hostess gift.

Over the years I’ve experimented with the original recipe, which was, to my way of thinking, much too sweet—add more sugar if you like a sweeter aperitif. I think you will find this concoction intoxicatingly fun, light, and aromatic. I hope your family and friends enjoy as much as do mine!

12-15 Clementines thoroughly washed and cut in half

3 bottles modestly priced dry white wine

1 Cup sugar

½ Cup Courvoisier

Long strips of orange zest

In a large glass or stainless steel bowl combine the wine and Clementines, gently squeezing each half to release some of the juice. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 5 days. Save the empty wine bottles and corks; wash and remove labels. You will need a fourth empty bottle.

Remove orange infused wine from the refrigerator and squeeze any liquid remaining in the orange halves into the large bowl. Discard oranges. Add the sugar and cognac, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Strain through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Pour wine concoction into wine bottles. Insert a strip of the zest into each bottle and cork. Chill the wine for one week. Serve neat or over ice.

Vin d’orange will keep for 6 months when chilled. Makes approximately 4 bottles.

Dear Readers, There must be a southern Italian equivalent to vin d’orange? In Italy they make something entirely different, also called orange wine. Italian orange wine is made from white grapes that have been left to ferment with their skins, treated in essence like red wines. These wines may macerate for days or even months, which gives the wine color shades varying from rosy pink  to amber cider to vivid orange, however this is a different process than wine infused with oranges. Please write if you know of an Italian version of the Provençal aperitif or some similar deliciously fun fruit infused wine recipe.

Christmas Tree for Liv

My darling daughter, away at graduate school, is missing home and missing especially Christmas-making. She called last night to request a snapshot of our Christmas tree. My wish for Christmas was that both Liv and Alex could come home for Christmas.  Alex we knew for sure would be home (if for no other reason than he misses home cooked dinners) but Liv started a brand new job with a crazy schedule and is mired in papers and finals.  I learned yesterday that she will be traveling home on the 21st and son will be home Thursday of this week. Happiest of moms am I!

Click any photo to see slide show

Lobster Pot Tree Lighting

Main Street photos from Toodeloos!, Art Haven, Supreme Roastbeef Diner, Dress Code, and Bananas. Click any photo to see slideshow.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Everywhere you go;

Take a look in the five and ten, glistening once again

With candy canes and sliver lanes aglow.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,

Toys in every store

But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be

On your own front door.       Meredith Willson (1902-19840)

Click any photo to see slideshow.

Meredith Willson (1902-1984) was a composer, songwriter, playwright, and conductor and was best know for writing the book, music, and lyrics for The Music Man.

Chocolate Amaretto Truffles

Chocolate Amaretto Truffles

Mini muffin baking cups or petit four cups

2 ounces. Baker’s sweet German chocolate, broken into small bits

6 ounces Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips

¼ C. Disaronno Amaretto liqueur

2 Tbs. strong coffee

Few drops almond extract

2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 Tbs. vanilla extract

½ C. pulverized Jules Destrooper almond thins (or Anna’s, or any super fine, thin cookie)

Confectioner’s sugar to taste (approx. 1/2  cup)

 ½ C. Ghiradelli unsweetened cocoa powder for final powdering

Melt sweet chocolate bits and semi-sweet chocolate chips over a gently simmering double boiler. Whisk in liqueur, coffee, almond extract, and vanilla. Whisk vigorously, over gentle heat, a few minutes more until mixture is shiny and smooth. Gradually add the butter by tablespoons. With a wooden spoon, beat in the pulverized cookies. Beat in sifted confectioner’s sugar, to taste. Remove the pan from the double boiler and place in a bowl of ice with water. Stir until well chilled and firm enough to form into balls.

By teaspoonful, gather up a gob and form into a rough, truffle-like shape. Roll in cocoa powder and drop into frilled paper cup.

Makes about 22, depending on size. Refrigerate in an airtight container. They will keep for several weeks or they may be frozen. (Very) loosely adapted from Julia Child’s Chocolate Amaretti Truffles The Way to Cook Page 485. To vary using orange liqueur: Replace Amaretto with Grand Marnier or Cointreau, replace almond extract with lemon or orange extract, and replace almond thins with thin gingersnaps (Anna’s, for example).