Christmas in the Country

My friends Jimmy and David have a fantastic second home an hour north of New Orleans in rural St. Tammany Parish.  Over twenty years they have transformed a barren piece of land into an estate with a fantastic house, lake, gardens, a greenhouse, and a commercial nursery.  The latest addition – just in time for the Christmas season – is a chapel.

We were honored to attend their annual Christmas Open House last weekend.   I’m only showing you inside views today, but we’ll go back in the spring when the gardens are in full bloom.   As always, the home was beautifully decorated, with holiday color in every room.

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You can’t have a party in New Orleans without food, and David is a fantastic cook.  The old saying “you eat first with your eyes” is especially true here – just look at the artistic displays.  I wish that I had such attention to detail!  If  you’re getting hungry, check out the recipe for Blue Cheese Pine Cones below.

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Blue Cheese Pine Cones

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

1-1/4 cups processed cheese sauce

1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled blue cheese

1/4 cup chopped green onions

1 tablespoon diced pimientos

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1-1/2 cups unblanched almonds, toasted

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, cheese sauce and blue cheese until smooth. Stir in the onions, pimientos and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and refrigerate until firm. On a serving platter, form cheese spread into a pine cone shape. Beginning at the narrow end, arrange almonds in rows.  Serve with crackers. 

Tablescape Thursday with Between Naps on the Porch
with Between Naps on the Porch




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4 responses to “Christmas in the Country”

  1. Betty819 Avatar

    What’s David piping into those pastry shells? Care to share what other foods you have on the platters?

  2. Betty819 Avatar

    I’ve had this same recipe for umteen years and have never tried making it. That looks too beautiful and perfect to eat! Do you place your almonds on the underside that is on your platter or leave it flat on the side that lies on the plate/platter? I make a great football shape cheeseball that I found in the Sunday’s section using Carl Buddig deli meats years ago. It was Sunday before Superbowl and everybody loves it but I am getting tired of it now after 20 some years so plan to choose one of my other cheeseball recipes that i have in a notebook of recipes. This pine tree one is among them. My guess is that you used smoked almonds instead of blanched ones?

    Maybe others would like to share their favorite cheeseball recipe after seeing this one. Cheeseballs can be used for any occassion at any time of the year, and they are usually easy to make once you learn how.

  3. marlis Avatar

    Thanks for the recipe.. Love love the feast for the eyes. thanks for sharing the pics.. xo marlis

  4. Pam at Tea in Texas Avatar

    Wow, what fabulous feast for the eyes and to taste! Only in the south, for the cooking is always wonderful. Glad you shared the beatiful place and the Christmas decor! Thanks!

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