First…
Let me say a wonderful “Merci” to my neighbor Liane who gave me this great idea, she is more Martha that Martha Stewart herself…her parties are always the best, bringing women together and her attention to detail is out of this world…
 I was so sad I didn’t get to attend…but so inspired by the idea I had to have my own!

Seventeenish years ago a big, extended family all attended the same “mega church”, sitting next to each other every Saturday night.. seventeen years ago they used to go out for dinner, have potlucks and Thanksgiving and Christmas occasions too.

Divorce… Disagreements… Decades… Death…
Things don’t always stay the same.  
Sometimes families need a little space… but sometimes that space turns into years and a void is created.
 A void that was once filled by laughter.
When I knew I just had to host a bracelet exchange the women of this extended family came right to my mind, brought there I think by the Holy Spirit.  It must have been Inspired because it was SO MUCH FUN and everyone reconnected like we didn’t miss a beat.  The next day everyone was still basking in the “afterglow” as the calls and emails came in about how great is was to all be in the same room again and laugh that hard!

Who needs another ornament exchange right?  Lame-o.
For your next girls get-together why not a bracelet exchange?  Everyone brings a bracelet… New… Vintage… Homemade…and wrapped very enticingly.


Then everyone draws a number according to how many guests you have.  Person #1 gets to choose the package that appeals to them the most – then she opens it and shows off her new bracelet.  Person #2 may then pick a package of her own or “steal” person #1’s bracelet… you go around the room until all the packages are open and then you go again, person #1 can “steal” someone else’s bracelet or keep her own…


We laughed so hard.
‘Til the tears came.

And we decided to get together again as soon as possible.  Next time around will be a thrift store purse exchange.  So we are now on a mission to find the most fabulous thrift store purse we can find for February.

I will be hosting an intimate Christmas Eve Bruch in honor of Amélie’s 4th Birthday but aside from that this was my holiday entertaining…
It was so perfect.  I could not have asked for more.

I served…
Christmas macarons in:
Fleur de Sel/Caramel
Pistachio
Chocolate Hazelnut
Mint
Raspberry
&
Cinnamon
(Recipe coming in my Macaron book late Spring… no that’s not the big announcement... it’s bigger!)

Reine de Saba Chocolate Cake
(See side bar or my feature on the Where Women Cook Website)

Carmelized Onion Galettes with 25 Year Old Balsamic Vinegar
(Recipe inspired by Williams Sonoma.  I have made these for Gluten Free friends and family and they come out rather well using rice flour.  A little flakier than wheat flour but very good nonetheless.)



Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 6 to 7 Tbs. ice water

Directions:

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar. Using a pastry blender or 2 
knives, cut in the butter until pea-size crumbs form. Add the water 1 Tbs. at a time 
and mix with your hands, adding more water as needed until the dough comes 
together. It should be moist but not sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, divide into 2 balls and shape each

 into a 5-inch disk. Cover separately with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 
hour.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out each dough disk into a 12-inch round about 1/8

 inch thick. Using a small knife, trim the uneven edges. Transfer each round to a 
parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Use as 
directed in your tart recipe. Makes enough dough for two 10-inch tarts.






Ingredients:

  • 2 rolled-out rounds savory tart dough, each 12 inches in diameter (see
      related recipe at left)
  • 5 Tbs. olive oil
  • 4 yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 oz. mixed salad greens
  • 2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

Directions:

Place the dough rounds on separate parchment-lined baking sheets and refrigerate 
for 30 minutes.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400°F.

In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 3 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the onions,

 salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes.
 Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the thyme, parsley and 2 tsp. of the
 vinegar and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 
about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Spread half of the onion mixture on each dough round, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold

 the dough up and pinch together at 2-inch intervals. Lightly brush the top of the 
dough with the beaten egg. Bake the tarts until the crusts are golden, 30 to 35 
minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the tarts cool for 10 
minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tsp. vinegar, the remaining 2 Tbs. olive 

oil, salt and pepper to form a vinaigrette. Toss half of the vinaigrette with the salad 
greens, then place the remaining vinaigrette in an oil mister. Top the tarts with the 
salad, dividing evenly, and sprinkle with the cheese. Mist the salads with the 
remaining vinaigrette. Serve immediately. Serves 8.






Now this is not quite how I made mine, but all least you can follow their directions the first time and then tweak it to suit yourself.
I do not make a vinaigrette but instead use my favorite Balsamic aged 25 years.  Available here (tell them Parisienne Farmgirl sent you).  



Really, this stuff is life changing.  It’s so good you can drink it like a shot.  I kid you not.  Look at the consistency!!


The décor for the evening was pretty simple.  Lots of fresh greens and I did get a chance to show off my “new” Victorian era Bavarian china in pistachio green and creme.  White linen table cloth, champagne flutes, cake plates and vintage cutlery.  Pandora set to Charlie Brown Christmas… Champagne, Sparkling Pomegranate juice and a killer Bordeaux. (Mais bien sur.)

I had so much fun.  Entertaining is of course a ton of prep work and I could NEVER do it without my babe of a husband who does ALL my last minute errands and vacums for me as I frantically throw on my mascara.  He rocks.

Amélie’s party is going to be simple but pretty to make her feel extra special…
She has requested a macaron tower in Tinkerbell colors with Pixie Dust.  

No pressure Mom.

And we will have lots of “Tinker” colored balloons…
Oh… that reminds me.
I’d better get off the computer and go finish that DRESS!