I have friends coming for dinner later and am feeling defeated by the amount of potatoes I will need to peel. I rather dread the preparation of the sprouts. There are no plans to iron a tablecloth. There is no silver to polish. I am wondering if I can get away without an appetizer. I tell you this not because I am begrudging effort on behalf of my guests, but because I am fundamentally lazy, and do not rise well to occasions.
Tom and Mike on the other hand excel at occasions. They start by polishing the silver, of which they have a lot.
They provide their largest punchbowl (they have several) and serve Fish House punch (brandy, peach brandy, rum, lemon, lime and sugar syrup–there may be a little orange juice but nobody mentioned it) and serve 4 different spreads or nibbles–my favorite were Tom’s spiced pecans–to keep everyone happy until dinner is served.
John from two doors down is happy to raid his cellar for fine wines to pair with every course.
We sat down to Crab and Lobster terrine, a recipe that Tom got from Todd Gray, the chef at Equinox. It begins: prepare a salmon mousseline.I think we can agree that Tom and Todd are two of the very few cooks that could pull it off.
The white Burgundy John paired with this was my favorite wine of the evening, tasting magically of both cantaloupe and bonfire.
Next was the crown roast of pork, which deserves a gallery all of its own.
This was served with oyster stuffing and sausage and chestnut stuffing to which the camera was not kind. We also had sprouts and a delicious mix of pears and onions much-loved from Thanksgivings past.
Kate once more made her fungal confection, again trying modestly to pass off her yule log and perfect meringue mushrooms as found objects from the alley. Doug made a pumpkin and pecan pie. Mike supplemented these with egg nog ice cream and we washed the whole lot down with Calvados.
It was shortly after this point that I decided to take a picture of the two chefs together, to post in tribute to all their hard work. Sadly the fine wines and apple brandy had done their work, and so I only captured half of Mike’s head.
My contribution to the evening was a Stilton which, like the rest of us, was a little sweaty by the time it came to table. I like my cheese ripe and at room temperature but this Stilton had definitely suffered from partying too long. Delicious all the same.We ate it with crackers and washed it down with a glass or two of port.
To the drawing room–well, the comfy chairs–and presents plus cafe brulot, a preparation that involves yards of orange peel, gran marnier and the serious risk of third degree burns.
The kids picked me up and drove me home. Everyone else walked. I will admit to feeling slightly liverish this morning. I wonder if I could pay Hansel to peel the potatoes?
You can get the full details of the menu, plus the wines, by checking out Tom’s blog here.