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Holiday Feasting

December 26, 2012

Oysters Rockefeller

Christmas Eve dinner at Chez Salazar was – if I may say so – a satisfying success.  The Oysters Rockefeller were from a recipe by Tyler Florence.  A little too much Pernod, but still they were great.

Beef Consomme

Consommé came out well: clear, beefy and with that smooth feel that comes from the bones in the stock.  Jacques Pepin’s recipe was our guide here, though this is a dish where the technique – not that difficult, really – is the important part: Do not over-boil, but just let the soup simmer so it gently bubbles up through the “raft”.  Finishing with a splash of madeira worked out nicely.

Sole meunière

Next came the Sole meunière, made with grey sole filet (actual whole Dover soles being hard to come by nowadays).  This is totally simple – season the fish, dredge in flour, fry in butter and a little olive oil; when brown move to the serving plates, then in the same frying pan make a beurre blanc with lemon juice and capers; finally, pour the hot sauce over the warm fish so it sizzles.  Total time, from filets to plate: about 7 minutes.  This was good fish.

Beef Prime Rib

Finally, the entrée: Prime Rib of Beef with Sauce Béarnaise, Red Rice from the Camargue, and ginger-cashew green beans.  It has been some years since I last made an egg-based sauce, and I have had my share of scrambled-egg sauce disasters.  But I prepped by intensive Julia-watching, and the sauce was a success.  Make sure you use enough vinegar!

The red-rice is a traditional Christmas dish in France, usually made with peas, scallion, leeks or other green vegetable to create a red-green holiday motif.  If you’ve never tried this rice, well, try some; the flavor is nutty, a bit sweeter than brown rice, and has a nice “crunch” that makes it good for both warm dishes and cold rice salads.  We made ours with braised leeks and red-pepper.

Kim's Pumpkin Pie

The ending was Kim’s pumpkin mousse pie.  This is a much lighter pumpkin pie, with beaten eggs and cream, and pumpkin folded in.  Since I missed Thanksgiving this year, I prevailed upon Kim to make this for Christmas Eve.  The butter-crust came out perfectly.  I have to say, much as I like apple pies, this pumpkin pie is my favorite of pies.

Maybe this seems like a lot, but half the fun here is in the cooking.  We begin noontime or so, starting the early parts of each dish, having some snacks, some wine, a little more cooking, a little more snacks … you get the picture.

When all is done and we are ready to start, one thing remains, three tones from my rin gong:

Singing bowl

The tones are clear, and as they fade they take away the rushing of the day, the week, the year.  This is not a time of year to rush – I want to savor the lessons of the season and truly taste the things before me.

 

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday, a Peaceful Solstice.  I and the family will be ringing in the New Year from Pune – talk to you all in 2013.

Categories: Food
  1. December 26, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Sounds like you wove a wonderful tapestry for the pallet.

  2. December 26, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Reads like a wonderful tapestry was woven for the pallet

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