Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The famous Graham Christmas party!

Last Friday the Gosneys enjoyed the famous, world-renowned, completely awesome Graham Christmas Party. The Grahams are good friends and they have established a great tradition of hosting an adults-only Christmas party. Matt and Sharon celebrate their attendance at the party in two significant ways. First, they buy spiffy new Christmas sweaters (although Sharon refuses to buy one with snowmen or Santa Claus on it.) Next, they find some sort of tasty new treat to make and bring. The results of the sweater purchase can be seen here, along with a very pregnant and very ready to not be pregnant anymore Laura Hammontree in the background. The tasty treats were Cheese Straws and Mini-Cheesecakes. As both were un-abashed hits at the party the Gosneys have decided they are willing to share their recipes. Rest assured, they were glorious. (Recipes are at the bottom of the post.)

Another significant aspect of the Graham Christmas Party is the great and imaginative games that Cori Graham thinks up to keep everyone entertained. This year's major hit was a game in which a series of Christmas songs were written on slips of paper, and genres of music on seperate slips of paper. Each group drew from each pile and, with provided props, had to perform the song in the genre selected. Here several friends are performing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" in the style of High School Musical. The Gosneys did "Deck the Halls" in a country-music style that ended up being much more redneck hillbilly than country. Frightening to behold, but highly entertaining.

Hope everyone is well!

Cheese Straws

2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry (such as Pepperidge Farm), defrosted overnight in the refrigerator
Flour, for dusting
1 extra-large egg
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup finely grated Gruyère cheese (or Aziago, which is what we used.)
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll out each sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured board until it is 10- by 12-inches. Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush the surface of the pastry. Sprinkle each sheet evenly with 1⁄4 cup of the Parmesan, 1⁄2 cup of the Gruyère, 1⁄2 teaspoon of the thyme, 1⁄2 teaspoon of the salt, and some pepper. With the rolling pin, lightly press the flavorings into the puff pastry. Cut each sheet crosswise with a floured knife or pizza wheel into 11 or 12 strips. Twist each strip and lay on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. (We also found that twisting the strips and then doubling them over and twisting again worked best. Otherwise they end up way too long.)

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and puffed. Turn each straw and bake for another 2 minutes. Don't over bake or the cheese will burn. Cool and serve at room temperature.


1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter, melted
3 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 (21 oz.) can Wilderness filling or topping, any flavor,
chilled (we doubled the recipe and went half blueberry and half cherry.)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine crumbs, sugar, and
butter; press equal portions into bottoms 24 lightly
greased or paper cup lined muffin cups. In large bowl, beat
cheese until fluffy (muffin paper cups worked great.) Gradually beat in condensed milk until
smooth. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Spoon mixture into
cups. Bake 20 minutes or until set. Cool. Chill. Top with
filling. Refrigerate. Makes about 2 dozen mini cheesecakes.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanksgiving, Christmas Trees, and Sam Bradford

The Gosneys made their oft-traveled journey to Oklahoma to spend Thanksgiving with Matt's parents. The Gosney Thanksgiving Dinner generally consists of the traditional Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, etc, and this year was no exception. However, all of the main course fare is really just a precursor to the many varied and wonderful pies that are always made, drooled over, and eaten with absolute haste. The pie-to-person ratio for Thanksgiving is always a little embarassing. This year a chocolate cream, coconut cream, mixed berry, and pumpkin pie were the choices and Sharon deemed each to be successful (although she's not really a fan of coconut cream in general, citing "yucky texture" as the problem area.) Unfortunately the digital camera did not make the trip, so you will have to simply trust that it was an extremely successful Thanksgiving. Matt and Sharon even ventured out on Black Friday to do some shopping. Although both agreed that it was enjoyable, there is no question that mall pizza at 8:30 in the morning will play havoc on one's digestive system.

Saturday was the OU-OSU football game, with a trip to the Big 12 Championship riding on the outcome. Matt has never purchased a Sooner player's jersey before, however he did decide that OU's quarterback was in fact jersey-worthy. A quick view of the image here will show why. OU won, and now off to Kanas City and a chance to play for the national championship. Matt isn't sure what he enjoys most about this development, seeing OU do well or watching it come at the expense of Texas fans. Matt's new Sr. Vice-President is a die-hard Texas fan, so he has learned to temper his enthusiasm at the office. Best not to commit career suicide over football.

On Monday Matt and Sharon decorated the Christmas trees, while Auggie and Penny observed and ocassionally licked the ornaments. There are two trees that get decorated, one in the family room and one in the guest bedroom. Both look strikingly similar to the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, but with enough ornamentation it isn't too bad. The first tree pictured is the living room tree. You will notice some gaping holes and an angel that is very clearly too big for the tree. One day these issues will be fixed, but not this year. Matt and Sharon bought most of the ornaments in their first year of marriage as they burned through Pier One Gift Cards (wedding gifts.) Unfortunately the tree doesn't really fit the ornaments, but it does make for a more festive living room.

Hope everyone's Thanksgiving was wonderful!