To celebrate the holidays, I invited close friends for dinner. I call this my “pinecone dinner” since the theme for the evening included vintage china created by the Homer Laughlin company in 1958 featuring a pinecone pattern, as well as Narumi china from Japan with a slightly different pinecone pattern (Shasta Pine), which was made in the same year as the Homer Laughlin design. I also included modern elements such as goblets and water glasses with an etched pinecone pattern, and silverware from Cambridge Silversmiths with an embossed pinecone design. A lot of natural pinecones as well as holiday greenery completed my house décor. My little three-foot tall tabletop Christmas tree (a live Fraser Fir), features hundreds of small vintage ornaments and white lights, and candles lit throughout the house contributed to the ambience of the evening.

I wanted to make the experience memorable yet casual, so the food was not terribly fancy in any way, and most of it was easily prepared a day ahead and finished off at the last minute.

The pie is an old southern favorite that is often called “Japanese Fruit Pie.” I’m not quite sure why that might be, but it involves a delicious filling combination of raisins, nuts, and coconut mixed with sugar and eggs. I served it with house-made ice cream.

Hors D’Oeuvres:
Eddie’s “tortilla spirals” stuffed with goat cheese and tapenade
Soup Course: Butternut squash and apple soup with pumpkin seed garnish
Main Course:  Braised grass-fed beef short ribs with braising sauce; Yukon Gold potato puree; blanched and sauteed sugar snap peas; Angel biscuits
Dessert: Winter fruit pie with vanilla bean ice cream