Thank you so much to all who voted for me in the last Project Food Blog challenge!
Up next is challenge number three, a celebratory challenge in which we were asked to organize and host a “Luxury Dinner Party”.
I was thrilled this challenge coincided with my son’s birthday. Because, let me tell you… this young man is my little gourmet! Not only does he love being my taste-tester, he enjoys and often even offers to lend a hand when I’m in the kitchen. Something that very rearly occurs when it comes to non-kitchen related tasks.
His palette is also quite sophisticated… he started refusing to order from the children’s menu at restaurants a long time ago. Those options were just not *good enough* for him.
There was one particular occasion where he actually pouted when I told him he couldn’t order the lobster. (Yeah, Lobster…!) We’re on a budget I told him. “Mommy’s having a $9 salad, you aren’t having a $30 lobster, so please pick something else.”
On certain special occasions we do splurge a little on a nice meal. Birthday’s for example are always special occasions in my book, so a little splurging action was totally called for!
The inspiration for this menu originated from a solo lunch I had at Del Posto in NY a few months ago. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share the experience I had with my family and friends.
I’m hoping you’ll love this special meal just as much as the birthday boy did!
The day before the dinner I planned my menu, wrote out my shopping list, and on my way home from work bought all the groceries I needed including this yummy chunk of of Italian Black Truffle Cheese.
Tip: To add a gourmet touch choose a single star ingredient for each dish!
As you read through this post, you’ll see one key ingredient is the sole star of the majority of the dishes I prepared. By doing this, your menu will scream gourmet without hurting your pocket book too much.
After having a quick dinner I set the table, sorry… I didn’t have time to iron the the table cloth. I forgot to add it to the schedule.
We didn’t all fit in one table so I had to make some adjustments (aka the *kids* table)
Once that was done I got to work on the Beef Consommé, prepared the base for my sorbet and called it a night!
Tip: Try to get as much prep-work done ahead of time.
Read through all your recipes and determine if there are any steps, or dishes you can prepare before the day of the event.
The morning of the dinner I baked the cake and prepared the white chocolate ganache which called for cocoa nibs.
While the cake was baking I took my sorbet puree out of the refrigerator, strained and froze it in the ice cream maker.
Next I worked on a little amouse-bouche prepping…
At lunch time I made the Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting and decorated the cake with the tinted White Chocolate Ganache.
A couple of hours before dinner I finished what was left of the prep work, took a shower and got ready for our guests to arrive.
Once all the guests were present, the birthday boy asked if he could open his gifts before we got started with dinner. Since it was a school night we didn’t want him to be up too much past dinner, we gave him the green light!
With presents out of the way the birthday boy was ready for dinner…
Dinner started off with an amuse-bouche of Pate served on Golden Toast Leaves with Aioli Garlic Mustard souce and an Italian Black Truffle Cheese and Sage Sphere rolled in Truffle Oil Toasted Puffed Rice.
The following course consisted of a delicious Beef Consommé.
Tip: Make sure you have a serving tray handy. This prevents you from making numerous trips to and from the kitchen while serving your guests.
After a delicious main course of Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb and Pappardelle in a Tomato Porcini sauce, everyone was treated to an Intermezzo of Organic Honey Crisp Apple and Organic Tosca Pear Sorbet which I chose to serve in little shot glasses. I wanted to make sure everyone saved room for dessert!
Organic Honey Crisp and Organic Tosca Pear Sorbet
1 ½ lbs diced apples and pears (approx 3 medium apples and 3 medium pears) Peeled, cored and diced
2 cups water
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup calvados prestige menorval france
Juice of 1 lime and ¼ teaspoon lime zest
Bring water and sugar to a gentile boil, about 6 minutes until it thickens slightly. Allow to syrup to come to room temperature.
Toss diced apples and pears in calvados and set aside.
Once syrup has cooled to room temperature, puree fruit and syrup in a food processor or blender until smooth. Place puree in the refrigerator overnight.
When ready to freeze strain and discard pulp. Stir in the lime juice and zest into the sorbet base. Then pour into your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Once everyone was done with their sorbet we chatted for a few minutes, then I gathered everyone around the table, brought the Chocolate Cake out and we sang Happy Birthday to the birthday boy.
Everyone had a magnificent time and couldn’t stop raving about the meal, especially the birthday boy! Before he went to bed he came to me and said… “Mom, this was the *best* birthday ever!” Sigh… mission accomplished!
Here is a quick recap of the diner menu and wine paring I put together.
Note: The children enjoyed a variety of sparkling juice pairings with their dishes.
Before we move on, I wanted to send a big hug and thank you to my dear friend Cindy of Southern California Power Boat Connection for sharing some of the pictures she took during the dinner!
Now to officially celebrate my advancement in the Project Food Blog Challenge and to celebrate Cookbook month! I’m giving away one of these…
This is truly an amazing book any wine lover would love. Although it isn’t a dessert cookbook, it is extremely comprehensive and has exceptional wine paring charts one of which is a fabulous dessert wine paring chart as well as sample menus and wine lists!
In order to be eligible to enter the contest:
For extra opportunities to win you can also do one or more of the following:
One (1) copy of Exploring Wine to be given away.
One (1) winner will be chosen at random for this giveaway.
Deadline to enter: Thursday October 7, 2010 11:59 PST
Winner announced: Friday October 8, 2010
A big thanks and shutout to Wiley for sponsoring this giveaway!
Can’t wait to work on the Photo Tutorial for you!! (Fingers crossed…)