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We hosted several gatherings over the holiday season, and discovered after scheduling them that our dishwasher was no longer functioning – that it wasnt able to be repaired and the replacement we carefully chose would take two weeks to be delivered as it wasn’t kept in stock at the local store.

the old dishwasher being removed

the old dishwasher being removed

Reminiscent of childhood days with no dishwasher (although in honesty the job rarely fell to me) I hand washed and dried every plate, piece of cutlery, pot, glass and frying pan – and I have never appreciated this humble and unassuming kitchen appliance more.

In order to maintain our sanity, good humor and sense of joy in the season, we ensured our parties were modest and uncomplicated and attempted to keep the preparations to a minimum.


artichoke cheesecake

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons Italian seasoning

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

3 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

6 green onions, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1 tablespoon fresh basil

Grease a 9-inch springform pan with the butter. Mix together the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning. Coat bottom of pan with mixture.

Heat oven to 375F. In a stand mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add feta cheese, eggs and sour cream. Beat until smooth. Add chopped artichokes. Beat in red and green bell peppers, green onions, garlic, tarragon and basil. Spoon mixture into prepared pan.

Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool to room temperature. Chill for at least 2 hours. Remove from pan, serve with crostini.


Recipe adapted from Ambrosia, The Junior Auxillary of Vicksburg Mississippi