For the past couple of years, I have hosted my book club meeting in November/December and test my Christmas meal plan on them. That meeting was last night and I was delighted with the results.
The book for our discussion this month was “Zeitoun”, which is “the true story of one family, caught between America’s two biggest policy disasters: the war on terror and the response to Hurricane Katrina.” Since the story takes place in New Orleans, I decided to find a Cajun/Creole menu. I must admit that Cajun food has nothing whatsoever to do with this sad story.
Anyway, in my search for a coordinated Cajun menu, I found several great ideas on the Epicurous website . I was torn between the Christmas Eve, Big & Easy and Ode to Joy , but went with the Ode to Joy because it was more elegant and I wanted to avoid a poultry main dish.
· Spicy Toasted Pecans 
· Radish Flowers
· Oysters Rockefeller
· Creamed Spinach 
· Roasted Deviled Potatoes 
· Ambrosia Layer Cake · Pineapple Anise Sherbet
I did my shopping on Saturday and only had a little trouble finding Mâche – I found and bought the last two boxes of it at Schnucks in Champaign. Started cooking on Monday and made the Espagnole Sauce, toasted the Pecans, bread for the canapés and mixed up the topping for the canapés. On Tuesday, I made the Courtboullion, and the radish flowers. On Wednesday I made the rest in about 2 1/2 hours. I was in the kitchen rather than with my guests when they arrived, but they seem to be used to that when I host. A couple of friends who came a few minutes early helped setting the table. John also helped by making the salad dressing and setting up the drinks station.
I forgot to take any photos of the food and the photo is of John’s plate - he's the one who rated the meal "beyond good". I used about every piece of china I own and had a mountain of dirty dishes (three full dishwasher loads!) We’ll do it again on Christmas Eve!