Last night we had Suzann, Bill, Linda and Steve over for dinner. It was a great group, and I planned it so I actually got a chance to sit down and enjoy my guests.
First, I set the table ahead of time and decided, since we were such a small group, to serve the meal family style. Also, I went super easy on the appetizers, which just left the salad and corn, and lighting the candles (Tim handled the main dish) as last minute items.
Our original menu included chips and salsa and a bowl of olives to much on, but at the last minute we decided to leave them off as we had more than enough food. Instead we just opened a container of pub cheese from Trader Joes (TJ’s), some herbed goat cheese, a box of wheat thins and I sliced up the stag salami we got in London at the Borough Street Market while we were on holiday this summer. I finished that off with a plate of green and black grapes with a sprinkling of strawberries for additional color. Alternating the grapes on the plate made the fruit look nice and gave it an additional panache.
For the main event Tim cooked sirloin steaks with a new rub we found in Food Magazine and we served it with individual ramekins of the accompany steak sauce, both of which went over well. I axed the twice baked potatoes, mainly because I remembered them too late and also because we didn’t need them. There was plenty to eat with the fresh green salad (which I topped with sliced beets from TJ’s, carrots, homegrown tomatoes from a friend, red bell pepper and mushrooms) and corn on the cob. I cooked the corn in the microwave, tossing the ears whole the way they come off the plant silk and all. Two ears take about three minutes. Lastly I made fantail rolls from scratch, which we served with butter.
For dessert everyone joined me in the kitchen as I whipped up fresh whipped cream which was spread on top of the Chocolate Pavolva followed by a generous sprinkling of raspberries. I also served a blueberry and lemon marmalade infused with a hint of lavender loose form tart. The tart was my own spin off something I saw on TV and it was delicious! We offered vanilla ice cream for those that wanted it. It was a wonderful meal and a spectacular dinner because we shared great food with great friends. That’s the winning combination!
1/4 cup ancho chile powder
1 1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Whisk everything in a bowl. Pull steak out of refrigerator about 20 minutes before you want to grill it. Sprinkle rub on one side of steak and let sit. Grill rub side down. (Food Network Magazine June 2010, page 149)
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup whole grain mustard
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl, cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving. (Food Network Magazine June 2010, page 149)
Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova
(Food Network Magazine June 2010, page 140)
Blueberry Tart with Lemon Marmalade infused with Lavender
Preheat oven to 400. Defrost 1 sheet of puff pastry. Once the pastry is defrosted roll it out on a very lightly dusted cutting board. Transfer pastry to a parchment lined baking sheet. Spread a good amount of marmalade in the center and as far out as the blueberries will go. Mound blueberries in center. Sprinkle with a dash of tapioca and some sugar. Fold up the edges of the pastry and brush with water, sprinkling with sugar afterwards. Bake for 30 minutes or until pastry is cooked. Cool.