Our Reveillon was a lot of work, a lot of fun, too much food, but just enough champagne.
We celebrated a big country Christmas in east Tennessee with friends Walt & Julee, daughter Kiki, son Bomba and his bride Allison. Of course, the country Christmases I remember lacked cases of champagne. In any event it was a rare treat to break bread and pop corks with folks we hear from often but typically see just once a year.
Here’s your dish by dish play-by-play. The pate course was served on sliced, buttered baguettes with optional side brie, accompanied by said sparkling wine. LeRuth’s oyster and artichoke soup is champagne compatible and was such a smash hit I feel compelled to post a link to the recipe.
The smoked salmon course consisted of Kat’s caviar pie, a blend of cream cheese and sour cream adorned with black caviar, scallions, cilantro, chopped boiled eggs, and alder-smoked Pacific salmon schmeared on toasted onion bagels. Emeril’s lobster mac and cheese recipe turned out pasta-heavy and lobster-light; probably the cook’s failure, and if I make it again I’ll use half the recipe’s campanelle pasta and all of every other ingredient. We ate it anyway. After all that food and sparkling we took a break while Kiki applied the finishing touches to her Bouche de Noel. This is a spectacular rolled and filled cake iced to look like a Yule Log complete with tree rings. This incredible dessert took the prize for best dish of the day. Julee managed to secretly hide a slice for husband Benny, to the considerable annoyance of the rest of us.
December 26 saw a Boxing Day celebration at the mountain-top home of Jen & Jerry. They always put out an elegant and toothsome spread of heavy hors d’oeuvres: assorted cheeses and crackers, sweet jellied toppings, (such as pepper jelly and marmalades), mini quiches, Swedish meatballs in gravy, bacon wrapped medjool dates, and assorted desserts. To catch you up on east Tennessee news, Art & Gigi lost their bees to unknown causes, possibly the same malady afflicting apiaries all over the planet. More bees are on order along with a new, low-stress hive that can be robbed with the flip of a lever: good-bye smoke, stings, and stress on the workers at harvest time! Jen and her animal rescue people found new homes for nearly a thousand pound pooches in 2015, which is quite the accomplishment. It would be so much better if she only had to save a hundred. Think “spay, neuter, or adopt”.
Happy New Year, ya’ll!