Sunday, January 04, 2009

Culinary Adventure

I had the pleasure of enjoying another lovely dinner party last night. It's always such a culinary adventure when you sit down to a collaborated table of fellow 'foodie' folks. Thankfully, most of last nights dinner was a wild success. I have chosen to spare you from two very horrific dishes that basically sent a couple people packing! I know that just sounds terrible, but, desperate situations do call for desperate measures. We are in the process of recreating our little gourmet group to mostly ensure that the new and current members are all on the same page...

The theme of last night's dinner was quite creative. A few weeks ago, we decided to try something that Top Chef did one season. Into little bowls, we put pieces of paper with words having to do with courses, ingredients, colors, and emotions or traits. Then we all proceeded to draw four times and ended up with a drawing board for the dishes we had to come up with. For example, I drew: appetizer, yellow, domineering, and peppers. For my second dish, I drew: amuse bouche, maroon, amorous, and citrus. Sounds like fun, right? It was a bit challenging to hammer out all the details, but in the end I was mostly pleased with what I came up with.

Now for the dishes...

This is my appetizer. I decided to do a Seasoned Crostini with Broiled Fresh Mozzarella, Roasted Yellow Peppers, Balsamic Reduction, and Fleur De Sel.

For the amuse bouche, I did a Petite Beet Napoleon. In between the slices of roasted beet, I piped a whipped goat cheese filling. The sauces around the outside are beet oil, balsamic vinegar, and a orange reduction. I found some micro-greens that resembled little hearts so that covered amorous.

The wonderful founder of our group, Mallory, fell in love with this little split and woody root top. It is pretty darn cute.

Here is a darling little bowl of Cajun Rock Shrimp Pasta contributed by Mallory. It was ferociously spicy and I loved it. The sauce was very silky and coated each spaghetti almost like a carbonara. Oh, here's something that might surprise you: the sauce had some unusual ingredients, one being honey. Interesting, right? It added a lovely complexity.

Onto the main course, Ashley, our lovely host, made a Roasted Salmon Fillet with a Blueberry-Balsamic Sauce. I loved the concept of this dish. I recently made salmon with a blackberry-brandy sauce so it was fun to revisit the idea and compare. The tiny blueberries were so precious and dainty, I first wondered if they were huckleberries. Very tasty and gorgeous, right?

To accompany Ashley's salmon, she made a most-heavenly Twice-Baked Potato with Caramelized Shallots and Havarti. It was oozing with cheese and cooked to perfection. Don't you just want to dive into the screen and taste it? It was a white potato with pillowy insides and the skin was oiled and tanned... it was wonderful!

Alright, this little baby doesn't really even need words. Are you not crippled with awe as you look at this dessert? I was! It is colorful, dreamy, and BEAUTIFUL. Mallory drew dessert and am I ever glad she did, if you look through her blog you will see why. I just adore the presentation of this dish with the textures of pistachios, rose petal, and gold dust. The contrast of colors between the peachy salmon petal and magenta sauce is just visually stunning. It was almost too pretty to eat. After this long introduction, I will tell you what it actually was. It was a Pistachio-Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Hand-picked Raspberry Sauce. I'm inspired, are you?


tina said...

Shell, you should know. I would pay some SERIOUS money to eat that dinner. It looks AH-MA-ZING!!!!!! MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!! and BEUAITUL! WOW!!

RachelleLouise said...

Oh, thank you friend! I'm glad you think our food looks ah-maz-ing! You would roll over and die if you saw the two dishes from the other members. It's such an adventure being in a group like that, the dynamics and situations that arise can be quite comical and odd. Anyway, thanks for the comment 'dahling'!