Peter Morris, a talented Washington cook who hones his skills by living part of each year in France, provided a buffet supper for guests who came last month to trim his Christmas tree. The meal was consumed almost before the compliments on its appearance were uttered, but several of the recipes have survived.
They include an elegant macaroni-and-cheese dish enlived by the addition of vegetables that remain crunchy, eggs stuffed with a chestnut puree and a spicy aspic enfolding ham and meat from pigs' feet. Among the desserts was an exceptionally good apple tarte provided by Margaret McBride. PETER MORRIS' MACARONI AND CHEESE (Serves 6) 1/2 pound elbow macaroni 1 can (16 ounces) plum tomatoes, drained and chopped 1/2 green pepper, minced 1 medium onion, minced 1 rib celery, minced 4 tablespoons butter 3 tablespoons flour 3 cups heavy cream 1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese 1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese Salt, pepper and cayennenene pepper to taste
Cook macaroni in boiling, salted water for 5 minutes. Drain and combine with chopped tomatoes and minced vegetables. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add flour and stir for a minute without browing. Add cream and stir until a thick sauce if formed. Mix cheeses togetherr and stir 1 cup of mixture into the sauce. Add sauce to macaroni, season with salt and peppers and blend well. (Recipe may be done to this point several hours ahead.)
Pour into a 2-quart casserole, spread remaining cheese over top, dot with additional butter and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutessss. EGGS MELVILLE (Serves 8) 8 hardcooked eggs, shelled 1 pound chestnuts, or 1 pound can of unsweetened chestnut puree 2 cups (about) white wine 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter 1/4 cup heavy cream 4 to 5 tablespoons Madeira 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 2 cups warm beef bouillion 1 small bay leaf 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 3 sprigs parsley Salt and pepper
Prepare chestnuts by cutting a cross in the flat side of each one. Drop into boiling water and cook for 15 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool chestnuts. Peel and remove as much of the membrances as possible.
Cover peeled chestnuts with white wine and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender enough to mash. Drain and work through a food processor. Stir in 3 tablespoons butter, melted, the cream and 2 tablespoons Madeira. (If using chestnut puree, spoon into bowl and mix in butter, cream and Madeira.)
Cut eggs in half lengthwise and remove yolks. Mash yolks and stir into chestnut puree. Mound mixture in egg halves, molding it to recreate the shape of whole eggs.
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a saucepan. Add flour and stir for a minute without browning. Still stirring, slowly pour in bouillion. Add bay leaf, thyme and parsley and cook at a low simmer for 15 minutes. Strain sauce into a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and add 2 to 3 tablespoons Madeira, according to taste. (Recipe may be done ahead up to this point.)
Select a gratin dish large enough to hold the egg halves in single layer. Pour in enough sauce to cover the bottom. Arrange eggs, stuffed side up, then pour remaining sauce side up, then pour remaining sauce over eggs. Dot eggs with butter cut from remaining tablespoon and bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 10 minutes. Serve at once with French bread. PIG' FEET AND HAM IN ASPIC (Serves 8 to 10) 6 pigs' feet 1 rib celery, chopped 2 carrots, chopped 1 onion, peeled and stuck with 2 cloves 1 bouquet garni, made from 4 or 5 sprigs parsley, 1 large bay leaf, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 6 peppercorns and tied in cheesecloth 2 tablespoons salt 1/2 pound cooked ham, diced 1/4 cup chopped ham, diced 1/4 cup Dijon mustard White wine vinegar to taste Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Cover pigs' feet with 3 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Skim. Add vegetables, bouquet garni and salt. When liquid returns to a boil, skim again. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until flesh of pigs' feet falls from the bone.
Let meat cool in cooking liquid. Remove feet. Discard bones and bouquet garni. Dice meat and skin. Strain cooking liquid into a bowl. Add diced meat, diced ham, parsley and mustard. Stir in vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Pour mixture into a 9-inch by 5-inch by 3-inch loaf pan. Cover and chill overnight. Unmold just before serving. MARGARET MCBRIDE'S TARTE AUX POMMES (Serves 12 to 16) Crust: 2 cups all-purpose flour, unsifted 2 tablespoons sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) chilled, unsalted butter 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening 1/4 cup of water
Sift together dry ingredients, cut in butter and shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture is flasky. Add water and work until a ball of dough is formed. Wrap in waxed paper and chill until firm, about 1 hour. Roll out and fit into a 15-inch tarte pan. (A 12-inch tarte pan may be used instead. The crust and the tarte will be thicker but still very good. Filling: 1 to 1 1/2 pounds apples (Stayman of Winesap preferred), peeled and sliced 2/3 cup sugar 1 egg 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup whipping cream 3 tablespoons Calvados (apple brandy) or Cognac
Arrange sliced apples in a circular design on the crust. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup sugar and bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 15 minutes or until the sides are golden. Cook on a rack.
Combine remaining sugar with the egg and beat well. Mix in flour, cream and Calvados. Pour this mixture evenly over tarte and bake (at 375) about 20 minutes until the top is golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve at room temperature.