Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Main Event

So Wednesday night's frantic evening of shopping for supplies, cooking one meal (to eat) and prepping the second totally paid off. The menu for the evening:

Hors d'oeuvre (which I actually had to look up the spelling of - turns out to be a word that I read much more than I write):
Cheese plate:
- St. Andres (probably my favorite of the triple cremes)
- Bucheron (an aged goat cheese)
- Aged Gouda (if you haven't tried this, you should)
- Fig cake (this replaced the more traditional crackers - I was first introduced to this by my brother, it's a very different taste, and one I really love)
- Wine: Navarro Vineyards 2004 Zinfandel (a really nice zin with a lot of fruit up front, and a strong, but not overwhelming finish - if you haven't tried their wines, I highly recommend them (you have to order direct, I've been on their mailing list for a bunch of years now and have never regretted it))

Main course:
- Jambalaya
- Sauteed spinach
- Wine: Malbec - terrible of me, but this was the wine that C brought and I recycled the bottle in a fit of cleaning. I don't remember what it was, but I liked it - it held up well to the spice of the Jambalya. (you'll see many more bottles on the table than are listed, this is what happens when you have generous friends)

- Flan/Creme Carmel
- Wine: Trentadue 2001 Viognier Port (This is a really unusual white port that I find works well with lighter desserts, I used to get their sample shipments as well when I lived in CA and am just waiting for the results of the new laws so that I can get them again)

The cheese course was put together by choosing three cheeses that I was in the mood for. I find that the St. Andres is just a really good standard cheese - everyone seems to like it. The other two offered enough variety to be interesting, but not enough danger to really risk having cheeses that people didn't like (and J, who is not a goat cheese fan, even said that the Bucheron wasn't bad for a goat - which is a high compliment). The fig cake went over well with 4/5 (hey, Trident considers that a success, so I do too).

For the Jambalaya, we were supposed to use L's friend Jill's recipe, but she didn't get it to us in time (it does seem to me that more people should be ready to say how high when I say jump). So we went for the fallback of epicurious. I have an entire shelf of cookbooks, and yet I find myself using epicurious more than anything else. L didn't love the recipe on the site ( though, so she changed it adding more spice (she and I both really like spicy food - something to keep in mind if you're ever invited over for dinner) and not doing the baking part (both of us have done a fair amount of cooking and we couldn't really figure out what the recipe said, so we decided to alter that part too).

The spinach was just sauteed with garlic and a little lemon. Some things really are best simple.

The flan/creme carmel (C is Mexican and so if it wasn't true flan, I had the out of saying it was Italian not Spanish/Latin - she liked it, so I needn't have worried) was a first time dish for me. I again went with epicurious: and this time followed it exactly. I thought it turned out quite well (both the one I had that night and the one I had the next night - the joys of having an odd number of people over for a dinner party when most recipes are for an even number).


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