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X-mas Eve

26 December 2013

X-mas Eve,


Christmas is one of my favorite nights of the year.   I think it’s magical.  I have always loved it, and loved the ritual of putting the stockings by the fireplace and milk & cookies for Santa.   Poor guy he never got a cookie because all my dogs ate them!  My tradition is always to have it black tie, I think people love to dress up and one year I said to be more casual and everyone came in black tie anyway.  I always wear long-dress, skirt sometimes festive & fun and totally over the top!  This year I have one of my favorite all time dresses that my best friends Mark Badgley & James Mischka gave me years ago. an oldie but goody black velvet & huge black silk skirt.  It’s gorgeous.  The dinner started out to be 6 people and in the morning it became 16 – so I  stuck w/my original menu.  Roasted Squash Soup, Mushroom Risotto, Salad & Cheese, Rodika’s Buche de Noel, Cornelia Guest Cookies and Ice Cream.  It was James birthday a few days before so I made him a gluten free chocolate cake.  I was a bit worried about making Risotto for 16 and I always make extra for everyone who works at the house.   So it was for 20.  It was yummy.  The dinner was great, everyone had fun and left at midnight.  A magical night – I was thrilled.


Cooking in my dress was easy & fun.  I live being in & out of the kitchen.  No matter what I’m wearing.  I think it is very important as the host to be on top of everything.   No matter if I’m cooking or Chef Thomas (our head chef at Cornelia Guest Events).  I always am running in and out of the kitchen.   I help set the table pick the linens, etc.  Entertaining is a reflection on the host.  So I like to make sure everything is perfect.  I have fabulous people who work for me, they are all amazing so it is a huge group effort always and that makes it fun.  We are a big family!


Recipe for Mushroom Risotto

Serves 4



5 cups – Basic Broth

½ cup -  dry white wine

3 tablespoons – unsalted butter

1/3 cup –finely minced onion

1½ cups – Arborio rice

2 cups – mushrooms – Any kind you like

¼  teaspoon -  Powdered Saffron

1  tablespoon – Unsalted Butter

1/3 cup – grated cheese


  1. Bring the broth to a steady simmer in a saucepan on top of the stove.
  2. Heat the butter (3 tablespoons) in a heavy 4-quart casserole over moderate heat.  Add the onion and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, until it begins to soften, being careful not to brown it.
  3. Add the rice; using a wooden spoon, stir for 1 minute, making sure all the grains are well coated.  Add the wine and sir until it is completely absorbed.
  4. Add the saffron, mushrooms, and begin to add the simmering broth, ½ cup at a time, stirring frequently.  Wait until each addition is almost completely absorbed before adding the next ½ cup, reserving about ¼ cup to add at the end.  Stir frequently to prevent sticking.
  5. After approximately 18 minutes , when the rice is tender but still firm, add the reserved broth.  Turn off the heat and immediately add the remaining condiments – butter and Parmesan – and stir vigorously to combine with the rice .  Serve immediately.




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