Family and cousins came from all over. The last puzzle pieces arrived from the West Coast to be joined into a picture of the lighthouse at Brant Point, the spot where you throw two pennies from the ferry to guarantee a return to the island. Tables, linens and dishware were rented, a tent was put up, flowers were arranged, appetizers prepared, sirloin grilled, lobsters delivered, and champagne glasses raised when everyone gathered on a perfect summer evening to celebrate. The bugs went elsewhere, and the coolness of evening waited for the event to wind down before arriving. Two-year old Tatum and eighty-eight year old ggpa, along with everyone in between, toasted the foresight that provided the 'big' and 'little' houses twenty-five years ago, as a place for us all to gather. Reminiscing about beach trips, birthdays at the Sweet Shoppe and nightly games of flashlight tag, older cousins drank together while younger cousins played together and started their own traditions of outdoor showers and lunches on the lawn. And at the end of the evening we shared the anniversary cake and celebrated 64-years of the marriage that had started it all, affirming for everyone, the strength and love in our family connections.
Weekend and party pictures show what it all looked like.
During the winter, if anyone wants to recreate a bit of that party and family spirit, just buy a bottle of champagne and age-appropriate sparkling lemonade to raise a toast while eating the tartlets that seemed to be such a big hit. Here's the recipe, and don't be shocked by the unexpected ingredient. You know they're really a gourmet treat.
Mushroom and Onion Marmalade Tartlets
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1-1/2 c. finely chopped mushrooms
1 tbsp. sugar
leaves from 2-3 sprigs of thyme
12 slices Wonder bread or equal (the secret ingredient)
unsalted butter, softened for spreading
2-1/2 c. grated Gruyere or Cheddar cheese
kosher salt or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
a 2-inch glass or plain cookie cutter
two nonstick 12-cup bun pans or shallow muffin pans
Heat the olive oil in a skillet, add the onions, and saute until softened and lightly golden. (The longer you cook them and the browner they get, the sweeter they'll be.) Sprinkle the sugar on top and season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook over a high heat until the mushrooms have softened, about 5-minutes.
Using the top of the glass or cookie cutter, stamp out circles from the bread. (The glass flattens the bread at the edges, which will make the tartlets crisper.) Lightly spread butter on one side of each circle, then use to line the pan, butter side down, and press firmly into place.
Put teaspoonsfuls of the mushroom mixture in the bread cups and top with the grated cheese. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for about 10-15 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve hot.
Alternatively, let cool, then warm through before serving.