Friday, December 16, 2011

Reprise...Christmas Eve Table And Menu

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The first Christmas in the new house is just around the corner and the good news is I am mostly unpacked.  The bad news is I don't have the stamina to even think of a creative new menu for this year's dinner.  Why bother when there are so many good ones from past years including this one from 1999.   One of the first rules of no hassle entertaining is to serve what you are familiar with and this menu has passed the test with flying colors.

Last year I made a standing rib roast with Yorkshire Pudding, a first for me;  but then again, I did not have the added stress of setting up a holiday table and overnight guests for the weekend including Madame Mere, as one of my friends likes to call her.  Next week will be spent digging out and polishing the silver,  making the pate, and organizing the dreaded beds for everyone to sleep! 

 In years past, I used to go all out for Christmas Eve and entertain my family and very close friends on a grand scale.  It was a formal affair and everybody would dress up to the hilt! Luckily,  I have a Sheraton dining table  with two leaves which will seat twelve comfortably and a smaller table for six was set up in the library. We would start with cocktails on the terrace, laid out buffet style, and move later into the dining room for dinner.  I have to say that even though it took a lot of planning and work, I enjoyed it tremendously.  I think the rest of the family did too.  It was a night meant to set all our problems aside and enjoy each other's company.  We always had the best intentions of making it to Midnight Mass but somehow nobody had the stamina to do so after all that food!

It has been awhile since I have entertained like this and frankly, looking at the pictures makes me a little sad and nostalgic.  But times change and so do lifestyles and I am blessed to have been able to do it and have the pictures and memories.

This year it will be celebrated on a much smaller scale, in another town and definitely without any outside help. We are getting together on the 25th instead of Christmas Eve as these are the plans that fit everybody this year.  It will be wonderful anyway and I will get to spend it with my brother and his family, something I haven't done in years.  I also have a new granddaughter which surpasses any Christmas I have ever had.

Christmas 1999

Smoked Salmon
Pumpernickel Toasts
Capers, Onions, Sour Cream, Lemon Slices

Pate de Foie Gras

Spiced Roasted Pecans

Champagne Veuve Cliquot, Cocktails


Cream of Chestnut Soup
with Creme Fraiche

Roast Leg of Lamb with Rosemary
Mint Jelly

Gratin Dauphinois

Haricots Verts With Toasted Almonds

Chocolate Mousse

Brazo Gitano


  1. Oh how happy I am to find your blog. And thanks for putting me in your sidebar.

    You make such a nice effort in what you publish--your recipes are clear and well presented.

    And look at this table! So festive, although I would correct you on the dessert fork and spoon--switch them around--for on top.

  2. Joseph,

    I am so happy you stopped by. The minute I read your post on this I thought of this picture which was posted last year about Christmas a few years back. You are so right and I was so wrong then...but I promise I have corrected since.

    We need someone like you in the group so your input is more than welcomed. Merry Christmas.

  3. First of all congratulations on the arrival of your new granddaughter. What a joyful occasion to have a birth during this wonderful season.

    While we have not moved, we're making major changes in our house in anticipation of when my husband (your sous chef is more helpful than my husband!) retires. The big dining room is becoming a library with dining options. The last Christmas I cooked, I hosted 14 people and served five courses. It took me three days of doing dishes and I decided then and there: I'm done with this. Time for new traditions. This Christmas we'll be in the basement kitchen. It's an event I hope does not become a tradition! All of the best and fingers crossed your mother is a delightful guest!

  4. And Merry Christmas to you.

  5. Home,

    You're still in the basement??? Well, I'm glad to say dining room is painted, pictures hung and everything ready for the not so big event. Christmas Eve this year will be only six, Xmas Day 14!Looking forward to January 7th when my daughter and I have made a promise to spend the weekened in our pj's watching movies and not going anywhere! Merry Christmas!

    I love dining in a chic!

  6. What a glamorous table you set! Last year we followed your lead and also served a rib roast and yorkshire pudding (from your recipe), that was delicious beyond belief. I've been dreaming of it ever since. It was so good that I'm planning on reprising it again this year, just for the two of us (well, three if you count Pompey). I certainly identify with your good intentions to attend midnight mass and then to wind up in bed, snoring away, instead. That's what happened to us last year, and is more than likely to happen again this Christmas, too.

  7. But, but, Reggie, it's retail approve??!!

  8. Hope you have a wonderful time with the familie.
    Since i moved in the woods, whe have Christmas for 2 and don`t forget...Grumpy is also here
    Wish you Merry Christmas and lot`s of love and warmth from everyone
    Jeanne (from the Netherlands)

  9. Dearest Jeanne,

    You are always so kind and thoughtful. Merry Xmas to you both and Grumpy!

  10. "Retail" red in your hands is transformed into Regal Ruby, and therefore more than passes Reggie's muster. Best wishes, m'dear!


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