“It’s the month of cakes and candles, snow and songs, carols and joys, laughter and love…it’s December.” ~ Unknown
And, “there’s something special about gathering a few favorite people for a meal.” Especially, in December.
Good morning, sweet friends. Welcome to my December post of ‘At Table.’ For many of us, this December will be far different than what we are accustomed to enjoying. Seated at our tables may only be those who actually reside in our homes. And, while we will certainly miss others, “This, Too, Shall Pass.”
That said, I want to thank you so much for your visit and I hope it will be one you will enjoy and perhaps find a little inspiration as well. Please join me as I share ‘At Table~In December.’ You may want to pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea.
“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” ~ Charles M. Schult
Most of you who have been following me know I adore just about anything French. I have the greatest respect for the French people, their food is absolutely divine, and their attention to detail in their homes and on their tables is unmatched. They take great care in doing for others, taking the extra step, and creating beauty.
Today, I want to share lovely inspiration from a fellow blogger, Sharon Santoni. Sharon writes the most beautiful blog ~ “My French Country Home.” And, I do mean a “most beautiful blog.” Perhaps, many of you may be familiar with Sharon? However, if you are not, you can visit her blog here.
Along with writing her blog, Sharon is the author of two books, brought to life “The Magazine, My French Country Home” (available to be ordered on her blog), and does a podcast series. Additionally, she is the mother of four grown children. She and her husband reside in their home in the countryside of Normandy (northern France). Here she enjoys her gardens, a little quiet time, entertaining, and her sweet dogs.
While I am certain I have missed something regarding her activities, today I will be sharing a video of hers from four years ago, “Laying a Christmas Table.” Sharon lays a beautiful table in the dining room of her friend’s French chateau. I feel it is most inspirational during this beautiful season.
Before we begin, you may want to turn up your volume. Sharon has a lovely voice, but she is very soft-spoken and it can be a little hard to understand her with her charming accent. Visit here to enjoy the video.
“I loved French when I didn’t know what it was.” ~ Charles Faudree
I hope you enjoyed the video and noticed the many small details. There are two details that make my heart pound a bit harder. One is the forks turned with the tines down. The French place as much importance on ‘l’art de la table’ as they do cuisine. Also, one may be able to notice the maker’s mark on the silver and the lovely details. Often, the backs are as pretty or even more so than the front. The other detail is the table cloth falling to the floor, which adds beauty to the room and sets the mood for an evening of warmth, great fellowship, and delicious food. Nothing on Sharon’s table is extravagant, but everything is quite elegant.
See note at the end of this post regarding this photo.
“It’s the holiday season. Let the overeating begin!” ~ Melanie White
It wouldn’t be ‘At Table’ without recipes and I do believe you will enjoy these. They are favorites of mine and are tried and true. First I will share a recipe I have had for years and it has never failed me. It is delicious and turns out perfectly every time. The secret is obtaining a 5-pound roast, not over or under in weight.
Foolproof Standing Rib Roast – serves six to eight
1 – 5 pound standing rib roast
salt, pepper, and garlic powder
Allow roast to stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour
Preheat oven to 375. Rub roast with seasonings. Place roast on a rack in a roaster with the rib side down and fatty side up. Roast for 1 hour. Turn off oven. Leave roast in oven, but do not open oven door for the next 3 hours. About 30-40 minutes before serving time, turn oven to 375 and reheat roast, for about 30 minutes.
IMPERATIVE DIRECTIONS – Do not remove roast or re-open the oven door from the time roast is put in the oven until it is ready to serve.
Honey-Spiced Brussels Sprouts – serve 8 (at our home 4-6) – This is a great side for the Rib Roast.
1 Tbls. olive oil
1 healthy pat of butter
2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 Tbls honey
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Deviled Crab ~ Serves 6
1 pound lump crab meat
4 Tbls. unsalted butter
4 scallions, white and some of the green parts
1 rib of celery finely chopped
1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 large or extra-large egg
3 Tbls. sour cream
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 Tbls. Worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 tsp. lemon pepper
1 tsp. Creole Seasoning
14-16 buttery crackers – I used Ritz
2 Tbls. unsalted butter melted
8-9 buttery crackers
In a large saucepan, heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add Brussels sprouts, garlic, salt, and both peppers. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, about 10 minutes. Add honey and lemon juice, tossing to coat. Serve immediately.
Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter in a medium-size skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions, celery, and pepper. Cook and stir for about four minutes or until the veggies are tender and translucent. Remove from the heat and set aside. Crush crackers. I put them in a zip lock bag and use a wooden mallet. Carefully pick through crab meat to remove any bits of shell, set aside. In a large bowl, add the cooled veggies, mayonnaise, beaten egg, sour cream, dry mustard, Worcestershire, Old Bay seasonings, lemon pepper, and Creole Seasoning. Mix well. Add the crushed crackers and crab meat, toss gently. Spoon the mixture into a medium-size baking dish. Sprinkle the crushed crackers for topping, evenly over the crab. Bake for 20 minutes or until the topping is browned and a little crispy. Remove the oven and serve immediately.
Date Muffins ~ Makes 1 dozen
Preheat oven to 350
1 cup finely chopped dates
1 cup boiling water
1 Tbls. butter
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Combine the first 3 ingredients; let stand 1 hour. Stir in egg and vanilla. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in the center of the mixture. Add date mixture, stirring just until moistened. Spoon into greased muffin pans, filling three-fourths full. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
Note: These muffins are wonderful to serve with any meat or poultry. They are also grand for breakfast accompanied by a cup of good coffee.
Dear friends, there you have it! I hope you have enjoyed being ‘At Table ~ In December.”
Know how much I wish you and your family a magical Christmas.
And. . .
May your lives be touched with the magnificent beauty of the season and overflow with blessings.
“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. ~ Hamilton Wright Mabie
Notes: The quote, “There’s something special about gathering a few favorite people for a meal,” was written by Chantal Larocque.
The photo of the table with the red goblets is from tumblr, and as often is the case there was no source. However, I believe it to be a photo from Sharon Santoni. Perhaps it is from an older post as she began writing her blog in 2010.
Laying a Christmas Table is on YouTube and is a Delavous Production at LeChateau D’Emalleville.
Other photos, tumblr and pinterest