One Britt was on the tour, and it took a few weeks to decorate, clean, and prep. The tour was successful in raising much needed funds, and we had around 350 people on the tour.
All in all, we had seven trees and other decorations throughout the house.
Our holidays began with the annual Grant Holiday Hoedown at One Britt. My brother, brother-in-law, nieces and nephews came down the Saturday night before Christmas, and the others joined us for brunch on Sunday.
We had a lot of fun cooking together on Sunday morning, and it was great to see everyone.
Unfortunately, my niece, Kacey, was sick, so she and her boys could not join us. We missed her but look forward to a date night soon.
We spent Christmas Eve with Jeff Brown’s family, and I cooked a beef tenderloin, cream biscuits and a Red Velvet Cake to take to dinner.
With all of the family gatherings behind us, we cooked dinner on Christmas night for six of our friends. I made a standing rib roast from Mountain Valley Farm. I also cooked Yorkshire pudding, horseradish and sour cream mashed potatoes, Brussel sprouts, salt and pepper cream biscuits and a carrot cake for dessert. We had a great time.
The day after Christmas, Cory and I went to see “Les Miserables.” It was very well done, all except for the miscasting of Russell Crowe, who cannot sing.
This week’s French-inspired Sunday Supper is a tribute to the movie and a segway into lighter cuisine for the New Year.
I cooked my standard baked macaroni and cheese for New Year’s Eve. This tradition started in 2000 when I cooked the best mac and cheese for Y2K in case it was our last meal.
I guess it is time to cook it again in observance of the Mayan Apocalypse that never materialized.
Last night, I cooked one last cake for the holidays to take to our dear friends, Steve and Amado in Blue Ridge. I made a chocolate velvet cake with coconut and pecan icing.
We had a great time celebrating the holidays with them. They cooked an amazing dinner, and we even had a little snow to enjoy.
It’s been a great year, and I am looking forward to an exciting new year. I got a great new camera for Christmas, so hopefully the food photos will improve in 2013. I just have to learn how to use it first.
This Sunday I prepared Bouillon de Poulet Avec des Quenelles de Volailles or chicken dumpling soup.
It is a lighter version of the Southern chicken and dumplings, and it was a good choice for a cold night. The dumplings are light and airy, and the chicken is actually incorporated into the dumpling mixture.
I added a few ingredients, but the basic recipe came from Rachel Khoo’s series, “Little Paris Kitchen.”
She is great. She went to Cordon Bleu and cooks classic French food in a small flat.
Her show is on BBC and now airs on the Cooking Channel as well. Check her out.
Chocolate Velvet Cake with Coconut and Pecan Icing
Cake ingredients 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels 1/2 cup butter, softened 1 (16-ounce) package light brown sugar 3 large eggs 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 (8-ounce) container sour cream 1 cup hot water 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
DIRECTIONS Melt semisweet chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe bowl at HIGH for 30-second intervals until melted (about 1 1/2 minutes total time). Stir until smooth. Beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer, beating about 5 minutes or until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add melted chocolate, beating just until blended. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to chocolate mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Gradually add 1 cup hot water in a slow, steady stream, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in vanilla. Use immediately, following directions for desired cake. Note: The addition of hot water at the end of this recipe makes for an exceptionally moist cake. Spoon batter evenly into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cakepans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove layers from pans, and let cool completely on wire rack. Coconut and Pecan Icing ingredients 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk 1 1/2 cups sugar 3/4 cup butter or margarine 6 egg yolks 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 cups chopped pecans, toasted 1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
DIRECTIONS Stir together first 4 ingredients in a heavy 3-quart saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, 12 minutes. Remove from heat; add remaining ingredients, and stir until frosting is cool and of spreading consistency. Spread Coconut-Pecan Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.
Bill Grant is owner of Grant Design Collaborative based in Canton and chairman of the Canton Main Street Board.