Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Feast of Stephen

St. Stephen was the first Christian martyr; the Western church celebrates St. Stephen's Day on December 26, the second day of Christmas.  That's "the feast of Stephen" that one hears about in Good King Wenceslas. (Never mind that he was really a duke and his name was Václav!)

Today is St. Stephen's Day, and after the frenetic rush to Christmas, it seems to be time to slow down a bit.  My Feast of Stephen will be a modest one by comparison to some peoples' excesses of the past two days, but I've invited a few friends over and we will surely enjoy ourselves.

Perhaps the greatest pleasure of Emory Cottage is cooking.  The kitchen was designed to be both an efficient workspace and a friendly social space.  It's big enough to be both at the same time for half-a-dozen people.  We'll have as much fun preparing the modest feast as we will eating it.

I've always delighted in silliness, so I loved How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  The centerpiece of tonight's feast just has to be ... roast beast.  Not the whole beast, for there are only a few of us, but I got a wonderful beef tenderloin from the market early this morning.  It'll be roasted and served with a port wine sauce.

What else?  Well broccoli gets flown in from the southern hemisphere almost as easily as from California, and it's a cool-weather vegetable anyway.  A Cheddar cheese and beer sauce should make it go well with the roast beast.  As long as I'm roasting, perhaps some roasted potatoes with rosemary.  With a salad, home-baked French bread, and perhaps some cheese beforehand, that should make a pretty nice feast.

Except we need some dessert.  I haven't had any pumpkin pie yet this season, so I think I'll do that.  And, since I'm buying things flown in from elsewhere, perhaps some strawberries and raspberries in Grand Marnier for those who do not care for pie. (I'll hide the spray can of whipped cream from the guests.  ... Oh, wait!  That won't work because they'll all be in the kitchen.  Oh, well.)

I'm looking forward to a pretty easy day of preparation, ending surrounded by friends.  I'd like to think St. Stephen would be pleased.

December 27...
Everything worked, and a good time was had by all.

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