How beautiful the Maritime Gloucester and Schooners Adventure and Ardelle look decked out in holiday glow!
Best Christmas <3
Love this new rocking Christmas song by Telamor!
With thanks to David Brooks, Shawn Henry, Three Lanterns, Traci Thayne Corbett, Cape Ann Art Haven, Jason Burroughs, Gregg Cademartori, David DeAngelis, Andrew Nicastro, Josh Oliver, George Schlichte, Gloucester Fire Department, Mayor Sefatia Romeo-Theken, Ken Riehl, Jill Cahill, and the Buoy Painters.
Music by Telamor – “Christmas Party,” permission granted by the artist
Despite a major power outage earlier in the afternoon, Sunday evening’s Lobster Trap Tree lighting went off without a hitch. Gloucester’s Fire Department arrived right on schedule. Using an aerial ladder, the firemen hoisted the star to the tippy top of the tree, where Shawn Henry was waiting to secure. Ten, nine, eight… Mayor Sefatia gave the virtual countdown and the vibrantly colored buoys and lights shone brightly.
The Lobster Trap Tree is a very special tradition for our community and we are especially grateful to David Brooks and Shawn Henry for their continued dedication in building, organizing, and sharing through Shawn’s films, particularly during the global pandemic
I love that the tree’s star is currently switched to alternating between colorful and white lights, simply wonderful!
Rich and Stephanie Galicki have created a wondrous Magical Kingdom (as our granddaughter calls the display). For over fifty years, the family has kept the tradition going, each Christmas adding more lights and whimsical scenes. You’ll find a snowman and towering candy cane lined driveway, heralding angels, nutcrackers, a patriotic display created after 911, the Grinch, elf sleigh riders, and much, much more.
The Galciki’s Magical Kingdom is located on Linebrook Road in Ipswich, just before you get to Marini Farm if coming from Cape Ann. With an electric bill at roughly $2,000.00, donations are greatly appreciated 🙂
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!
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!
Divine and To Die-for Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe From Our Friends Chef Matt Beach and Meghan Pozzi
Last 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!
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
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.
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.
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.
My 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 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).
The Little House images are courtesy of a google image search.
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.
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.
Cincinnati 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.
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.
Did you know that panettone makes wonderful French toast?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Lisa, 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.
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 Soul, Sing 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!