Sunday, December 27, 2009


(Pierre Deux - it's a Julia/French Christmas)


Is everyone still stuffed from the holidays? I know I am and we still have one last Christmas party to go to. It seems as if we’ve done nothing but eat since Thanksgiving! Not that I’m complaining, but wow, a week of lettuce leaves sounds tempting. Well, not that tempting!

This year’s foodie last hurrah began at our “The Food & Wine’s The Thing, Never Mind The Book” Book Group holiday dinner we hosted (and I blogged about) last week. We decked the halls, maybe not w/ boughs of holly, but w/ garlands, candles, twinkle lights and mementoes tucked here and there on our two fireplace mantels.

Each room had a Christmas tree, a traditional wreath hung on our front door, and the outside of our house was covered w/ little white lights welcoming everyone. We sipped wine, talked and talked and ate and ate… and ate and ate.

Fast forward to 6 days later and the door to our “Christmas” house was opened again for our annual Christmas Eve dinner party for friends and foes and people we met on the village streets – well, not really, but we had a lot of people.

As our guests arrived and Christmas carols caroled from our IPod, we poured them a glass of champagne ‘cosmo,’ a holiday cocktail made w/ champagne, Triple Sec and cranberry juice.

Then… let the eating begin! To continue the Julia theme started over Thanksgiving, I made my “Pate Therese” a “family” recipe given to me by my cousin’s French mother-in-law (who was also a cook of some renown) that I shared w/ y’all in November. Also on display (but not for long) were two French ‘liquid’ cheeses w/ a robust ‘kick,’ deviled eggs w/ truffle oil, the roasted garlic/sun dried tomato/parmesan spread we served at the “Book Group” dinner (this time I remembered to take the picture)

 and salmon poached in champagne w/ a Dijon, dill mustard sauce – another repeat performance from the “Book Group” dinner.

The bar was stocked w/ the champagne cocktail, white or red wine, scotch or vodka or clear, bubbly Pellegrino (I know, I know – Mon Dieu! We should have gotten Perrier, but Pellegrino was on sale).

As everyone mingled, cheese’d, pate’d, salmon’d and egg’d, Richard brought out the evenings main events:

A pear and greens salad w/ burrata, toasted walnuts and pomegranate seeds in a honey mustard dressing;
string beans and sauteed red bell peppers;

A creamy (but no cream) toasted walnut pasta;

Crusty breads; and
A Julia-ish Christmas cassoulet (made without pork – Mon Dieu Pt. 2!) served, as instructed, directly from the oven in Le Creuset.

Divine desserts included:
rum cake

Richard’s olive oil cake

We didn't have a 10" round cake plate

a spiced cranberry cake

pumpkin flan

fudge brownies
the gingerbread wo/men cookies I’ve already blogged about
assort other cookies
pumpkin pie
and, a Christmas tiramisu

We sipped, we talked, we laughed and wished each other wonderful things for the new year… and we ate and ate and ate. Okay, we binged.

Richard’s three days of cooking were rewarded with praise from all and, for the first time in the more than 20 years we’ve been doing this party, all the food was gone. Nothing to freeze! The platters and bowls and plates were empty. It was all that good! So… recipes? Of course. I’ll be posting them separately for you all this week.

By the time our guests were ready to go home to wait for Santa, everyone seemed sated and happy. Thank you Julia (and Julie) for inspiring me to keep my blog going. And thank you Richard for inspiring me, loving me and feeding me (and our friends) so well over the year, and indulging me by making such glorious dinners to write about when I’m not reviewing a restaurant or musing on life.

Happy New Year everyone!


Susan said...

Wonderful. Are those the photos I took?

Richard said...

I feel like a stuffed mushroom, bulging with cheese and nuts. And cassoulet. And salad. And pasta. And cakes and cookies and flan and... and reading this makes me want to raid the fridge again! Somebody stop me!

ilona saari said...

All the photos were on Richard's camera -- I took the decoration ones and RC took the food ones...

bobsaari said...

Everything looks fantastic!!!!

Denise said...

Your sweet potato...errhh, I mean, your pumpkin flan, looks great!
I'll have to try the whipped cream touches next time.