Last night I went to our annual white elephant party. I'm glad the tradition of stealing gifts and holding year-long grudges is intact. That's what the holidays are all about.
Actually, we all pretty much ended up with the gifts we'd brought.
I also watched my first Saints game this year, and of course they lost. I'm sure every Saints' fan will be relieved to know that I will not be watching again. I'm sure I'm the jinx.
Marshall (our intrepid host) had insisted that our dishes must be "red or green" and "home cooked, not store bought."
I'd run through the list of dishes that would be palatable to everyone, even the pickiest of eaters, and couldn't think of anything. What could I make reasonably ahead of time? What was not too exotic, not too expensive, and reasonably easy?
In my research, I found this macaroni and cheese recipe by Martha Stewart. People online just went insane about it, so I was intrigued.
As you can see at the last minute, I decided to put some red (tomatoes) and green (asparagus) to skirt the rules.
This also makes it healthy, right? I figured I'd put one asparagus spear for each quart of butter used. That's got to cut clearly through the cholesterol, don't you think?
It took three types of cheese (the Gruyere was a good idea of hers, I have to admit), and I substituted cream for the milk called, you know, to offset the healthiness of all those cherry tomatoes. After this picture was taken, I went crazy and put even more of those tomatoes. It was practically a salad afterward, I swear.
It was good, but oddly not as good as my grandmother's old recipe, which used very sharp red wax covered American cheese, (something one can't seem to find anymore), long macaroni (bucatini), and a bit of sugar. It's the sugar that makes it.
I also made chocolate covered strawberries, just so no one could fault me on the whole "red and green" front there. I had bought a massive block of Ghiradelli chocolate. It cost a good bit, so I didn't waste a bit of it. I may just have to get the thing out of the house to keep myself from sleeping with it. Oh, and how cool is my dollar tree "silver" platter? A dollar! and it's not even plastic.