Our son-in-law Gary and daughter Monique ("Kiki")
Kiki and Gary were the splendid hosts of our 2011 Christmas Eve dinner. They both love to cook and are expert at preparing healthy meals. Both are also great planners and work together well in the kitchen. So, when Phil and I arrived, even though they were busy and focused on getting the food ready, they were also amazingly relaxed. Everything was beautifully under control. The aromas made my mouth water. Their condo looked gorgeous. The atmosphere was festive and welcoming. It was a pleasure to visit and watch Gary and Kiki do their work with efficiency and ease.
This is Wally, their sweet 15-year-old bichon.
The view off their lanai
Inside the condo
View toward the kitchen
Gary's long-time friend Loren
Gary busy at the sink
So all was well. Until all of a sudden their little toaster oven started to belch smoke. Kiki had left a tray of nuts inside it to roast, but they had somehow caught on fire. When Gary opened the oven to pull the tray out, huge flames poured out of it. Gary heroically reached through the flames and snatched the burning tray out, threw it into the sink and managed to douse the flames with a stream of water from the faucet. Phew! That was a close call.
A bit shaken, but otherwise alright, Kiki and Gary continued working, putting the finishing touches on their exquisite holiday meal of grilled pesto salmon, roast beef, squash stuffed with an exotic quinoa dressing, roasted Brussels sprouts with grapes and nuts, green beans with shallots (without the burned nuts!), no-butter mashed yams, and Gary's fabulous cranberry sauce.
Everything looked so fantastic that I grabbed my camera to take a photo of each individual dish. I asked Phil to please move a serving spoon out of the way, so I could snap a picture of the salmon. As Phil kindly obliged, he accidentally knocked over his glass of water, which of course splashed all over the freshly grilled pesto salmon, leaving it sitting in a puddle of water. Undaunted, Gary quickly grilled up another batch of salmon and we heartily commenced our dinner.
From the top:
Green beans, pesto salmon and mashed yams
The unusual dish of roasted Brussels sprouts and grapes
Here is my yummy plate!
(Not shown: dessert of warm and moist gingerbread a la mode)
All of the excitement however turned out to be too much for Wally, the sensitive dog, who quietly puked out his dinner on the kitchen floor.
With that the three trials of FIRE, FLOOD & VOMIT were completed and we could get on with the rest of the festivities.
Here's to the fearless threesome of Gary, Kiki & Wally:
MAY YOU STAY FOREVER YOUNG!