Monthly Archives: December 2011

Casual Post-Christmas Dinner Party

Tim Premselaar, Peggy Swistak, Gary Neumann, Shelley Hovind

We have attended so many beautiful parties hosted by friends during this festive holiday season, but earlier this week, it was fun to host a very casual post-Christmas dinner party for just a few friends.  The Christmas decorations were all still up and the house looked beautiful with the extra lights and candles that Christmas brings.

As usual, setting the table is my favorite part of entertaining and I had the most fun setting the table with all the red and green table accoutrements.  But then, since people generally expect food when they are invited for dinner, I had to also turn my mind to a suitable, casual menu. I decided to try to recreate a delicious pasta entree that I had eaten recently at The Rainier Club, but with all the Rainier Club staff being off this week, I had to make it up as I went since I couldn’t get the actual recipe.

Susan Neumann with ZiZi and
Michael Swistak

Our version of the pasta dish included a bed of fresh spinach sauteed with garlic and lemon in olive oil topped with al dente penne pasta and then layered with caramelized onion, bacon, roasted fennel and asparagus  followed by seasoned fresh bread crumbs, grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and finally a soft poached egg on top.  The egg helped provide the “sauce” (similar to a Carbonara sauce) when people cut into the egg.  Thank heavens I had Judy Hebert of Hey Jude Catering helping me in the kitchen, since poaching eggs at the last minute turned out to be quite challenging!  Plus, Judy can generally help keep me settled down when I am entertaining because she is so calm and efficient.  Whew!

But, back to the beginning of the evening.  When the guests arrived, they were offered a selection of our featured Manhattans courtesy of Susan & Gary Neumann or the special holiday drink I mixed from the recipe from my daughter, Katie Laramore, called Ginger Cranberry CosmosTim Premselaar brought a selection of his single malt Scotch collection for sipping as well, including a Talisker and a Bunnahabhain and a third one that I cannot remember.

Michael Swistak contemplating his winnings
flanked by Peggy Swistak and Sandi Premselaar

For hors d’oeuvres before dinner, we served Dungeness crabmeat tossed in horseradish mustard sauce on Belgian endive tips, tomato, garlic and basil bruschetta with melted fresh mozzarella,  and fresh vegetables with a lemon-anchovy-caper dipping sauce.  Herb parmesan bread and an arugula salad with pomegranetes and pistachio nuts rounded out the menu with the pasta.  For dessert, I served Sticky Toffee Pudding with Caramel Sauce, recipe courtesy of friend, Annette Parks.

Sandi Premselaar, Nancy Strom, Susan Neumann,
Peggy Swistak, Cathi Hatch

Van Strom, Susan & Gary Neumann play the game
Susan and Michael split their winnings

ZiZi Zinfandel Z-Dog managed to find her way to the dinner table by successfully begging to be included on laps of the guests. 

Following dinner, Shelley & David Hovind excused themselves since David is still recovering from knee replacement surgery while the rest of us adjourned into the Day Room to play a spirited dice game of “Left-Right-Center“.

There we also consumed a 1984 vintage port, fudge and Christmas cookies to keep up our strength for the rigors of the game.  Michael Swistak was the big winner of the first game, but Susan Neumann, who loves to play games and is very competitive, quickly talked him into sharing his winnings with each of us so we could play again.  Following another raucous game with an appropriate sound track handled by Van Strom, Susan actually won, but after helpful urging from the rest of the group, she agreed to split her winnings with Michael.

We ended the evening by attempting to take a photo of the women, which turned out to be rather challenging since everyone wanted to hide behind someone else.

As the guests departed, I knew that the holidays really are over now and it is time to get ready to begin a new year.  The Christmas decorations came down the following day so now the fun of the 2011 holiday season is all just a happy memory.

Christmas Day with Family Progressive Visits

Spencer, Michael & Jackson Hatch with Ken

Ken and I awakened to a lazy morning where we really didn’t have to be anywhere until afternoon.  What a treat to sleep in and then leisurely open gifts under the tree (most of which were for ZiZi Zinfandel Z-Dog) and have a relaxed breakfast.

Andrew Hatch

We were invited to the home of Katie & Kevin Laramore, my daughter and son-in-law, for Christmas dinner later that afternoon, but we had a few gifts to deliver on the way.  Though we had celebrated with the Hatch Family two nights earlier at our home, we had somehow forgotten to give them some of the gifts that were waiting under our tree for them.  It may have been the high energy and excitement with all the young children opening their gifts that we totally forgot everyone else!

Once we were dressed and ambulatory, our first stop was the home of Ken’s eldest son, Sean Hatch along with his partner, Troy Clark.  It was fun to see their Christmas decorations which included a huge blow up “Shrek” outside their house (Troy has been compared to Shrek numerous times and is proud of the comparison!) along with beautiful glass balls and whimsical lights.  Inside, it was a treat to see their huge collections of snow globes and nutcrackers and their perfectly decorated tree which was still replete with gifts underneath since they were opening gifts later that afternoon.

Katie reads to Bode, ZiZi and Kevin

Our next stop was at Ken’s third son’s home where we saw Michael & Alicia Hatch along with their three sons, Jackson, Spencer and Andrew.  We dropped off Andrew’s giant gift which we had forgotten to give them earlier and had a chance to see all the Transformers, Playmobil and Lego toys that Santa had brought the bigger boys.  It was quite a haul and Jackson was especially enjoying trying to build each one.

Ken helps ZiZi check out Bode

From there we headed to Bonney Lake to Katie and Kevin’s home, where they had prepared dinner for us and for Kevin’s parents, Jill & Rick Laramore, to join them.  Their house was festive with lots of exterior lights and two Christmas trees inside.  We were greeted with Ginger Cranberry Cosmos (yum!), parmesan breadsticks, rosemary cashews and broiled bacon wrapped prawns.  For dinner, Katie served baked ham with a savory mustard orange glaze, broccolini with pecan butter and my personal favorite, creamy baked leeks with bacon and breakcrumbs.  For dessert, she made chocolate souffles which tasted absolutely delicious!  I was very impressed!

Kevin models his new snuggie

We brought the white elephant gifts from Christmas Eve that they had missed taking with them and Kevin looked quite fetching in his new “snuggie”.  I think Katie was thrilled that she wasn’t the recipient of the snuggie and received a sound machine instead that makes socially unacceptable noises.

The evening ended with an “Ugly Ornament” exchange.  Several of the ugly ornaments looked suspiciously as if they had come from my old ornament collection that Katie had recently acquired, but what I thought was the worst one definitely did come from Jill and Rick and was a moose dressed in fatiques.

It was a very merry Christmas and it was such a treat for me to be entertained in my daughter’s home this year!

Cutter enjoying a souffle with Jill

Rick, Bode, Kevin and Cutter Laramore work to open Bode’s gift.

Christmas Eve at the Barrier Home

Katie Laramore, Cathi Hatch, Patty Barrier

The Barriers and the Hatches take turns hosting Christmas Eve dinner each year and this year Patty & Jimmy were the hosts.  It was a beautiful party!  Patty had worked very hard to plan activities to keep the Hatch grandchildren happy and occupied and at the same time planned a fantastic party for the adults too.

Kevin and Bode Laramore

The children’s table was next to the adult table and Patty had thoughtfully seated the parents and nanny closest to the children.  Plus, the table had been covered with butcher paper so the children were allowed to draw directly on it and there were markers and crayons and stickers and activity books.  The children received a separate menu than the adults and the biggest hit was the snowman shapped finger jello.  Spencer and Jackson Hatch knew just what to do with it, while Cutter Laramore was not too sure about it.

JJ McKay joined us for cocktails and held each of the younger babies, Andrew Hatch and Bode Laramore while the other adult dinner guests included Kjell Schei, Pat Wallace and her daughters Christy and Nancy, Alicia & Michael Hatch, Katie & Kevin Laramore and Ken and me.

Michael & Alicia Hatch

The menu was delicious which included tomato basil soup with a creme fraiche Christmas tree pattern garnishing the soup, beef tenderloin cooked perfectly with a delicious horseradish sauce, garlic mashed potatoes and crisp tender green beans.  There were many dessert choices including Patty’s special homemade sweet potato and pecan pie.  Yum!

Pat, Christy & Nancy Wallace with Kjell Schei

Katie & Kevin decided to leave after dessert because their children were getting restless so they were loading their car when Cutter accidentally hit the door lock with his foot and locked himself into their Barrier Audi alone.   And of course the keys were inside in the diaper bag.  Being at the Barrier home had the decided advantage of Jimmy and Kjell getting on the phone with the dealership to figure out how to get the door unlocked.  They all decided that the most time efficient way to get the door unlocked was to convince two and one-half year Cutter to unlock it.  Between Jimmy, Kjell and Kevin, they were able to explain to Cutter what to do and it actually worked!

LtoR: Patty Barrier, Kjell Schei, Ken & Cathi Hatch,
Nancy, Pat & Christy Wallace, Jimmy Barrier,
Alicia & Michael Hatch

After the car drama, we participated in a white elephant gift exchange where the Sumo Wrestler made his yearly appearance and  Patty happily opened the “snuggie” outfit.  She was happy to pass it on and ultimately Kevin Laramore ended up with it, which I took to him the following evening.

Bode Laramore, Jackson & Spencer Hatch at the Children’s table
Bode Laramore held by JJ McKay

Kjell Schei and Ken Hatch

Thank you Patty and Jimmy for another truly magical Christmas Eve!


Hatch Family Christmas Celebration

Three Generations: Ken, Michael & Andrew Hatch

We celebrated Hatch Family Christmas on Friday evening at our home.  This year, there were four out of our six children and their respective families there to celebrate with us.  The group included Ken’s three sons Sean Hatch and his partner Troy Clark, Ryan & Teresa Hatch and their daughters Kylee and Nicky plus their cute little Maltese dogs, Bella and Bailey, Michael & Alicia Hatch and their three sons, Jackson, Spencer and Andrew and Sean and Ryan’s mom, Renee Newitt, was also there to celebrate with us.  My daughter and son-in-law, Katie & Kevin Laramore and their two sons, Cutter and Boden joined us as well and ZiZi Zinfandel Z-Dog was present and underfoot.  Ken’s daughter, Elizabeth, and my son Justin and his wife Amy plus children Stephen, Catarina, and Camilla were missing, but we were happy that we had recently seen all of them too.

Nicky & Ryan Hatch with ZiZi

This year the five attending grandsons’ ages were 4 years, two at 2-1/2 years, 5 months and 3 months so they were busy!  We tried a separate table and separate menu for the children which seemed to work better than trying to have them at the big table with us as we did at Thanksgiving.  Since their menu included homemade Beecher’s Macaroni and Cheese, we made sure there was enough for everyone else too since it is always such a favorite.  Their menu also included raw carrots with “dip”, cantaloupe, raspberries, chicken fingers with catsup and peppermint ice cream and Christmas cookies for dessert.  Though the Thanksgiving menu had been a challenge for Jackson and Spencer, with a separate menu this time, none of the children complained about the food and they actually ate it too!

LtoR: Sean Hatch, Renee Newitt (hidden), Troy Clark,
Alicia Hatch, Michael Hatch, Kylee Hatch, Cathi Hatch,
Ken Hatch, Cutter & Katie Laramore, Nicky Hatch,
Teresa Hatch, Ryan Hatch, Kevin & Bode Laramore 

The menu for the rest of the group began with  Dungeness Crab Legs with Mustard-Mayo Horseradish Sauce, Gorgonzola, Caramelized Onions & Cranberry Tartlets, and Caviar Pie.  We served Black Tie Tomato Soup, one of our holiday favorites, and a Pear, Pecan and Pomegranate Green Salad with Champagne Viniagrette followed by a buffet of Roast New York Loin with Dijon Horseradish Creme Fraiche, Blue Cheese and Rosemary Scalloped Potatoes, Baked Fennel with Tomatoes and Garlic, Oven Roasted Asparagus and of course the Beecher’s Macaroni and Cheese.  The dessert was warm gingerbread squares with hard sauce and fresh raspberries followed by a selection of Judy’s Christmas cookies and Grandma Lee’s Christmas fudge.

ZiZi begging Ryan to share Bailey

ZiZi, our resident Yorkshire Terrier, was very excited to have Maltese dogs Bella and Bailey come to the party, but could not understand why they didn’t want to get down and play with her.  They spent all their time nicely cuddling with anyone who would  hold them, while ZiZi barked to have them come down and play.  We also passed 5 month old Andrew and 3 month old Bode around for everyone to hold and ZiZi was very interested in them as well.

All of our children went together and bought a recliner chair for Ken for Christmas and it was quite a production getting it into the house.  Kevin and Katie organized the gift and wrapped the giant box that it came in.  Nicky, the tallest granddaughter, was boosted onto the shoulders of Ryan and Sean to open the dead bolt at the top of our 10 foot tall front doors so we could get the box inside the house.  Once inside, they carried the chair upstairs for Ken to sit in on the spot.  Ken was thrilled with his gift and both he and ZiZi look forward to long hours they will spend together there!

Nicky Hatch, Kevin Laramore, Sean Hatch
Teresa Hatch with Bailey, Kylee Hatch with Bode Laramore

The “adult” table
Katie & Cutter Laramore with new Leap Pad
Jackson & Spencer Hatch at the Children’s Table

Ken enjoying his new chair

The Coburn Family Christmas Celebration

Pat Flug, Betty Tong, Eliza Flug, Cathi Hatch

Last night I attended the incredible Coburn Family Christmas Celebration with family members Alicia & Michael Hatch with sons Jackson, Spencer and Andrew and Katie & Kevin Laramore with sons Cutter and Boden.  Our hosts, Eliza Flug and Chris Coburn had arranged to have the Seattle Tennis Club decorated as a Christmas fantasy land.  Just inside the dining room was a complete gingerbread village which had been built by caterer extraordinaire, Lisa Dupar.

Jackson, Andrew, Spencer Hatch with Father Christmas

Upon arrival we immediately went to the room with the egg nog and hot chocolate bars and to see the most detailed and elegant Father Christmas I have ever seen.  Jackson and Spencer were willing to participate in the photo op, while Cutter gave Father Christmas a very wide berth.

Jackson and Jackson with Elves

The children were very entertained by the many elves that were dressed head to toe in green and red with jingle bells and had fun chasing the elves throughout the club.  The elves did a wonderful storytelling rendition of “The Night Before Christmas”.In addition there were Dickens’ carolers and a fantastic Christmas children’s craft table under glistening silver snowflakes hanging from the ceiling.

Lucien Postlewaite and Olivier Wevers

We sat in the dining room at tables named after Santa’s reindeer.  Our table was the Dasher table where I shared dinner with Theresa Dowell & Greg Jones and their daughter Jeannine, Betty Tong & Joe Miner and their daughters Audrey and Caroline, Olivier Wevers and Lucien Postlewaite and Katie, Kevin, Cutter and Boden Laramore

The Dasher Table

The Gingerbread Village

In addition to a beautiful dinner buffet, there was a dessert table that was fascinating for the children with a chocolate fountain fruit, cake and marshmallows to dip.  Because Olivier was coveting the chocolate, Lucien brought him a wine glass filled with liquid chocolate.  It was more chocolate than he had bargained for however.

I had the opportunity to wish many friends a very merry Christmas including Pat Flug, Eliza’s mother, Julie & Tom Skerrit, Leigh & JP Canlis, Liffy’s friend from high school, Noa Giamelli and many others.  It was truly a spectacular party!

Celebrating Susan Von Hagen’s Visit

Seated:  CK Coles, Susan Von Hagen, Sandy LundStanding:  Susan Neumann, Diane Kuenster, Cathi Hatch,Sherryl Wilson, Pam Kaiser, Jan Kline What a lovely luncheon friend Diane Kuenster hosted today for our dear friend, Susan Von Hagen, who is in town for Christmas.  Susan has lived away from Seattle for around twenty years now, so we treasure any time… Continue Reading

Santa’s Supper

“Grumpa” Ken Hatch with Cutter and the Carolers Once again this year, the Rainier Club did a spectacular job of producing their inimitable Santa’s Supper on Sunday evening.  Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer greeted us in the parking lot and we entered the Club to the sweet sounds of carolers singing.  Cutter, who was happy to… Continue Reading

A Holiday Feast for Friends

Our hosts, Tim & Sandi Premselaar Tonight Ken and I attended the amazing bi-annual Holiday Celebration dinner hosted by Sandi & Tim Premselaar.  There were 34 people attending and what an astonishing and complex production for friends!When we arrived, there was a whimsical Christmas tree in the grand foyer that included a holiday decorated toy train that… Continue Reading

Trademarks, Copyrights & Patents: Oh My!

Eric Lent, Mike Reynvaan, Ben Straughn Yesterday, our ZINO Business Insights education event for ZINO Society members and guests was sponsored by the Intellectual Property and Winery & Vineyard Practices at the law offices of our annual sponsor, Perkins Coie.  Leading the seminar were Perkins Coie attorneys Susan Betcher, Of Counsel, and Julianne Henley, Associate, who talked about… Continue Reading