Needless to say, we are all pretty excited about our four day holiday coming up this weekend. Last night as I was shouting "One more day 'til Christmas!", there were some confused looks, but for all of us here at Brooks Tavern, Christmas begins tomorrow with our first day of Holiday Vacation.
But of course that doesn't change the fact that there is plenty to keep our minds on our jobs until then.
First of all, I promise to get the New Year's Eve menu up on the website today. Yesterday I began my job of making one of the desserts we are going to serve, the black and white cake from Fran Bigelow's wonderful cookbook, "Pure Chocolate". I quadrupled the recipe, to make four cakes, which I froze until further notice. Four times the recipe means twenty eggs, separated. That calls for the big stand mixer when it comes to beating the whites, one of the reasons cooking in a professional kitchen is a lot easier than attempting to do the same thing at home.
Do I look like I'm having fun yet?
For one of the NYE entrees, Kevin is getting several prime ribs of beef from a Maryland Beef producer. Roseda Beef is based out of Monkton, where they raise Angus Beef the old fashioned way. Their special product is found on the menu of several Maryland restaurants, including Chestertown's own Tom Creegan's Hamilton Tavern. Kevin ordered a strip loin this week to familiarize himself with the beef.
It looks pretty good. It didn't need a whole lot of trimming, which means, while it costs us more per pound than other NY strips we've used, you get more for the money. We'll be serving these strip steaks this weekend and see how they compare flavor wise with Pineland and Meyer. I can't believe it will taste as good as St. Brigid's, but hopefully it will be competitive.
I'm just throwing this picture out here for abstractness. This is a sheet pan of roasted duck bones, destined for stock. I wish I could send you the smell that arose from that pan when it came out of the oven!
I hope all of you are looking forward to your Holiday Weekend as much as we are. We actually began last night, seeing as it was Friday and all, with only one day left before the festivities begin in earnest. We shared a bottle of the Roederer and Kevin opened a small gift:
The perfect Christmas cocktail napkin!
Of course food is the major event at our house during Christmas. It is one of the things that makes this holiday so special, these classic meals and dishes we share only once a year. You might say, for us, it is the Christmas Tree. This year is no exception. Christmas Eve will find us continuing with our relatively recent tradition of Cheese Fondue next door with the neighbors, whose house is always whimsically decorated for the pleasure of all. There will certainly be champagne that night, as well as a big bowl of chocolates to dip into. Mostly though there will be a lot of laughter and joy, spending time at home together.
For our Christmas Day dining pleasures, we will begin as usual with Eggs Benedict, featuring no-one-makes-it-better-than-Kevin Hollandaise Sauce and Dorsey's golden yellow eggs. We have roast duck planned for the main meal of the day, although unlike most years, we have no idea what we are going to serve with it. Aside from champagne, that is. I, for one, know that there will be some Fran's chocolates around the house for dessert and of course we've got a special cheese lined up for after dinner as well. (Hopefully we'll manage to get in a walk or two, otherwise we'll be spending the next month trying to rid ourselves of this merry excess!)
We consider this winter holiday as a time for us to enjoy life and celebrate all that it gives. It is in that spirit that we hope that your celebration, where ever it may be and what ever it may involve, is also a time for some relaxation and reflection. And don't forget to make room to watch this. If that doesn't say Merry Christmas, nothing does.