There are leftovers to be had from my brother's Departure Party. SO MUCH leftovers! Everyone stuffed themselves silly, imbibing delicious wine and seasonal beer and having a relaxed time. Here is what we ate to silliness...
some tj italian salami, candied pecans, crackers, and walnut-date crostini
French Cow's Milk Cheese Plate:
b. St. Agur Blue Cheese
c. (crap, i don't remember the name. something really frenchy)
*oh my god, st.agur blue cheese is amazing. it's a double creme blue cheese. when the silverlake cheese monger gave me a piece of this i just want to melt. i think it was also the most expensive at $35. it's so much fun shopping for cheese (at a cheese store) bc you get to try so many different cheeses. just go into a cheese store and ask for their help and opinion. and many cheese samples will come your way.
[blurry warm picholines and almonds]
Warm Picholine Olives & Almonds
*this is from Lucques restaurant. whole foods was out of lucques olives so I subbed picholine, which worked great. I really like the meaty texture and juiciness of picholines. the best part of making this dish was when i combined the hot toasted almonds to a bowl of marinating olives (olive oil, thyme), and off went the crackling!
Goat Cheese Mousse on Walnut-Date Crostini
*this recipe is adapted from the French Laundry website. i used an 8oz trader joe's garlic and herb goat cheese. and i picked up an extra 4oz of french goat cheese at the silverlake cheese store in order to double the recipe i added this dish last minute so i had to pick up a few extra items. luckily the cheese store was selling bread that day, supposedly their first batch, and i didn't have to make a separate trip. the bread was delicious. although a super simple dish, it was a big hit.
Sun-Dried Tomato Polenta with Mushroom Ragu
*this is adapted from giada's (everyday italian) recipe. i cooked 2 lbs total of cremini and button mushrooms with thyme, rosemary, garlic, dry marsala, and sherry vinegar. i added a drizzle of white truffle oil off the heat and it really gave that extra vavoom to the dish. giada's recipe did not call for any herbs. :P wth, i say pooey to that. her food is really uninteresting but it's still useful to get a general proportion for things. i think polenta always needs more salt then what the recipe calls for. first batch was a little bit bland but i fixed that by sprinkling some kosher salt before i broiled them. i shaved a bit of pecorino after i topped the polenta squares with a small spoonful of the mushrooms. even mushroom haters loved this dish.
*next was this delectable, cheesy ham and cheese sandwich. just watching the cheese bubble under the broiler was almost unbearable. it was a beautiful sight. i used black forest ham in this. why? bc i was at costco and that was what they had. i would prefer to use thin slices of french ham. god, it was soo good. anything with that much cheese can't be bad. the aroma of the browned cheese is amazing. one thing i would do differently next time is to toast the bread a little bit more before assembly. i have an electric stove so the heats not always even. the bread should have been a light golden brown.
lamb on a beautiful disposable plate :)
Rosemary-Dijon Rack of Lamb
*finally, we got to the meat dish. since this event was supposed to be centered around finger foods, i served these sliced up on a big platter with a beautiful green dollop of pistou on each one. delicious.
Truffle Brownies and Chocolate Truffles
*finally, finally, the desesrt. i got the truffle brownies from town & country bakery and made the truffle. when i tried to roll the truffle into a ball, quickly, it kept melting into my hands! with the addition of coffee, vanilla and grand marnier (barefoot contessa recipe) these truffles came to life. unfortunately they almost killed a few people with their easily breathable powdered sugar and cocoa. desserts are definitely not my specialty but i still had fun making these.
At the end of the night, I served a few bottles of Cristalino Cava. Another noteworthy drink of the night was Anchor Brewing's winter ale. So frickin good. A nice touch of spice but not overwhelming, balanced with a good amount of hops.
I really had fun planning and executing this event. I think this is my biggest production to date. My brother left today for the South Pole. I hope he left with some memories of good food and fun people. Have a good trip!