Sunday, October 09, 2005

Food Extravaganza- A fall dinner

So last night was our Fall Food extravaganza -- Dinner for nine up in the warm autumnal summer of Petaluma. It was exactly the kind of thing we love, good food, good company, eating and ranting about politics pretty much all the way from 7 pm to midnight...

The word count on this entry will be low since I'm still sort of beached like a whale -- if I stre-e-etch, I can just reach the keyboard...

Here was the menu:

"Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness"

Gruyere Gougeres
Fig and Pignolia Tapenade Crostinis

Cream of Sweet Potato Soup with Creme Fraiche

Individual Beef Wellingtons with Port Wine Sauce
Celeriac and Shallot Puree
Harvest Succotash of Brussel Sprouts, Corn and Asparagus

Tossed Green Salad with Roasted Sungold, MiniCharm and Grape Tomatoes

Cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery (More on this in a moment)

"Damn Thing" Chocolate Angel Torte

Whenever we do one of these cook-a-thons we always arrive at our friends' house with a pile of food and equipment (You thought we cook in our tiny little kitchen??) Here's a pic of our typical prep before we load it up into coolers and get into the car.

The Wellingtons, slightly adjusted from the recipe we made last weekend, were MUCH better. Gosh, it just makes all the difference to use tawny port in the duxelles...who knew?

Of course, we can cook up a storm, but if it's served on paper plates it just won't deliver that fine dining experience. Half the fun is going up to our friends' house-- we jokingly called her a "Pitbull in Size Five-and-a-Half Shoes" last night -- where the setting is always perfect.

This is her gorgeous Martha Stewart table. The ever elegant Ms. Five-and-a-Half and her husband Mr. Eleven have also added a lovely garden in the front of the house which has an HERB GARDEN! I put that in caps because I've always loved herb gardens and theirs has just the mix of herbs you always seem to need.

In the back are fruit trees, including figs, which we used with the cheese course and a curious tropical fruit called a feijoa or pineapple guava. I had never seen it before, and it has a curious flavor, but here's what the Cook's thesaurus had to say about it.

Anyhow, we invaded the ktichen, and happily got to work on the dinner-- which so occupied us that Eric took this picture of the soup -- and then we didn't take any more photos of the food til the cheese course! Hey -- we were busy eating!

The cheese course though!!! Among the guests were Cowgirls from the Creamery. They brought three of their cheeses --Mt. Tam, Pierce Pt., and my favorite, the Red Hawk -- plus a bonus Van Goat from Harley Farms. HO-ly Smokes the cheese was good. The Tam was earthy and the Red Hawk was just like buttah -- by that I don't mean it tasted like "butter" of course, but that it was like "buttah" in the generally descriptive sense. Nothing like getting it from the source.

To go with the cheeses we had some experimental fruit and nut accompaniments, including hazelnuts with Comice pears poached in Riesling and vanilla for the Mt. Tam, a Medjool date puree for the Red Hawk, and figs with toasted pumpkins seeds just for the heck of it.

By that time, you'd think we were so stuffed we'd be rolling on the floor, and I think we very nearly were, but the Chocolate Angel Torte was irresistable. Light and mousselike, Ms. Five-and-a-Half's secret family recipe was a perfect sweet to close.

Sigh. Okay, time to roll over and join my cat in the sun, while I digest for a few days. Move over, kitty...

[Ed. note: I've been corrected -- The artist formerly known as Mr. Eleven is in point of fact, Mr. Thirteen! My mistake!]


Shazzer said...

your cat is adorable!

your food looks so fancy! and tasty! yum :)

ME said...

:) Thanks, Shazzer! He loves being the center of attention, and I suspect is pleased about starring in the food blog...