Sunday, December 21

Christmas Menu

Every year when I plan my holiday table and menu I turn to the photos of renowned Atlanta interior designer Dan Carithers' Christmas table. After all these years it still inspires me and it is the reason I started collecting red stemware.

Growing up in my home we only had turkey on Thanksgiving and therefore I do not associate the icon bird with Christmas. Unlike my husband’s upbringing, Christmas Eve was the big night in our house. While his mother roasted a turkey for Christmas day, my mother would make chicken in wine sauce served over wild rice on the 24th of December. I can smell and taste it now, even as I write.

Over the past 15 years my husband and I have melded the best of each of our families’ traditions to create our own. We now have a special Christmas Eve meal after a candlelight service and another decadent meal Christmas day.

In some areas of my life I am a purest, however, when it comes to Christmas dinner, I enjoy planning a new meal each year. This year my husband and I have been dreaming up classic recipes that conjure up a bygone era—Brandy Alexander and Sidecar cocktails, Iceberg Wedges with Roquefort Dressing, Potted Crab Royale and Brandy Bread & Butter Pudding.

For my Brandy Bread & Butter Pudding I am using Victoria Amory’s recipe and for Potted Crab Royale I am referencing my copy of René Verdon The White House Chef Cookbook.

Chef René Verdon was appointmented by Mrs. Kennedy in the spring of 1961. He soon established a reputation for his superb dinners, luncheons, and buffets. He infused the White House with French elegance, much to the dismay of many. Verdon, the first official White House chef, resigned in 1965 when President Johnson demanded that he cook Texas-ranch style.

René Verdon’s Potted Crab Royale

1 pound cooked crabmeat, finely shredded
4 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
dash cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons bread crumbs

Mix crabmeat with butter, cream, mustard, salt, pepper, cayenne, Worcestershire sauce and 4 tablespoons of Parmesan; toss lightly.

Divide among 6 lightly buttered ramekins. Sprinkle each with the remaining Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Bake in a 400° F oven for 10 minutes or until golden.

I believe these photos came from Food & Wine, but can not locate the source. Please let me know if you have more details.


Karena said...

Ronda, I love the holiday dining room image, with your red stemware. I can't wait to try the Potted Crab Royale. Sound delish!

Melinda Browning said...

Sounds divine, Ronda!! Your menu and your table will be a feast for all senses, I know.

We have had lots of snow in Santa Fe the last few weeks, but it's melting off a little now. I'm hoping we'll get another snowfall so we can have a white Christmas.

We'll be attending church, doing the annual stroll of Canyon Road and hosting an open house on Christmas Eve. I love my location most of all at this time of year when I just walk out my front door and it's just a few steps to Canyon. It will be lots of fun!!

Have a very Merry Christmas and many congratulations on another successful year with "All the Best".

XOXO Melinda

Leciawp said...

This looks divine, Ronda! I'm going to make it (provided I can get to the market - we've been snowed in for days). I'm making a gingerbread trifle for dessert. What's your cocktail recipe?

Suzy said...

Sounds lovely! I plan on making bread & butter pudding this year too. I can't wait!

Visual Vamp said...

I love your menu!
And the description of your past Christmas meals made my tummy growl.
Hope you take photos of your Chirstmas repast and share them later.
Merry Christmas!
xo xo