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My Entertaining Season Begins


Marlene
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. . . I do have Russ' book, but not Paula's yet.  I've just read over Russ' recipe, which he admits to getting from Paula, and (please forgive me) but it sort of sounds like grits. :blink:

Damn. She figured it out.

Then polenta is not likely going to make it to my table. :raz: So I'm back to maybe soup and sides etc.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I should mention that some of the nibbles I plan to make for Saturday include:

jgm's cheddar cheese tartlets

From Martha Stewart's Hors D'oeuvres handbook:

grilled beef rolls with soy scallion dipping sauce

bleu cheese popovers

sweet peppered bacon bite.

I'm really tempted to try the carmel brie as well but probably not!

I'd like to perhaps do a mini platter of grilled brat slices etc with various mustards. Any thoughts?

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Polenta is NOT like grits. Honest. And I love grits too. Polenta is yummy, especially with the gravy goodness from short ribs.

Your nibbles sound great, but what is sweet peppered bacon bite??

I've done grilled sausage/brats and mustard for get togethers in the summer with great success (they seem to be inhaled quickly) but only do them if you have someone who can grill them a la minute when you're ready for them. They dry out fairly quickly I find.

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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I should mention that some of the nibbles I plan to make for Saturday include:

jgm's cheddar cheese tartlets

From Martha Stewart's Hors D'oeuvres handbook: 

grilled beef rolls with soy scallion dipping sauce

bleu cheese popovers

sweet peppered bacon bite.

I'm really tempted to try the carmel brie as well but probably not!

I'd like to perhaps do a mini platter of grilled brat slices etc with various mustards. Any thoughts?

These all sound wonderful, but maybe a bit heavy on the red meat with shortribs as the main course?

I think polenta also sounds like a perfect side, but if you don't know if you would like the polenta, what about risotto of some sort? Or maybe a puree of root veggies, like parsnips and potatoes?

I also think the charlottes sounds like a great idea. I was going to suggest somethiing fruity, maybe with pears, but apples would be great, too.

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Yes it probably is heavy on the red meat. (is there such a thing?). Maybe I'll keep the beef rolls and sausages for the cocktail party for the council.

Risotto! Now there's a thought. Simple, like the one we made for the Pig Pickin. Now where is that recipe?

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Ask Rachel Perlow. It was her gig.

I recommend against risotto for a crowd, though, personally. It has to be done at the last minute (risotto doesn't rest well) and large quantities are hard to keep ahead of with stirring. You can parcook it but you'll still have to finish it at the last minute.

However, risotto cakes (a larger version of arancini) might be delectable. I adore them.

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Marlene asked me that via PM too. Here's what I told her:

Risotto cakes: Make your risotto of choice, but make it less liquidy at the end so it's not quite so creamy. Add plenty of parm-regg while hot. Let it cool. Stir in a couple eggs (or egg yolks only for extra luxe). Put it in a pan and pat it out so it's even. Chill overnight, uncovered. The next day, cut into squares and roll in breadcrumbs. Let the cakes set in the fridge for an hour or so if you have time, uncovered, to dry out more. Pan-fry or you can probably just brush with lots of EVOO and bake if you need to do them all at once without standing over the stove.

I make both risotto and risotto cakes by "feel" rather than by following a written recipe, so I don't have one to post in RecipeGullet. Usually when I make risotto I just make extra and make some cakes outta them the next day. They make a great lunch or dinner with a spicy tomato sauce.

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Every time I enter this thread and have to scroll (a Freudian moment, I think---I just typed "scrool"--which is exactly what it is---a combination of scroll and drool) down past that enormous forest of chocolate---there's a tug at my tastebuds and at my wandering feet...it's hypnotic. Just to step up and wander into that sweet, rich darkness---the siren call is not to be resisted. Never has a food picture so beckoned; the moist velvet crumb and the satin frosting and the great height of that cakecliff; too much temptation altogether. :wub:

And I don't think I've ever even LIKED devil'sfood. But I'll keep coming back, looking my eyes full, until this entertaining season recedes into the dim past.

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I'm glad you liked the cake! :biggrin: Now, for Saturday, although they are calling for flurries here today, it is supposed to be a beautiful day on Saturday which of course turns my mind to the BBQ. So I'm tempted again to go with a Prime rib done on the spit, twice baked potatoes, either a tossed salad or butter browned beans with toasted pine nuts and the apple charlottes for dessert.

Of course, I've done prime rib to death, but hey, (said with all modesty) I do it well. Risotto is out because I've never made it before, and i'd like to give it a practice run before trying it on guests. There are some guests I wouldn't hesitate to experiment with, but not this Saturday :biggrin:

Decisions, decisions. Prime rib is a no brainer. Short ribs a little more adventerous.

For nibbles, certainly the cheddar cheese tartlets. I'm open on one or two other things.

The apple charlottes will be dependent on me being able to find some 8 oz ramekins today, otherwise, possibly creme brulee, which I've gotten much better at thanks to some terrific help from the pastry forum.

Votes?

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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About the risotto cakes - if you chill the risotto, then roll it into balls around a chunk of mozzarella, then breadcrumb it, you can deep fry them. They're wonderful like that - and Marlene has top-notch deep fryer as we know from her onion-flowers.

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I'm going to save the risotto and the risotto cakes until I can experiment on my family and close friends. This is probably not the dinner to be experimenting. So, tomorrow's menu:

Nibbles:

cheddar cheese tartlets

blue cheese popovers

Grilled beef rolls with scallion dipping sauce or maybe bruschetta

Prime rib done on the spit

twice baked potatoes

tossed salad or roasted asparagus?

crusty baquette

Apple Charlottes

selection of cheeses

coffee or tea.

How does that sound?

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Sounds great, Marlene. Of course, the important question is "How does it taste?"

I say go with the asparagus, roasted, or if you wish, chilled with a mayonnaise dressing.

I find the combination of differents cheeses on your menu, the word "nibbles" and your "cat" avatar to be rather peculiar to me. :blink:

BTW, I wouldn't mind if you change your mind and make the creme brulee instead. How are your torching skills?

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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Meow.

Actually I say nibbles because I can never spell Hors D'ouvres without looking it up.

I am going for the roasted asparagus. Whole Foods had some really nice ones today.

I'm going to do the apple charlottes, because I went out yesterday specifically to buy ramekins, and I made my husband stop at the LCBO for apple brandy, so I don't dare not make them, but creme brulee makes a regular appearance here because my husband and son both love it. And my torching skills aren't too bad, although my husband's are much better than mine.

For some reason, he doesn't trust me with an open flame in my hand. :blink:

I can make a lot of this ahead which is what I'm doing today. The twice baked potatoes have been baked and filled and are ready for the oven tomorrow. I've got the dough chilling for the cheddar cheese tartlets which I'll make shortly, and the batter is chilling for the popovers. Making ahead is a good thing, since I've never made most of this stuff before, and I need all the time I can get in case I screw it up!

I think I can even make the grilled tenderloin things ahead and then just reheat them in the oven, although if someone has Martha's book handy they could double check that for me and tell me if I'm out of my mind. That will be my project for tonight, along with making the charlottes tonight.

That way, tomorrow I just have to clean up and set the table.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I understand the open flame thing. Did I ever tell you about the time I set the napkins on fire while I was supposed to torching the brulee and plating dessert???? :shock: Don't let that jinx you tho' :biggrin:

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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Just a quick thought on popovers, which we discovered by accident when playing in the test kitchen. I've now used them countless times, and they are really easy to vary.

In experimenting with popover dough, we tried used a mini muffin pan and creating little savory bites by putting cubes of cheese (small dice) and fresh herbs in the individual cups of batter just before they went into the oven. We literally found a slew of possibilities for these, from savory to sweet.

I've used them as hors d'oeuvres, accompaniments to cheese courses, and, um, a couple of batches to do..."taste tests." :smile: My favorite combination is the Asiago and thyme pairing.

If you want some ideas you can see them here (there is a link in the recipe to cheese/herb combinations).

P.S. Jake, every woman should have a blow torch. :biggrin: I don't think I've ever set napkins on fire, but that image is hilarious!

Edited by Jennifer Iannolo (log)

Jennifer L. Iannolo

Founder, Editor-in-Chief

The Gilded Fork

Food Philosophy. Sensuality. Sass.

Home of the Culinary Podcast Network

Never trust a woman who doesn't like to eat. She is probably lousy in bed. (attributed to Federico Fellini)

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Just a quick thought on popovers, which we discovered by accident when playing in the test kitchen. I've now used them countless times, and they are really easy to vary.

In experimenting with popover dough, we tried used a mini muffin pan and creating little savory bites by putting cubes of cheese (small dice) and fresh herbs in the individual cups of batter just before they went into the oven. We literally found a slew of possibilities for these, from savory to sweet.

I've used them as hors d'oeuvres, accompaniments to cheese courses, and, um, a couple of batches to do..."taste tests."  :smile:  My favorite combination is the Asiago and thyme pairing.

If you want some ideas you can see them here (there is a link in the recipe to cheese/herb combinations).

P.S. Jake, every woman should have a blow torch.  :biggrin: I don't think I've ever set napkins on fire, but that image is hilarious!

I love doing that with popovers! :wub::wub: They may end up on the menu for tomorrow night now that you've reminded me.

I really liked those napkins, too. :laugh::laugh: Note to self, limit the intake of alcoholic beverages before torching. :sad:

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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In experimenting with popover dough, we tried used a mini muffin pan and creating little savory bites by putting cubes of cheese (small dice) and fresh herbs in the individual cups of batter just before they went into the oven. We literally found a slew of possibilities for these, from savory to sweet.

I'm thinking bacon, not cheese. But, there's not much that doesn't go with bacon. IMHO, at least.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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It was a lovely dinner. We started with nibbles:

Grilled beef rolls with soy scallion dipping sauce:

gallery_6080_2064_11823.jpg

Cheddar cheese tartlets and blue cheese popovers:

gallery_6080_2064_56096.jpg

gallery_6080_2064_47170.jpg

The beef rolls and the tartlets were outstanding. While my guests loved the popovers, Don and I really felt they were "lacking" something. I'd like to experiment with a few different things in the batter nex time.

Dinner was:

Twice Baked Potatoes with a cheese and bacon filling:

gallery_6080_2064_15657.jpg

Yes, yes. Yet another prime rib picture from my kitchen:

gallery_6080_2064_79415.jpg

gallery_6080_2064_41334.jpg

Roasted Aparagus with Balsamic vinegar and shaved parmesan:

gallery_6080_2064_34306.jpg

And thanks to some last minute coaching from maggie the cat, I made a red wine-port reduction sauce to go with the beef:

gallery_6080_2064_17773.jpg

Dessert was the most excellent Apple Charlottes. I found these ramekins to make them in:

gallery_6080_2047_27008.jpg

gallery_6080_2064_8906.jpg

gallery_6080_2064_5104.jpg

I skipped the cheese course at the end, because, well, we just didn't need it!

We did have special coffees:

gallery_6080_2064_26794.jpg

With these ingredients:

gallery_6080_2064_45431.jpg

Next week, the big Seasonal party! I don't think I really need to eat between now and then. :blink:

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Those charlottes look...sexy. :smile:

Jake/Barbara -- let the man within take over the blow torch. HAHAHA!! I've learned the hard way not to touch any fermented beverages until dinner is served. :biggrin:

Bacon is also a yummy idea. (Everything tastes better with bacon.)

Jennifer L. Iannolo

Founder, Editor-in-Chief

The Gilded Fork

Food Philosophy. Sensuality. Sass.

Home of the Culinary Podcast Network

Never trust a woman who doesn't like to eat. She is probably lousy in bed. (attributed to Federico Fellini)

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Cheddar cheese tartlets and blue cheese popovers:

gallery_6080_2064_56096.jpg

gallery_6080_2064_47170.jpg

... While my guests loved the popovers, Don and I really felt they were "lacking" something.  I'd like to experiment with a few different things in the batter nex time.

I know what''s "lacking" in those popovers: QUANTITY, Marlene. QUANTITY!

The only thing I could think of is bacon bits. Wait! You did put bacon bits in there, ehh? Or some more seasoning: parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme ...

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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