A Holiday Meal Extraordinaire

Our friend Susan hosted this event on the first night of winter. It kicked off our fabulous holiday season and it was also the first night of Hanukkah. Last week I wrote about how we spent the day preparing the food together and shared the recipe for the decadent tartiflette.
Susan’s Christmas decorations and Santa collection are amazing. And her dining table is jaw-dropping gorgeous! It was a pleasure to spend such a lovely evening amidst beautiful surroundings with my family and charming delightful friends, both old and new.
Susan presented Don and Kristy with an elegant Menorah. Here, they recite the blessing in Hebrew. The shamash candle (servant light) is lit, then it is used to light the other candle on this first night of Hanukkah.
The significance of Hanukkah and the Menorah:
The Jews had lost their religious freedom. In a rebellion led by the Maccabees, the Jews regained their freedoms and cleansed and rededicated the Temple around 165 BCE. The Jewish festival of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, celebrates the Maccabees’ victory and the Temple’s rededication. The Hanukkah Menorah, with its eight candles plus the shamash, is lit to commemorate the one-days-worth of pure oil that miraculously lasted for eight days keeping the Temple lights burning until new oil could be obtained.
Let’s Eat!

Mussels with Pernod and Crème Fraîche

I sautéed sliced leeks and celery in butter, added white wine, thyme and bay then reduced. Later this mixture was transferred to a large pot with more wine, brought to a boil, then 5 lbs. PEI mussels were added. When the mussels open they were removed to the serving bowls and the sauce finished with a 1/2 c. Pernod, 8 oz. of crème fraîche and lots of chopped parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Ladle the hot broth over the mussels. Serve with toasted French baguette.
The distinctive flavor of Pernod is created through a combination of star anise, fennel, parsley, chamomile, coriander and several aromatic herbs and plants. Pernod adds another dimension to this mussel broth. I look forward to cooking with it more often, specifically in vegetable and fish dishes. For interesting information on cooking with Pernod please visit here.
Chèvre Chaud, Green Salad, Dijon Vinaigrette
Filet Mignon Chausseur
Tarragon Horseradish Crème

Vol-au-Vent filled with Vanilla Yogurt 
Quince, Pear, and Orange in a Cinnamon Syrup
I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Susan for her friendship, generous hospitality, delicious meals, the laughs and the good times. We look forward to spending more time together in 2009.
I hope you all had wonderful holidays. Wishing you an abundance of love, friendship, peace, health, prosperity and happiness at the New Year and always.

17 thoughts on “A Holiday Meal Extraordinaire”

  1. Wow, that looks like a fabulous meal, and a wonderful evening! Your friend did a terrific job with the food and decorations!

  2. Thanks for sharing! We had mussels also, yet I always use heavy cream. Much appreciate the idea to NOW use creme fraiche. Although not as elegant a place setting, we did enjoy the meal with our 10 & 7 year old children who know good food and are not your typical "mac n cheeze" type kids! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  3. Hey! Where’s the matzo ball soup? I love your soup! 😉
    Wonderful post. I love to see everyone around the table..and your tables are the prettiest 🙂

  4. LL, from the table setting, decor, menu choices, all are par excellence and your coupling of the two faiths is to be commended.

    This world needs more tolerance…and your food!

  5. My jaw dropped to the floor the minute I saw the decorations…difficult to lift it back up with this array of scrumptious food :).
    I’m sure you guys had a wonderful time and here’s to an equally delicious new year!

  6. Wow – that’s a pretty blinged out table. Looks like you had a great trip visiting Susan.

    Happy belated New Year!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *