Speaking of birthdays…….
From time to time, the Chef and I like to put on “special dinners”. Usually consisting of a several coarse tasting menu. He does most of the cooking, while I do the arranging, the shopping, the decor and the clean up. And if I’m lucky, sometimes I actually am allowed to make a dish or two myself!
Seared Tuna, Avocado and Red Pepper Sushi
I have to admit, the Chef does a nice sushi, which is good because I only ever eat sushi at home, what with the shell-fish allergy, eating it in restaurants is just too high risk.
Belgian Endive and Mini Kale Pancakes topped with Smoked Gorgonzola and Candied Walnuts
This was a tasty one.
They don’t show up that well in this picture, but I made mini versions of my famous Kale Pancakes. Then to add some freshness to it all, they were alternated with leaves of Belgium endive. Then both were topped with a small slice of smoked Gorgonzola cheese and a chunk of candied walnut.
We often enjoy this as an anytime snack.
Beet Carpaccio Salad with Arugula, Blood Orange and Shaved Boursin Cheese
I really like beets, so I always encourage the Chef to somehow incorporate them into our special dinners.
So on this occasion, he thinly sliced both red and golden cooked beets. Then topped them with super thing slices of Boursin Cheese, ( I’ll tell you another time about how he does that, because if you have ever dealt with Boursin, you know that slicing it in any way isn’t easy!) slices of blood orange, arugula and then drizzled with a raspberry vinaigrette.
Course Number Four:
Halibut “Fish and Chips”
This was a whimsical item. The “fish and chips” refers to the halibut being roasted with grated yam on top and then drizzled in a balsamic dressing. The yams form and nice crust (chips) and keep the halibut moist (fish) and then vinegar on top.
Course Number Five:
Spinach and Pine Nut Stuffed Chicken Breast with roasted Celeriac Puree and marinated Red Cabbage
I hate to be judgemental, but I think this one was my favorite dish of the night. The chicken was moist and flavourful, the celeriac both sweet and earthy at the same time and the crunch sourness of the cabbage just all really worked well together. Oh and I didn’t even mention the delicious grainy mustard sauce in the title ( made it too long to look good on the page)!
Course number six:
Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad
I actually got to make this course myself. It is a favorite of mine to make and to eat and it often shows up on our special dinner menus. But I can’t take the credit for it.
It is blatantly stolen from the menu at celebrity Chef Michael Chiarello’s Napa Valley restaurant, Bottega.
We tasted it there awhile back and I was determined to recreate it. But luckily for me, they were generous enough to just post the recipe on-line!
So please do try it out for yourself. It is surprisingly wonderful.
Course number seven:
Mediterranean Lamb & Bell Pepper Kebobs with Cous Cous and Kaffir Lime Leaf Scented Demi-Glace
It is a little joke we have with the birthday guest. Inevitably whenever we go to her place for dinner, she serves lamb! So it only seemed fitting that there should be a little lamb on her birthday party menu. The startlingly delicious item in this dish was the Kaffir lime leaves.
They don’t really show in the picture but they were in the sauce. At this point in the evening ( course seven) sticking one’s fingers in the food and pulling out the lime leaves and sucking on them was clearly NOT frowned upon. What a delightful taste, the tart lime flavour mixed with the luscious demi glaze.
Course number eight:
Cheese & Apple
It seems we were just too delirious by this point to actually remember to take a picture.
We had retired to the lounge for a little reprieve before moving on to desert but just wanted to add this extra little treat to the mix.
Norwegian Ski Queen cheese, is just a delightful thing to try. Although it is a cheese, it would remind you more of a really rich version of those caramel square candies that we used to get a Halloween. Perhaps those crossed with butter or some other unbearably delicious creamy substance. You really do need to try it. We find it in the speciality cheese section of most major grocery stores.
So our eighth course was slices of Ski Queen matched with slices of Ambrosia Apples lightly dusted with fresh cracked black pepper.
( No Photo Available )
Course number nine:
Raw Chocolate Tart topped with Pomegranate accompanied with fresh chunks Pineapple and Chocolate dipped Candied Ginger.
I also got to make this one!
If you have been following this blog for a while, you know that I like to startle people from time to time with my “raw” dishes. So after a somewhat decadent night so far, I thought why not toss in something a little healthy to end the evening and leave us feeling good about ourselves!?
It was a very successful evening. Good times all round.
Stay tuned for when the next one happens. Who knows, YOU might even get invited!