18 October 2010

Dinner Party Menu

I can't focus to save my butt right now, but that's probably because I have so much to do that I'm trying to do everything at once. It turns out that this doesn't work so well, so instead of making progress on any of my work-related things, I'm going to share the menu from the fantastic dinner party that we threw last Friday.

first course
apple - cheese pairing:
granny smith - blue cheese
Cox's orange pippin - moses sleeper
pink pearl - tomme crayuese
sweeTango - dante

One of the biggest reasons why I wanted to have this menu was to convince everyone to eat sweeTango apples. They're a cross between the Zestar and everyone's favorite, the honeycrisp. We got the cheeses from Antonelli's Cheese Shop in Hyde Park. That store is dangerous for waistlines and wallets. They were super awesome and helpful when we came in there with newbie cheese questions.

second course
chipotle sweet potato soup
fig, prosciutto, Lincoln Log goat cheese pizza
butternut squash gnocchi with a sage brown butter sauce
We also go the goat cheese for the pizza from Antonelli's. Lincoln Log is a bucheron-style cheese that's made at Zingerman's Creamery in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ew. I mentioned Ann Arbor on my blog. My inner Spartan feels icky.

third course
roasted chicken with sage butter
mashed potatoes
green beans with shallots and lemon (recipe below)

I wanted to get fancy with the second course, but it's usually the simple foods that are the most delicious if they're well prepared hence the main course is pretty much a really nice home-cooked meal.

fourth course
pumpkin pie with sweet cream ice cream
maple cupcakes with a maple cream cheese frosting

This is the pumpkin pie that I've made a zillion times before and it never disappoints. I wanted to do something different than the standard whipped cream for the pumpkin pie, so we made sweet cream ice cream that was tasty, but didn't have competing flavors with the pie. The maple cupcakes were made from a recipe from the new book Baked Explorations by the same guys who wrote the Baked: New Frontiers in Baking book.

I'll be posting the recipes for most of the rest of the stuff later, but here's a really nice, simple way of making green beans less boring.

Green Beans with Shallots and Lemon (serves a lot... like 20 if you're doing a 4 course meal... so you might want to quarter this)

2 lbs green beans, trimmed, cut in half and blanched
1 large shallot (or two medium ones), chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed
3-4 T olive oil
juice of 1 lemon

Heat up oil in a large frying pan. Add in shallots and cook until translucent and softened, about 5 minutes. Add in green beans and cook until warmed through. Make a small well in the center and add in garlic and stir until fragrant (~1 minute or less). Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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