Julie Anne Rhodes

Dear Santa:

I had a whole glamorous list of goodies for you, but my plumber decided Christmas would be of a more mundane nature this year. I’m getting a new sewage drain for the house instead of this Jean Cocteau bracelet I happened upon last week. It’s called “confidence”, and who doesn’t need a lot of that?
Confidence for Jewels

Those who knew me well, way back when, know that I was partial to collecting Jean Cocteau drawings. In fact, at one point in time, I think those drawings were my only friends – they rescued me from my loneliness. Safely ensconced in the apartment on Avenue Montaigne, my imagination could roam freely through the depths of my obsession with Paris of the 1920’s (which I greatly preferred over Paris of the 1980’s).

Jean Cocteau self portrait
Perhaps I instinctively knew they would not be mine for long, because the walls remained barren. Instead, I would scatter them about the living room each day, and sit in the middle of them imagining I was a guest in Gertrude Stein’s salon, watching Nijinsky dance in the ballet Russe, Josephine Baker sing to rapturous audiences, or carried off listening to Stravinsky compose The Rite of Spring. I derived immense pleasure from those deceptively simple drawings, and was bitterly disappointed when I was not allowed to keep a single one out of the enormous collection I had helped amass. Cest la vie!
Once the collection of Nick & Julie Anne Rhodes
I swear it was unintentional, but I got lost making my social media rounds last week, and found myself fighting with temptation when I happened upon this website. Oh what a bore it is to be practical – choosing something so unsexy over something of great beauty, sigh.
Jammin” with Jewels
Anyway, I wanted to thank you for being so generous with last year’s list! I promise to become a much better food photographer this year as I learn to use my new camera, the wallet has been so very useful, and I just adore the violet and lavender jellies! Merci beaucoup.
English muffins with lavender jelly
I’m on a healthy kick at the moment, so instead of baking you cookies this year I am leaving you this delicious side dish you can take home to enjoy with Mrs. Claus and the elves (I doubled the recipe).

Creamy Gruyere Spinach & Artichoke Casserole
This is an adapted version of a recipe I got from my friend Sharon Worster. Although I make this all year round for my clients, I think it perfect for the holidays. You can make it ahead, and just bake it off when you are ready to serve, plus it travels well if you are contributing to dinner elsewhere.
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 package chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
2 cloves of garlic
4 ounces lite cream cheese
1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1/2 cup fat free milk
2 tablespoons Parmesan, grated
1 tablespoons panko
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1). Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2). Pulse the drained spinach and artichoke hearts in a food processor for a rough chop. Add in the cream cheese, Gruyere, nutmeg and 1/4 cup of the milk. Pulse until just mixed, adding milk through the feed until desired consistency is reached.
3). Spread the mixture evenly in a casserole dish. Mix the panko and Parmesan and sprinkle across the top of the casserole.
4). Bake for 20 minutes, or until hot and beginning to go golden around the edges.

Serving Suggestions: Great with just about anything – steaks, roasts, fish, etc.
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