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Scallops For Dinner

M invited me over for dinner the other night, and how could I refuse. She always makes the bestest and fanciest meals! I wanted to bring her something, so I brought her some chestnuts. M had never made chestnuts before, so she quickly looked up some info online, and ended up roasting them in the oven. After scoring them, she drizzled some oil over them and then let them bake. To make sure they would get cooked all the way through, while they were cooking, we added some water to help them steam. They ended up great! While some of them were a pain in the butt to peel, they tasted delicious.

We started off with a citrus and beet salad. She also made the dressing. Who makes dressing?  Delicious, as usual.

For the main entree, we had seared scallops with a buerre blanc. The buerre blanc included shallots and fennel and white wine vinegar, so it was extremely tangy. The scallops were cooked really well, still somewhat rare on the inside, and the buerre blanc was perfect with them. We also had a side of parmesan polenta and wilted spinach. I have a weird attitude towards spinach. I love raw spinach in salads, but I’ve always disliked cooked spinach. That’s why I was so surprised to enjoy this wilted spinach. I wouldn’t necessarily want to eat this all the time, but it was good! See that, I’m still growing.

For dessert, F brought a beautiful little square layered cake. I don’t know what all the layers were, but the cake was incredibly rich and delicious. It was another great dinner with great friends. Thanks M!

First Dinner Party Of 2010

I headed up to the far burbs for the first dinner party of 2010 at N’s house. There are 5 cats in that house, most are unfriendly. There’s a lot of N’s art all around the house. Naturally, as she’s an artist. What’s a dinner party without cheese and crackers? And grapes! I ate an unfairly large share of these grapes.

There was tons to eat. Bread, with butter and nutella! Little tiny crab cakes with a remoulade. A made those. Some little phyllo dough puff things filled with spinach.

Garlic broccoli, and some random flatbread type of stuff.

Rice and some dip for the flatbread!

There was even a warming tray to keep the food hot! Hello chicken marsala! Hello veggies! And hello veggie ravioli! A made the ravioli too. It was all freakin delicious. I loved all the red and white dishes too, they were adorably old school.

For dessert, a ginormous fruit tart! It wasn’t much of a tart, it ended up being pretty much just a cake with fruit on top, but it was still quite tasty. We ended up trying to play this game, Quelf, later on in the evening, but it wasn’t so easy. There were too many people and too many of them were drunk, so game playing proved quite difficult. But we’ll have to give it a shot another time. Thanks N for the lovely party!

New Year’s Eve Five Course Dinner

2009 new year’s eve was a lovely affair with a five course meal generously provided by M and E.  I have trouble making one course meals, but M always goes all out providing course after course of fanciness. Starting off, we had various appetizers, such as these adorable salmon and cream cheeses with caper eyes. These were brought by a guest and were quite adorable and delicious. The older daughter put these eyes on.

There were also cocktails, cheese logs topped with sunflower seeds, and a red pepper dip w/crudites. I loved these pretzel chips.

Next up was a red lentil soup with firey black pepper oil. The soup was delicious! The black pepper totally gets you in the throat in the first spoonful or two, but then lets up nicely.

The entree was dark meat chicken wrapped around chicken mousse and some more white meat chicken, topped with a heavy cream sauce and fennel, and served with leeks, carrots, and green beans. Everything was excellent! Chicken mousse? Too fancy for words! The cream sauce is lick-the-plate worthy!

Next up a was a super heavy cheese plate (roquefort, brie, gouda) along with candied walnuts with a port wine reduction. I couldn’t get enough of these nuts! So damn good! We had a couple of french natives dining with us. The proper way to cut brie is to cut it vertically. To cut it horizontally is sacrilegious. So take heed! When cutting brie, cut it lengthwise!

Remember the flambeed bananas? E made them again for this party. Here’s what they look like before we lit them on fire.

There’s something about cooked bananas that I just love. It brings out the sweetness even more and after the cognac burns off with the flames, it just leaves a nice caramel taste. The ice cream is the perfect contrast. And the bacon… well, who doesn’t love bacon?

We also got to nibble on some homemade cookies that M made. Yes, she actually made these. From scratch. With her bare hands. Unbelievable! They tasted like thin mints on crack and looked professionally made! Thanks again!

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