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Monday, October 13, 2008

Mike's 50th Birthday

Friday we went to Beresan Winery to put on dinner for 16 guests celebrating Mike's 50th birthday. Winemaker Tom played host (and dj, keeping the kitchen hoppin' with everything from Cake to Dr. Dre) while we bombarded the guests with appetizers; five flavors to be exact.

- Cheese stuffed risotto balls with sun dried tomato dip
- Pan fried scallop cake with sriracha mayo (pictured below)
- Baguette slice with pork rillette, dijon, thyme
- Crostini with beef ragu and parmesan
- Belgian endive spears with goat cheese mousse and pecan gremolata

Then we served the guests family style (my new favorite way to serve guests, a decidedly unfussy, communal, and convivial way to enjoy a meal). A simple salad of local greens, veggies, and champagne vinaigrette. For the main course we roasted Fehrenbacher Farm's Leg of Lamb, made some creamy polenta, roasted rutabegas, carrots, and beets, and built some vegetable gratins.

Of course I didn't get a picture of the lamb!!! Server Morgan's only real job all night (!) was to remind me to take a picture of the lamb/roasted vegetable platter, and she forgot. So this is the best we got, a lonesome carving in some sauce back in the kitchen.

New Favorite Things:
  • I have roasted leg of lamb for lots of parties, and this was far and away the best. Same process as before, couple of days of marinating, a dijon, garlic, herb, salt paste on the outside. But this time I brushed the legs the last five minutes with a wine/honey/herb/pepper reduction that put the whole thing over the top. A bottle of Waterbrook Melange reduced to about two tablespoons, mixed with honey, then dijon and rosemary when cooled, and a pinch of pepper. Jammy, syrupy, intense wine fruit, an incredible red meat glaze.

  • Scallop cakes. The guests couldn't get enough. Tom called them "money". Served them the next night and a guest proclaimed it to be the best appetizer she has 'ever' eaten (that may be a bit extreme). Chopped sea scallops, super fine mince of serrano pepper, chopped cilantro, minced shallot, dollop of mayo, and panko bread crumbs are all mixed together. Then formed into a patty coating with more panko, then pan fried. The sriracha mayo is just mayo mixed with enough sriracha to color nicely with a bit of a spicy kick.

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