Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Friends Christmas Dinner - 2008

Every Christmas season, Chessa and I like to have one big dinner party. We normally don't go any higher than 14 total people because that's all the pot de creme pots that I have and all of our dinners finish with pot de creme (a favorite dessert of ours). This year, we got a bit aggressive and had 20 people for dinner. We had to sit everyone in three rooms and we hired Finley to stand at the sink and wash dishes all night so that we could quickly turn out each course. It was fun. We really enjoyed trying to painfully stuff everyone.

I normally like to try to get people to try something that they haven't had before. One year, we did truffle infused custards with shaved black truffles and chive chips. Another year, we had sauted baby octopus... But we kept it fairly calm this time around. The menu went as follows:

Black sesame cornets filled with smoked salmon tartare and whipped dill cream cheese or tomato tartare with shallots, basil and creme fraiche

Yukon gold blinis with eggplant caviar and sweet roasted red and yellow peppers

Spicy Artichoke Soup with handmade artichoke ravioli and Croatian cold pressed olive oil (I bought this oil from an old lady selling it from her cart in the heart of Dubrovnik. She pressed the oil herself at her family's mill). It was dang good.

Kalmata Olive and Rosemary Bread

Roasted Kabocha (Japanese Pumpkin) Ravioli with butter glazed brussels sprouts with brown butter, sage and amaretti crumbs.

Cara Cara Orange Rolls (Chessa made these dessert-like rolls... They are awesome!)

Tilapia cakes (supposed to be cod cakes... but no one can tell) with sauteed tilapia, clam chowder vegetables and parsely oil

Pomegranate Sorbet with a Kiwi Jus (Brittney Gharring made this... went great with the sorbet)

Beef Tenderloin with Caramelized French Shallots on Crimini Mushrooms and Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Fresh Micro Greens (my new favorite find at Trader Joes)

Triple-Cream French Cows Milk Cheese "Le Delice de Bourgogne" with fresh Orange Blossom Honeycomb, Turkish Figs, Blackberries and Red D'Anjou Pears

Passion Fruit Pot de Creme

Petite Meyer Lemon Chesse Cakes with Fresh Blueberries


It was fun plating up all these dishes. Chessa and Brittney Gharring were a big help in the kitchen (We acutally like to involve everyone platting these courses up). Brittney took these amazing pictures. It was fun, we only wish we could have invited more people. Our house isn't big enough and I need to buy more dishes....

I'll post the recipes as soon as I figure out how to post them on a different page.

Here are some of the pictutres. The rest of the images can be viewed here.

Chelsea Gharring preparing the sesame cornets with salmon tartare and tomatoe tartare

The "cones" ready to go in a jalapeno roaster (I bought this piece just for these cornets)....

Weighing out the potato puree for the blinis

Blini batter (these are the smoothest potato pancakes that you've ever tasted)

Yukon Gold Blini with Eggplant Caviar and Sweet Roasted Peppers

Spicy Artichoke Soup with Artichoke Ravioli

Finley and Maddyn helping make the pasta dough

Maddyn "painting" the pasta dough with water to seal the ravioli


Brussels Sprouts poaching in water and butter


My daughter Maddyn loves helping me make these Pumpkin Ravioli. The sweetness of the pumpkin goes perfectly with the slightly bitter taste of the brussels sprouts

Cara Cara Orange Glaze

Chessa's Cara Cara Orange Rolls. (our favorite orange)

Parsley Oil filtering through cheese cloth
Jon Billings being a bit "creative" with the parsely oil...

It's tough with only four burners... We need a bigger stove.

Sauteed Tilapia with Tilapia Cakes, Chowder Vegetables and Parsley Oil

Pomegranate Sorbet with Kiwi Jus


Sauteing the Shallots

Beef Tenderloin with caramelized shallots and roasted garlic mashed potatoes

The "fromage" course... I was excited to find the honey comb from the farmers market. The figs were cool too.

Passion Fruit Pot de Creme. We need to find more of these lidded pots.

Chessa's petite Meyer Lemon Cheese Cake. Perfect bite size dessert.

My cheat sheet... I love getting to the end of the menu!

Look at all of the beautiful women that I got to cook for....

4 comments:

Michael said...

Wow, wow, and more wow. You've got a gift, sir.

brit.brit.brit said...

seriously. i mean seriously. quit your day job. AND OPEN A FLIPPIN RESTAURANT. and just serve amuses.temecula won't know what hit em. they need a posh restaurant already.
come on..i'll do all the marketing and photography..?? hey maybe i'll even take a class or two and really learn to use this camera.

thanks SO much for letting me crowd the kitchen and watch the madness. you truly are UHmazing

ShOrt StoRy said...

amazing, beautiful and delish! Thank you.

~Dana said...

Lucky Ladies!!!!