Gretel has gotten a job at a bakery, which I am interpreting as God’s way of saying “eat cake”
This week, God (if indeed it is she) has been speaking much as my Irish Great Aunts once did: “Go on, it’s Christmas.” “One little piece won’t do you any harm” “It’ll warm y0u” and “You deserve it”
Last night we had a family outing to the Snug Harbor Inn where I drank red wine and pinched fries off the children’s plates.I ordered a bowl of gumbo but traded most of it for other people’s carbs.
On Thursday we had Christmas Lunch at work and I gave in to a Red Velvet cupcake which I followed up in the evening with two hot buttered rums (completely delicious) I was a pound heavier by Friday morning.I won a large box of Belgian chocolates from the office white elephant ( Note to self: must not revert to being the office white elephant. ).
On Wednesday I was a guest at the home of food writer Joan Nathan for a party to celebrate the publication of The Happy Table of Eugene Walter The book is edited by Donald Goodman and Thomas Head and is packed full of Walter’s recipes which rely heavily on the spirits and liquors of the American South.
The punch we enjoyed was Walter’s Merry Mabel:
1 cup syrup from preserved ginger or honey
1 cup light rum
1 cup fresh orange juice
2 blocks of ice
1/4 cup candied ginger
Cognac (as much as you want)
2-3 bottles of Champagne
Place preserved ginger syrup or honey, light rum, and orange juice into blender (Tom also added the preserved ginger at this stage). Blend on low speed until the ingredients are mixed. Put one block of ice into your punch bowl. When bowl is chilled, toss out ice and water and put another big block of ice in middle of punch bowl. Pour mixture over ice . Add splash of best cognac, then pour in two or three bottles of very cold champagne. Be ready with your pitch pipe; there will be singing.
When I tell you that the repast included Chicken Liver pate from The Happy Table, you will understand that it was not a slimming evening.
Chicken Liver Pate
3 to 4 stalks celery
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
A little grated lemon peel for broth
1 pound chicken livers, cleaned and trimmed
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cups Calvados or applejack (hard not soft) or cream Sherry
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 small garlic toe
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of cloves
1/2 cup dried white raisins
Make broth of celery with leaves, coarsely chopped, a dash of salt and pepper and lemon peel. Bring to boil over a high heat. Add livers, let come again to boil, and turn down fire to medium. Cook 10 minutes, drain and discard celery. Combine chopped livers, butter, Calvados (or applejack or Sherry) and flavorings. Process in food processors or chop and bash until smooth. Add raisins and mix well. Pour into crock (about 3 cups), cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Let firm up 4-6 hours in fridge. Let stand at room temperature for about an hour before serving. Serve with Melba toast, crisp crackers or toasted fingers of English muffin. Radishes go well alongside, or watercress dressed with salt, celery seeds and lemon juice.