An Epiphany from Tres Trop

Posted by Martha Ellis Kelley on

As you can tell from the website, I enjoy entertaining. You mix good people, good food, wine, throw in some presentation, stir gently and a magic moment occurs.    This can happen anywhere - in the kitchen or dining room; on a porch; the front yard; or a pasture.   

A dear friend and I have traded Christmas and Thanksgiving Dinners for a long time.  This year, it was my turn for Christmas.  Allow me to share the evening with you.

The day was fairly mild, so the Log Cabin was available.  There is no central heating in the Cabin but at 50 deg, it can be heated with the fireplace and a space heater.  I started the fire at about 3pm expecting guests around 6pm - anywhere from 8 to 11.  We ended up with a party of 9.

The guests moved back and forth from the fireplace in the Cabin to the Kitchen (to ensure I was on track with dinner)  to the Dining Room in the main house (location of the "assorted crudite'").


assorted crudite' - cheese, hard salami and a spread of finely chopped shrimp and celery with a dressing of mayo and lemon juice.   

entree - Beef rib eye seasoned with pepper, sea salt and ground rosemary and served with a gravy of rosemary, porcini mushrooms and broth, white mushrooms, garlic and red wine (Bon Appetit); twice baked potatoes seasoned with chives, butter, buttermilk and S&P and garnished with sharp cheddar and papricka; onions baked with sherry and roasted golden beets seasoned with orange zest.  A guest brought the onions and beets - Thank you, Carolyn!

salad - pears poached in port with star anise on a bed of baby arugula, finished with fine strips of duck bacon and dressed with the reduced poaching liquid enlivened by a dash of red wine vinegar.

dessert - pecan pie with whipped cream - Thank you, Terry!

The wine was a delicious Virginia Cabernet Franc - Thank you, Chip!

One of the specialties of Tres Trop is vintage double damask linen.  The napkins you see are one of the reasons I promote it.  They are banquet napkins - French, late 19th century measuring 28" x 34" - a Christmas present from my sister some 15 years ago.  We are looking at a napkin in use for over 100 years and yet willing to step out and grace the Christmas dinner.  Now, the one at my place is starting to shred, but I'll darn the spot and it will soldier on for another few years -still beautiful; still useful; still soft and shimmering. 

The fold?  I had seen photos of French napkins folded like this.  Well, strictly practical - it's the only way to get a banquet napkin down to a size that will fit on a mat!

Tomorrow is Epiphany.  The Christmas of 2016 has ended.  My best wishes for your Health, Happiness and Prosperity in 2017

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