Chef Bill’s Magical Christmas Feast

Warning: Epic amounts of Food and Wine will be discussed in the subsequent blog post. I recommend grabbing a snack and a beverage lest you feel overly jealous.

File Dec 14, 6 29 12 PMIf you follow me on TheInsta then you know we’re knee deep in the middle of my favorite time of year[1]. Something about the cheesy amazing music, the twinkling lights and the spirit of giving puts me in my happy place and I try to embrace it as much as possible[2]. We tend to entertain on a regular basis throughout the year, but we really step it up once the tree is up. Saturday night we hosted a fantabulous evening of food, wineFile Dec 13, 2 14 08 PM and Onyx Moonshine. The dinner was donated to raise funds for Husband’s alma mater, and clients of mine were kind enough to provide Chef Bill, a culinary genius that made some serious foodie miracles happen in our kitchen. I selected the wine with the help of the smartest ex-lawyer I know down at The Wise Old Dog. Everything turned out impeccable.

We started with crab and avocado on garlic crostini along with a baked brie withFile Dec 14, 6 30 52 PM cranberries and rum. The brie was so luscious, my inner beast really wanted to take the plate, hide in a corner and eat it all by myself[3]. But I behaved and only had one taste. Ok two. Maybe three. But it was just so good. These goodies were served with the CiderBerry Cocktail: cranberry juice, apple cider and Onyx Moonshine shaken then topped with a splash of ginger ale[4].

File Dec 13, 2 13 44 PMOnce our appetites had been thoroughly whetted, we moved to the dining room where the feast truly began. The sumptuous salmon bisque was almost too pretty to eat. It turns out that the 2013 Banshee Chardonnay was virtually made to be enjoyed with this bisque. Mild citrus with a hearty helping of medium bodied liquid gold. I had taken the bottle out of the fridge about twenty minutes prior to this course so it was chilled, but the flavors were really allowed to shine.

File Dec 14, 6 33 42 PMNext appeared two of the largest pan-seared[5] scallops I’ve ever had served with an orange and grapefruit reduction. These babies were shucked just days ago off George’s Island and were size “U10”, or 10 scallops per pound, which is freakin’ huge. They were paired with Domaine de la Madone Beaujolais Nouveau 2015.[6] People tend to think seafood must be served with white wine, but I wanted to change it up a bit and it paid off. The bright and fruity Beaujolais exquisitely complemented the hearty, tender scallops and played off the orange and grapefruit reduction like a dream.

And then there was bubbly. I know, I know, another non-traditional experience. Bubbly usually starts or ends the evening, but having it in the middle with the chocolate-balsamic drizzled green salad was a perfect palate-cleansing experience. I chose Monte Maria Prosecco, a non-vintage bottle from Veneto, Italy. The sweet, crisp bubbles enriched the ever-so-subtle chocolate balsamic, making eating your greens a highly enjoyable task.

File Dec 13, 2 13 05 PMBy this time we were all feeling good. Our bellies were warm and full, our palates had been cleansed and we were ready for the main event. Beef Wellington. I’d never had this before, though Husband and I have talked about it for years[7]. A cut of filet mignon topped with a layer of pâté, wrapped in pastry. Full stop. Does it get better? I don’t know how it could. Chef Bill’s take on this was superb. His eastern-European chopped liver with a mix of onions and mushrooms was exquisite on its own[8]. The filet was cooked perfectly. Literally. I’ve never had a filet come out so well done. And I don’t mean well done as in burned to a crisp. I mean well done as in perfectly pink, almost red, juicy, flavorful and delicious. I chose the 2011 Bordeaux by Château Gaby to go with this meaty masterpiece. We had decanted it just before our guests arrived, so it had been breathing for at least two hours. It was a rich, meaty red wine that stood up to the beef impeccably. This juice, coupled with the pâté and pastry encrusted filet was an absolutely euphoric experience; nobody could stop raving about it.

Now we were really in a good place. Fully sated and warm from the drink. Chef Bill, in all his wisdom, decided to make us take a break. Twenty minutes later we were all in the kitchen to watch him and his assistant Isiah make a fresh batch of pot de crème.[9] We witnessed his trick to separating eggs by using your hands[10], and saw as he expertly made bits of Ghirardelli chocolate transform into beautiful pots of delicious chocolate heaven.

File Dec 14, 6 35 59 PMWe returned to the table and were served the pre-made pots topped with freshly whipped cream and a fresh raspberry. This was paired with the Late Bottle Vintage Quinta Sta Eufemia Porto 2009. And then there was silence. Literally no one said a word for at least four solid minutes. We were in our own little worlds, unartfully chowing down on the thick, rich chocolate pots, then silently washing it down with the rich dazzling port.

After we recovered, the men-folk went out for an El Güegüense cigar and the women chatted ‘round the Christmas tree. It sounds sexist, I know, but who actually wants to smoke a cigar? Not this girl. Around the tree was right where I wanted to be, with another wee glass of port.

It was an epic evening to remember. We spent the whole of Sunday morning trying to figure out ways to incorporate Chef Bill into our lives on a regular basis[11]. While I work on that, you should think about hiring him to cook your next meal, or just turn on the Christmas music and pour yourself a glass of wine.


Lawyer Footnotes
[1] #ChristmasTreeOverload #SorryNotSorryFile Dec 14, 6 29 51 PM
[2] According to Husband, he came home to find I had “vomited Christmas” all over the house. I prefer to think of it as my way of spreading Christmas cheer. One piece of garland at a time.
[3] I’m not a very good sharer.
[4] I didn’t have my food blogger hat on, probably because I don’t own one of those, so my photos of the evening are almost non-existent.
[5] Pan-seared on Chef Bills 100+ year old cast iron skillet. Flavor for days.
[6] In case you didn’t know, this year’s Beaujolais harvest was superb. This was the third bottle we’ve tried and all of them have been stunning. Last year’s, not so much.
[7] Not actually making it, but wanting to have someone make it for us.
File Dec 13, 2 17 56 PM[8] We tasted it straight before it was slathered onto the two beautiful roasts. It was mind blowing. For real.
[9] He had pre-made the lovely wee pots we were going to eat; the demonstration pot de crèmes thankfully went into my refrigerator, waiting for me to eat all by myself share with my parents when they came over for Round 2 with all the leftovers. Hosting certainly has its advantages.
[10] Being the world’s worst egg-cracker, I’m sure this trick would not work out so well for me.
[11] In between washing the hand-wash only glass crystal stemware. This was a small price to pay since all of my hand-wash only china was washed and dried before the guests had even left.

3 thoughts on “Chef Bill’s Magical Christmas Feast

  1. We were honored to be a part of an extraordinarily gastro-driven journey courtesy of ThymeShare
    and Chef Bill! Although the culinary delights were remarkable on their own, the choices of wine certainly elevated the flavors to incredibly delicious levels!! B and L.

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