Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The 2010 Dinner Party at "Maison Noel"


My friend Teresa and her husband hosted their annual holiday dinner on Saturday, and once again I was like a kid in a candy store at their home!
This is the much anticipated event which we look forward to every year! I like to call it the "Maison Noel" Dinner Party!

Teresa's home is like the Dicken's House! It truly is a Christmas wonderland! Every surface is decorated with her Santas, collected over the years. I love how she grouped them together on her family room buffet.

Teresa loves Tartan too! She found the lampshades at Williams-Sonoma Home.
However, they are no longer available!

Besides the Santa collection, she uses fresh greens and flowers to decorate too. The house was filled with white amaryllis and hydrangeas.
I love this little vignette under the stairs...

....because it leads your eye to the turret with their collection of antique dog paintings.

There are a few more paintings that they added to their collection this year, waiting to be hung in the turret.
In the meantime, they are on the dining room buffet.
The black dog is front and center. This photo does not do this painting justice. It is absolutely wonderful!

Next to him is an oil of a cute little Maltese.
Notice the lamp! Like me, Teresa has a thing for wonderful and unusual lampshades.

The dining room table!
The centerpiece was a simple bay leaf garland with pepper berries. Candelabras flanked the ends of the table.

We were all seriously coveting her leopard chargers from Ralph Lauren!

After a delicious Greek inspired dinner of lamb shish kebob, rice pilaf, Greek salad, avogolemeno soup and pastitsio (recipes to follow), we retired to the living room to admire the tree and talk until 1 am!

The ladies had much to discuss! Reminiscing about our trip to Houston and Round Top in the spring, and making plans for a trip to New York in 2011!
It was such a fun evening at "Maison Noel!" It is truly my favorite Christmas tradition!
You can read about last year's dinner party here.

Recipes:

Avgolemono:

8 C. chicken stock
2 C. uncooked orzo
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
3 T. Cornstarch
4 large eggs
3/4 C. lemon juice

In a large saucepan, bring 6 cups of chicken stock to boil. Add orzo and cook for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Dissolve cornstarch in 1/2 cup of water. Heat remaining 2 cups of stock until hot. Do not boil! Beat eggs until fluffy. Add cornstarch mixture and lemon juice. With mixer on medium low, slowly add 1 to 2 cups of hot stock until mixed and thickened slightly. Add any remaining stock to orzo. Over low heat, slowly add egg mixture to orzo, stirring constantly until thick and creamy. Do not boil! Serve immediately.

Armenian Lamb Shish Kebab:

(Mr. A made the shish kebab from his Grandmother's recipe. It is the traditional Christmas entree for Armenians and Greeks)

Cube and marinate boned leg of lamb 6 to 8 hours ahead.
Marinate:
Onion, thinly sliced
Garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Red wine or red wine vinegar
Olive oil
Juice of 1 or 2 lemons
Kosher salt and pepper
Cover and stir occasionally.
Skewer the lamb with the onions (and red peppers if desired) and barbecue.

Pastitsio:

Ingredients for the meat sauce:
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound lean ground lamb
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 can (28 ozs.) crushed tomatoes in puree
Kosher salt and pepper

Ingredients for the bechamel sauce:
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
2 large eggs, beaten
2/3 cup Greek style yogurt
3/4 pound small shells

For the sauce, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add the beef and lamb, and saute over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until it's no longer pink, crumbling it with the back of wooden spoon. Drain off any excess liquid, add the wine, and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the garlic, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, and cayenne, and continue cooking over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 40 to 45 minutes. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the bechamel, heat the milk and cream together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until simmering. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly for 2 minutes. Pour the warm milk and cream mixture into the butter and flour mixture, whisking constantly. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until smooth and thick. Add the nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Stir in 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup of the tomato and meat sauce, and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in the eggs and yogurt and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. Don't over-cook because the pasta will later be baked. Drain and set aside.

Add the pasta to the meat and tomato sauce, and pour the mixture into a baking dish. Spread the bechamel evenly to cover the pasta and sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake for 1 hour, until golden brown and bubbly. Set aside for 10 minutes and serve hot.

I'm linking up to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday

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24 comments:

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Such a beautiful home. Love the dog paintings. I need one in my sitting room. Sigh.

Carol@SofasandSage.com said...

It seems as though every time you post, I want to be where you are! This looks like a warm and beautiful party. The tartan shades -- LOVE, the dog paintings, the dining room table, ok, just all of it. You are one lucky girl.

On Crooked Creek said...

Delores,
What an exquisite dinner party! I'm sure you were enjoying the entire experience. Memories of good food, good friends. . .this is what Christmas is all about! Thank you for inviting us to share in your joyous occasion! Merry Christmas!
Fondly,
Pat

Sarah said...

What a beautiful post, complete with recipes. Thanks for sharing the "Mason Noel" dinner party. Looks like you girls have a great time. NY in 2011 ~ terrific!
Happy Holidays! ~ Sarah

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Delores, What a beautifully decorated home. I love the plaid lamp shades. I am surprised you haven't talked her out of these. Everything is lovely and the menu sounds wonderful.
Hugs,
Sherry

Liz@http://infusewithliz.blogspot.com/ said...

How lovely to be treated to such a nice dinner and in such a beautiful home. very unique how they've put the pictures in the turret..I've copied the menu as it looked so good!
Merry Christmas, Liz

Anonymous said...

So pretty, just happened to find your post and thought your name might be of Armenian decent. I am Greek and those entrees are part of my background and recipes. Love Pastichio and it is my favorite. Hope you have a Merry Christmas, Emelia .Thank you!

Kate said...

Beautiful! What a lovely home and a delicious meal!

Low Tide High Style said...

What a lovely home, and those recipes sound delicious! I love the tartan, the dog portraits and those beautiful leopard chargers...everything was perfect!

Kat :)

Marlis said...

Beautifully decorated and so very welcoming.. what a wonderful home. the dinner menu looks delish.. I love all the tartan. Merry Christmas!

Lori E said...

Oh you know I was salivating all over those Santas. I may have a lot but it is interesting to see ones that I don't have. So different in their faces. Love them.
Everything sounds delicious.

The Tablescaper said...

This looks like so much fun. Love those lamp shades, but really fell in love with the drapes next to her tree.

When are you coming to NY?????? Please do let me know. It would be wonderful to get together.

- The Tablescaper

Designs By Pinky said...

What a beautiful home she has, looks like it was a great party! I can see why you look forward to it too! Is she the one in the long tartan skirt? Have a WONDERFUL Christmas, Delores!!!! XO, Pinky

Greek Restaurant Owner said...

There are many more regions in Greece that historically supplied a nectar to humans that was also fit for Godly consumption.
By the way olive oil was also considered to be one of the nectars of the Greek Gods. No wonder red wine just seems to go down so well with so many of the great tapenades, salads, breads and spreads that are associated with traditional Greek cuisine.
Try some greek wines westchester has.

Mariette said...

Dearest Delores,

You all were in heaven; quite obvious!
How about your son Alex? Did he get home safe and as planned? Hope so!

Wishing you some more days like this and a Merry Christmas coming up!

Mariette's Back to Basics

Jacqueline said...

Teresa's home is exquisite, what a fabulous staircase! I am seriously coveting the leopard print chargers too. What a great dinner and thanks for the wonderful recipes, I would love the pastitsio tonight! Have a very wonderful and Merry Christmas!
Jacqueline

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

I am also a Tartan lover. Those lampshades are gorgeous!
What a treat to have a wonderful dinner in a lovely home with great friends.
As always visiting is a delight and I leave so inspired... and with great ideas!
Merry Christmas. May you and all you hold dear be blessed!
Yvonne

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Her home is beautiful like yours. The dinner sounds and looks so good! Sounds and looks like you had a wonderful evening.
Enjoy the holidays!

Zondra Art said...

Beautiful!!!
I wish you a Merry Christmasand a Happy New Year!
Kisses, Zondra Art

Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

Christmas Blessings to you and your family, From my mountain to yours Hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

Rettabug said...

What a fabulous dinner party at your friend's home!! The menu sounds divine...thank you for sharing the recipes. My DH ♥ ♥ ♥'s lamb & I can't wait to try it this way.

Merry~Merry!!

Donnie said...

What a beautiful table you have made. I loved all your decorations. Have a Merry Christmas.

FABBY'S LIVING said...

I love your post and your friends house...everything it's just wonderful, what a nice party, and a great tradition, I adore traditions! I can't wait to look around all your blog. Thank you for sharing, hope you visit me too, although I'm new at this, I'm already hooked with the tablescaping art.
Wish a very happy and healthy New Year.
FABBY

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Such a gorgeous home with such wonderful Christmas decor inspiration. Photos of your home and your friend's home would make a beautiful coffee table Christmas book. Love her beautiful staircase with the dog paintings, and what a simple and yet gorgeous table centerpiece. And oh, those lamp shades - I love all of them. laurie

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