Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Little French Flavor At My House

I had my friends P and S over for dinner last night. It had taken us a while to find a date that worked for us, but it finally happened. I was running a little late (due to that rather extended Amy Ruth's lunch), but I managed to mostly be ready on time. And I did have a cheese plate ready to go to cover my lack of perfect timing.

For the cheese plate, I had chosen:
  • L'Edel de Celeron
  • 5 Year Aged Gouda
  • Manchego
  • Maytag Blue

I thought it worked well as a combination of flavors, textures, etc. (I did have a slight problem though in the my crackers were 'off', but it was sort-of like a corked wine where you aren't really sure, but luckily I had another box, which were fine, and we continued on with our evening.) We started with a 2005 Morgon, Sarl Marcel Lapierre which was nice.

A little later than planned, we sat down for our appetizer. I had made Epicurious' Twice-Baked Goat Cheese Souffle on a bed of Greens. I made a sherry vinegar vinagrette for the greens and put the cream mentioned in the recipe on the souffle. It tasted good, but I feel like I could have done a better job on the presentation. We moved on to a 2003 Cote Chalonnaise La Digoine, at that point which I really liked and that I thought worked well with the souffle.

For the main course, I went with Beef Bourguignon. I used the recipe from Bourdain's Les Halles cookbook (I don't want to copy his whole cookbook on this blog (I used his mussels with white wine last week), but highly (!) recommend it as a great cookbook). I will say that his recipe called for 4 onions, I cut up 3 large, but it really looked like too much, so I only used about 2 - I can't really imagine that he meant 4 large onions. I did follow his recommendation that a couple of spoonfuls of demi-glace would improve the dish; I don't know if that's what did it, but (with all modesty) it was fantastic - it was really rich, with a huge depth of flavor, the meat and the carrots were both incredibly tender. We all had seconds (the recipe says it serves 6, but with just 3 of us, we almost finished it all). I paired it with some Parpadelle Egg Noodles which worked well.

Our final wine was a 1997 Vincent Girardin Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru, which really was amazing - and worked well with the Beef.

I finished up with creme brulee (since I love it so much - and, if nothing else, I figured that the guys would have fun helping to torch the top). I used the recipe for this from Bourdain as well (I consider myself somewhat of a creme brulee expert and this is the best recipe that I've found for it - though I did just hear that the Balthazar cookbook might have one that could be competitive).

I paired the creme brulee with my last bottle of the 2001 Trentadue Vigonier Port - which just works so well with this type of creamy dessert.


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