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“The Hap-Happiest Season of All”, Part 1: Family, Friends, Florida + Food!

December 17, 2011 by Joan Nova in "Foodie" Activities, Florida, Holidays | 14 Comments

Over the next two weeks, I will be sharing the ‘hap-happiest season of all’ as I celebrate it here in Florida with family, friends, and food! I hope your holidays are equally festive.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…with the kids jingle belling…and everyone telling you…”Be of good cheer”.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

It’s the hap-happiest season of all…with those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings…when friends come to call.
It’s the hap- happiest season of all!

It begins with The Parties.
Right after Thanksgiving on the first Saturday of December my sister and brother-in-law host their annual boat parade party. Friends come from near and far to celebrate ‘with good cheer’, including taking turns pumping Christmas tunes on the player piano. It’s a killer, especially after a bellyful of drinks and food.
And then we all pose for silly photos. This year, it was with Rudolph’s nose.

I made a special caponata to go along with the Italian table she set out. Recipe follows.

The following weekend I attended a Palm Beach Foodie Pot Luck in the beautiful home of my friend, Maude (@4theloveoffood), who started our SoFL Foodie Group.

Pot luck takes on a different connotation with this international group. Besides native-born Americans, there were people born in Cuba, Greece, Iran, Brazil, Thailand, etc. and everyone contributed a traditional dish representative of their family holidays. Outdoors-indoors and lots of bubbly to accompany appetizers, dinner, desserts.

 I made a broccoli rabe pascualina and a potage of garbanzos y chorizos. Recipes follow.

A couple of days later, I attended the Palm Beach Food + Wine Festival Grand Tasting which was very much in keeping with the spirit of the holidays in Florida. Beautiful indoor-outdoor venue, party atmosphere, drinks, and wonderful food from great chefs. Here I am with Scott Conant (Scarpetta, Chopped, etc.)

And, then…

Last night was the SoFL Foodies’ 3rd Holiday Bash which we celebrated at the beautiful South Beach restaurant of Chef Douglas Rodriguez, one of the original “Mango Gang” and the king of Nuevo Latino cuisine.

With a tongue-in-cheek nod to Christmas and Hanukah and to our very diverse South Florida community, a Roast Pig and Latkes (potato pancakes) menu was created…which quickly went to ‘lechon y latkes’, ‘oink and latkes’, and then to my personal favorite ‘olé and oy vey’ on twitter.

Here’s a few scenes:

A few of my foodie besties.

We had the entire outdoor patio for our dinner and holiday grab bag.

After chopped liver mousse followed by not-so-kosher matzo ball soup, ceviche, potato latkes with rum-cured salmon and creme fraiche…the pig came out of the caja china (outdoor cooking vessel). And the foodies went crazy with their cameras!! It was served with black beans, white rice, plantains 2-ways, and 3 mojo salsas.

The restaurant graciously served the coquito (Puerto Rican egg nog with rum) made by our foodie, Natascha. Then a wild array of desserts was presented.

[If you’d like to see more photos of the food and activities from this event, you can view my facebook album.]

Thanks to DonQ and Zonin for sponsoring our event.

*     *     *

Note: I had planned to include photos and recipes for the caponata, pascualina and garbanzos y chorizos here, but I think I’ll save that for another day.


NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. bellini says:

    It looks like the holidays are in full swing in Florida Joan. Many happy returns.

  2. Jacqueline says:

    Sounds like you are having a rip-roaring time Joan. Merry Christmas xx

  3. Ivy says:

    Looks like you are having a fabulous time. Love your haircut!! You look great. Happy Holidays to you and yours.
    Ivy recently posted..How to make Spankopita from Scratch Video and winners of GiveawayMy Profile

  4. Que puerquito mas rico…so happy you are having so much fun amiga…Say hello to the familia!
    Platanos, Mangoes & Me! recently posted..IF IT’S BROKEN THEN FIX ITMy Profile

  5. Gail says:

    I am so glad I was there for most of it! We sure do have fun!
    Gail recently posted..Out of the AshesMy Profile

  6. Looks like it was a great year with friends, family and lots of food & lets not forget DRINK!

    Happy Holidays!
    Patricia Durr recently posted..Marky’s – International Food EmporiumMy Profile

  7. Definitely, I want to live in Florida!!!
    Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Paris recently posted..Hazelnut Polvorones… Traditional Spanish Cookies for Christmas !My Profile

  8. looks like fun times for sure!

  9. Peter says:

    Busy-busy lady…looks like you’re have a festive time and that whole roast pig would be a highlight for me!
    Peter recently posted..Christmas Cookbook WinnersMy Profile

  10. I/m glad you’re having a blast Joan…I would be too …especially with that pig!
    Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul recently posted..Mini Pavlovas with Poached Figs and Greek YoghurtMy Profile

  11. Sippitysup says:

    I see the “red nosed” family resemblance. GREG
    Sippitysup recently posted..Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, and I Mean ItMy Profile

  12. You are having so much fun down there. Fabulous everything and I love those Rudolph noses.
    angela@spinachtiger recently posted..Pears with Roquefort and Ile de France Give AwayMy Profile

  13. I want to swap lives Joan – except I think I might be too exhausted! Have a fabulous, fabulous Christmas. Somehow, I think this is guaranteed!
    Sally – My Custard Pie recently posted..In my kitchen in December…My Profile

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