It’s been more than a week since I last posted a blog, but I’ve been really, really busy. But I’ve found time to cook all week.
Last weekend I worked with my friends Mike and Mary to help prepare for and serve heavy hors d’oeuvres for about 80 people celebrating the 75th birthday of a vibrant and fun lady who decided to throw her own party. It was great fun to just be with Mike and Mary, I learned a lot of great cooking and serving ideas from Mike who is a professional chef and from Mary who knows how to organize and properly serve that many people for a cocktail party. I’d post pictures of some of the great food Mike prepared and served, but I don’t want to give away Mike’s great ideas and recipes because they may be special recipes he uses for his catering business. All I want to say is that I tasted everything, and it was amazing.
Last night, my friend Bill and I along with our lovely wives, Kathy and Dusty, prepared, cooked and served the second of two dinners the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Auctioned off last year. The format was a progressive dinner that began at our 110 year old home and then finished at Bill and Dusty’s even older home across the street. We served a total of 16 people a menu that included 6 courses with appropriate wine parings on a theme that was designed to celebrate a Summertime Festival of Seven Fishes.
I’ve attached the menu to this blog so you can get a little taste of what our guests had waiting for them when they arrived. While Bill and I did a much of the cooking, putting on an event like this is wayyyy more than just about the shopping, prepping and the cooking. The house needs to be prepared, the flowers need to picked from the gardens and arranged, the plating and utensils need to be brought out and properly placed for each course and, of course, the wines need to be opened and served at exactly the right time. And to get it all done, we were blessed with the help of many of our friends and the really great people we hired for the evening to make things go smoothly, help with serving and clean up and to generally help out doing odd things along the way. The hectic day began at 6 am and was not over until nearly midnight, but we had great fun and got much enjoyment from the many compliments people generously offered the entire evening. I slept in this morning and pretty much did nothing other than the final clean up all day. It was hard work but I had a blast.
Take a look at the Menu. Over the next few days, I’m going to select some of the easier recipes and post them to the blog. Be sure to notice how easy some of the recipes are to prepare, yet our guests raved about them. That’s because amazing complexity and layering of tastes can be achieved in very simple ways. Sometimes it’s using the freshest ingredients. Sometimes it’s planning the right accompaniments to serve with a particular recipe, and in others serving the right wine makes the difference. I’ll note those elements when I post the recipes.
Here’s the Menu and stay tuned for future posts for some of the recipes.
Summertime Festival of Seven Fishes
Friday, June 22, 2012
Gli Antipasti–A Taste of Christmas in June
Fritto Misto di Pesce—Flash Fried Calamari and Smelts, served with lemon
Trout Afumicata alla Belgian Endive—Smoked Trout, Herbed ‘Crème Fraiche’ on Belgian Endive
Acciughe e Cipoline–Carmelized Onions with olives and anchovies
Gazpacho Martini ‘Cocktail’ with Poached Shrimp
Moletto Vino Spumante Prosecco Treviso—Motta di Livenza, Itally
Capellini con Aragoste e Vaniglia Salsa—Angel Hair Pasta with Lobster Vanilla Sauce
Heitz Cellars Sauvignon Blanc—2009—Napa Valley, CA
Swordfish alla Favarella presented with Green Olive, Rosemary Buerre Blanc
Fagiolini al Pomodoro–Steamed Locally Grown Green Beans dressed with Tomato, Basil and Garlic
Chateau St Jean Chardonnay—2009—Belle Terre Vineyard, Sonoma, CA
Villa Antinori Chianti Classico—2008—Toscana, Italy
Romaine Lettuce, Red Onions, Grapefruit Sections, Gala Apples with house made
Danish Bleu Balsamic Vinaigrette
Fresh Baked House Made Ciabatta
Wine Flight of Choice
Zabaione con Limone–Lemon Tapioca Custard
Crostata de Chocolate e Raspeberry—Fresh Raspberries, bittersweet chocolate and toasted almonds
Ricotta Aubilocche Torte—Ricotta Cheese and Apricots in pastry
Heinz Eifel Eiswein Pradikatswein—2009—Rheinhessen, Germany