12.26.11 Fête Accompli

Christmas eve 790 xxx
photos by george billard
'Twas the night before Christmas and we were invited to spend it at Beaver Dam. You may remember it as the gorgeous house to which we fled last winter during the DBR (Dreaded Bathroom Renovation). Or perhaps you recall an impromptu potluck there about which I posted this fall. For Christmas Eve it had been splendidly decked out for the season, lit by candles and smelling of pine and woodsmoke from a blazing fire. Such hospitality! Dear friends, delicious food and wine, beautifully wrapped presents: it was an outpouring of love.I awoke this morning to learn of a terrible tragedy that befell a family on Christmas morning, and I feel it is even more crucial to appreciate the good times we have together. This time of year is an especially good opportunity to express to your loved ones how much they mean to you. Don't wait.
Tree lights 790 xxx
magic mushrooms
Stag 790 xxx
going stag
Fireplace 790 xxx
i hearth you
As you can see, there is no lack of drama in the decor at Beaver Dam. The owner is an antiques dealer and has an eye for the unusual (and the amusing). The "deer" head, above, is enormous, made of leather and mounted near the top of the 30-foot ceiling.
Ornament 790 xxx
purely ornamental
Wasps nest 790 xxx
love nest
Elements of nature are everywhere in the house, from the white pine Christmas tree cut down on the property to this wasps' nest hanging from a light fixture.
Paella 790 xxx
seafood diet
The centerpiece of our grand feast was this gorgeous lobster paella, color-coordinated for the holiday, of course. It's from a recipe by Spanish chef José Andrés, with wonderful layers of flavor from a spicy sofrito and rich, red-pepper infused stock.
Cutting cake 790 xxx
let them eat cake
For dessert, there was pear upside-down cake with black walnut ice cream (recipes coming later this week).
Tomo 790 xxx
shock and awe
It was a perfect evening for seven lucky friends, relaxed and indulgent. The only thing missing was the snow.On Christmas morning, my true love gave to me: diamond earrings and a dehydrator. What did you get?


Your holiday looks like it was positively stupendous. Paella with lobster, yum! My friend Arun and I did the Feast of the 7 Fishes at Hearth on Christmas Eve. Their mussel and prawn stew is a must-repeat dish, especially with a great bottle of grower champagne rosé. I'm keeping the Badger family in my prayers. So unbelievably wrenching to learn of that terrible tragedy.
vetivresse on December 26, 2011 at 5:47 am —
The Feast of the Seven Fishes sounds like something to strive for next year! Much love to you, dear friend.
laura on December 26, 2011 at 6:47 am —
Thanks for the great company and wonderful time. Next morning.... I got old fashioned snowshoes, reading light, and ironing board !! which I was dreaming of. Well.... There are more....small lovely house stuff.
Tomo on December 26, 2011 at 7:00 am —
Snowshoes! Lucky you. Let's pray for snow!
laura on December 26, 2011 at 7:02 am —
We shared in the purchase of a Blu-Ray and as a surprise—which wasn't really as my husband is totally thoughtless when it comes to gifts—I hinted for a watch or a waffle iron. At the last minute he gave—no! I can't tell you, as it was meaningless. God bless him, he never learned to be thoughtful.
Vivian on December 27, 2011 at 6:27 am —
I'm sure he shows his love in other ways, Vivian. Buy yourself that waffle iron!
laura on December 27, 2011 at 6:49 am —
mmm- lobster paella recipe? x s ps great gifts- our anniversary is around the hols - i got diamond earrings, too. though, i was secretly hoping for a new lens (i know, crazy right, who likes camera lenses over jewelry? me!)
s on January 6, 2012 at 10:28 am —
Shayma, I am so lucky that I can "borrow" my husband's incredible lenses. That way he can just focus on diamonds! ;-)
laura on January 6, 2012 at 12:46 pm —