The Jeremiah Brown House buzzes with activity all through the year because guests are constantly coming and going making the house a very happy and lively place to be. As Innkeeper I’ve always felt this house was created not for us alone (us being my husband and myself) but rather a house to be shared with others. Everyone knows sharing doubles the joy.
Anyone who takes care of a home realizes how much there is to do in order to make that home cozy and inviting, but in December with holidays around the corner, special touches seem to be needed in order to create a festive atmosphere.
Mother Nature has pitched in, doing her “Wintery” job, of dusting snow all around the grounds creating that “White Christmas” look.
Now it’s for me to add a few touches to the entrance and all around the house continuing that holiday/festive look. As guests come to the door…
and as they continue into the foyer of the house. A Christmas tree with lights and a poinsettia can do wonders to create a holiday atmosphere. Simple, timeless decorations.
I move through the house. The library is small so it doesn’t need much. A gold poinsettia in the window and as Christmas cards arrive they will be tucked into the books on the shelves.
Have you ever seen a gold-colored poinsettia? This color is new to me, but it looks quite at home in my gold-colored library.
I love Christmas cards, don’t you? Of course I’m a letter writer so I love cards sent all through the year, not only in December, but at Christmas it seems most people indulge in snail mail as I do and I’m so very glad they do. The cards we receive will decorate the shelves of the Jeremiah Brown library in a most friendly way.
Moving to the living room the banister gets a twist of evergreen roping
so guests taking tea in this room can enjoy a little more holiday decoration.
A Christmas tree has also been added here for extra holiday spirit.
And the dining room of The Jeremiah Brown House which will be busy with guests this month has a twinkling tree too.
It will add a touch of Christmas to all the dining room events this month.
There’s so much more to show and tell you about as Innkeeper . . .
And there’s plenty to tell you about as Inn Maid too, for example, all the table linen that needs to be ironed in order to be ready for holiday entertaining, but. . .
let me switch gears, put on my chef hat, and as Inn Cook tell you about a few of the things that I made in the kitchen lately. You might like to make some of these recipes yourself. This month a certain someone’s been keeping me company in the kitchen, a someone you may know.
Yes, It’s Santa. Isn’t he cute?
He’s not actually much help except to inspire me as I try new recipes for Inn guests and I have three of these recipes to share with you.
This first recipe is a French Potato Pie with Comte Cheese.
It’s a beauty, isn’t it?
Here’s the recipe!
Cook a few strips of bacon till crisp. Remove the bacon and in the drippings cook 3 sliced cloves of garlic and 2 thinly sliced onions for about 2 minutes. Mix these things together. Create a batch of your favorite double pie crust dough. Line a pan with the bottom crust and then add a layer of thinly sliced potatoes, season with salt and pepper, followed with layers of the bacon/onion mixture and then cheese. You’ll be using about 2 pounds of russet potatoes and 2 cups of diced Comte cheese. Layer these ingredients and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. of nutmeg and 1/2 tsp. of thyme. Dot all of this with 2 tablespoons of butter. Place the top crust on all this pie and brush with an egg wash (1 large egg mixed with 1 tablespoon of heavy cream.) Bake the pie in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Cover with parchment or foil if the pie browns too much.
Charlotte de Chou et de Pommes de Terre
Here at the Inn we like French food and both potato dishes are as pretty to look at as to eat. To make this Charlotte you need a Charlotte pan that is deep and round. The only ingredients you’ll need are a Savoy cabbage, a medium onion, 1 and 1/2 pounds of potatoes, an egg, plus salt and pepper.
To make the Charlotte soften about 5 cabbage leaves in boiling water for a few minutes. Line the buttered pan with these leaves saving one for the top. Meanwhile boil the potatoes and when they are soft mash them with the egg, a bit of milk aplus salt and pepper. Chop the remaining cabbage and fold it into the mashed potatoes. Place this potato mixture into the Charlotte pan and cover the mixture with the remaining cabbage leaf. Wrap all this tightly in foil and place the pan in another deeper pan so boiling water can be placed half way up the Charlotte pan. Bake this at 375 degree for about 45 minutes. Unmold and you have a Cabbage Charlotte to dazzle your friends.
I served this Charlotte recently to Inn guests along with breaded pork chops, buttered corn, homemade apple sauce and yeast rolls.
Oh yes, and for dessert – Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Squares
Should you want to make these yummy squares you’ll need the following:
2 sticks of unsalted butter, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 large egg, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 2 and 1/4 cups quick-cooking oatmeal, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans.
The process: Cream butter and sugars, add egg and vanilla, then add 3/4 of the flour, with oatmeal and salt. Press this into a prepared 9 inch square baking pan. Scatter the chocolate chips over this dough. Combine the nuts with the remaining flour and crumble this over the chocolate chips. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean when done. Cool and cut into squares.
Yummy. These squares melt in your mouth.
So though there’s lots more to tell you about that’s happening at The Jeremiah Brown House I think it’s time for me to take a break with afternoon tea. The weather outside is frightful, but the porch (which as a gas heater) is delightful, so I’ll take my leave from Inn duties for a little while, bring out a tea tray and wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Maybe I’ll be seeing you here at the Inn, but if not have a wonderful holiday wherever you are making lots of inviting settings, yummy treats and romantic moments in your very own home.
Until next time . . . be happy!