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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bûche de Noël

We had a lovely Christmas Eve. My family traditionally does the big meal on Christmas Eve, not Christmas Day. I planned a simple menu, and farmed out most of the side dishes, so I could concentrate on dessert. And what a dessert it was!

But first . . .

Here are the boys, decorating makeshift paper-bag Christmas stockings so Santa would have some place to put the small amount of candy he was able to purchase at Fred Meyer on our wild snowy four-wheel-drive ride on Monday. I have the materials to make wonderful stockings for the whole family, but haven't yet gotten around to putting them together. You know how it goes.

Here is the grownup table, decorated with pine cones, velvet cord and bows, and red glass votives and bud vases, the vases filled with snippets of fir.

And here is the kid table, complete with kids (oldest nephew Rico was sitting with the grownups, along with his sister). Don't you just love how proto-teenager Newton refuses to smile for pictures? Grr. Hope Santa puts a little piece of coal in his stocking for the sour puss he's got in every picture lately.

Finally, here is the bûche! I didn't take any pictures of the process, because frankly there were about ten times when I was convinced that it wasn't going to work. But it did, more or less. I followed Julia Child's instructions in The Way to Cook, baking a French sponge cake in a jelly roll pan, and filling and frosting the cake with a chocolate mousse based on an Italian meringue. I also used the meringue to make the mushrooms. (I did skip the caramel veil.) Next year I'll make a different cake (there wasn't enough of this one to balance out the mousse), but the mousse was pretty divine. And having it based on meringue (though it didn't taste at all meringue-y) meant not having to make a separate meringue for the mushrooms, which I think are essential. If anyone's interested in the meringue/mousse instructions, let me know and I'll edit this post to add them.

Hope your holiday food is delectable, too! Later this week I'll try to make (and post about) the most fantastic latkes. This year my experiment will be adding a little red sweet potato and seeing what happens. Mmmmmm. I'll also make my Split Pea Soup from the hambone left from today's dinner (which also included Mormon classic funeral potatoes and roasted green beans with shallot and lemon zest and pecan-pumpkin seed rolls, none of which were of my making).

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Blogger Jen said...


December 25, 2008 at 12:39 PM  
Blogger EmilyCC said...

Ah, a new recipe blog! Can't wait to try the split pea soup!

January 7, 2009 at 5:46 PM  
Blogger EmilyCC said...

oops, well, a new recipe blog to me :)

January 7, 2009 at 5:47 PM  
Blogger janeannechovy said...

Hi Emily! Hope you checked that followup-comment box. I remember you from back in the day on elwc: "Hi, I'm Emily, and I don't have a colon." Most memorable. :) Hope you like my blog.

January 7, 2009 at 6:31 PM  

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