So.... Rachel and I decided that we wanted to start our own traditions this Christmas. We felt like being in our home on Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning was important to us. We attended a Christmas Eve service at the Presbyterian church (we're friends with the minister). After looking at Christmas lights and running by some friends' house, we headed home.
We had already started cooking that afternoon, so the potato gratin was already half way finished. We started the popovers and readied the asparagus for roasting. Now to the main event. Rachel stopped by Weldon's Meat Market in Hot Springs a few days before to pick up a couple of filets. I was at home for lunch when she brought the steaks in; I unwrapped the package to examine her purchase - never before had my mouth watered at the smell of raw meat. We were making our Tennessee version of Steak Au Poivre (Peppercorn Steak). We call it a Tennessee version because instead of the traditional cognac to deglaze the pan, we use Jack Daniel's. After searing the steaks, start the sauce by adding garlic and shallots, then deglaze the pan. Then using a lighter, carefully ignite the remaining alcohol to burn it off.
Lighting of the Advent Whiskey
I really have done this before - it just looks like I haven't. Rachel captured such a wonderful shot, I couldn't not share it. Nothing in the kitchen caught fire, and the flames eventually burned away (it took like two full minutes - not like the ten seconds they show you on television). After adding beef stock, cream, and a few other ingredients, the steaks are returned to the sauce for a few minutes.
The meal turned out wonderfully: Tennessee Steak Au Poivre, Rosemary Infused Potato Gratin, Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Zest, and Simple Popovers. We were delighted. We even used our fine china, crystal, and fancy flatware. It was a great first Christmas together.
This Christmas would have been perfect had I not developed one of the worst cases of exudative tonsillitis I've ever seen - I'll spare you the pictures.