Monday, February 23, 2009

Bon Appétit

As you might have read in the last post, the theme for our gourmet group's most recent dinner was French Love. How appropriate, right? To tell you the truth, I couldn't have been more thrilled! You will notice a theme with these three most recent posts, France. I am pretty much just obsessed with France, Paris, and everything in between. No, I haven't been, and it hurts! Someday...

I feel the need to update you about the Gourmet Group. About a month and a half ago, I shared that we had devised a way to out the the last two poor lil misfits. Well of course, it worked. But then we were back to the drawing board looking for more members. After a very direct and blunt Craigslist ad about what we are and aren't looking for, we've gotten some more potential members. We snagged two already and will get together with a few more potential members soon. One of the 'newbies' is the precious Ashley (pastry chef) from over at Artisan Sweets and she is an absolutely divine addition to the group. She is about to unveil a new site and I will be sure to update you of the change when she does. The other addition is Catie who is a sweetheart and fellow cooking enthusiast. I will fill you in on the others when I know more.

Alright, so I hosted this last dinner which took place on Friday night. I had such a fun time decorating the table and trying to make my apartment feel very Valentines-y. I actually love the way all of these photos look. I think they give a true sense of the evening, even if they were taken in low light and that isn't always so desirable. I owe a big thank you to the lovely Mallory for so graciously allowing me to use her pictures for this post. Thanks, lady! I really appreciate it because as I was scurrying around getting things together I didn't have much time to take pictures! Okay, enough of an introduction, let's just get into it already!

I made each of the girls a giant heart sugar cookie. They are sickly sweet and I hope the girls paced themselves! I do love them though!

Here is my cocktail offering which I have named, La Vie en Rose. It was just a simple mix of Prosecco and Rosewater. Though I must say that I was a bit disappointed to find that the rosewater I purchased really didn't taste too rosy after all. I've got to find some rosewater that is much more potent. Still, a fitting little drink to start the night off.

If you guessed that this next little cutie of a bite is croque monsieur, then you would be right! Mallory contributed hors d'oeuvres for the night and brought along this utterly scrumptious appetizer. The bread, she made her own brioche. When she arrived at my place, she was a bit disgusted because apparently earlier in the day her Pug managed to get up on the table and eat the loaf she had perfected and had ready for the dinner! So she had to quickly make a second batch. All the resting... and rising... I'm glad she did it because it was worth it!

I'm guessing it's been awhile since you've seen a composed salad as lovely as this. Ashley R. had first course and brought this beautiful salad with butter lettuces, watercress, shaved fennel, walnuts, dill, and a heavenly bleu cheese from the local fromagerie. The salad was so light and complex with the simple arrangement of quality ingredients. I loved the presentation!

Here's the entree course and the Beef Bourguignon I wrote about earlier today. It is nestled by a mound of my Joël Robuchon potato puree and a spinach and pepper gratin that Catie brought. I think it looks like a pretty elegant plate, if I do say so myself!

Ooh, la, la for Lillet. Ashley R. introduced us to something after the dinner that I will be eternally grateful to her for. I loved it so much that I am going to write about it in a post all to itself after this. It's an enriched wine aperitif from France of course, loaded with sweet flavors and to be served chilled. She served it to us on the rocks with slices of supremed Blood Oranges. A delight indeed.

Ashley S., who's been a member from the start brought dessert and sticking to the french theme made a wonderful creme brulee for us all. A truly lovely way to end the night. Creamy, rich, and with a perfect crispy, brown glass layer to knock through with your spoon. Well done!

This really was an enchanting, french soiree shared with the gourmet gals! I know I thoroughly enjoyed myself, I hope the other mademoiselles did too!

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