Here's a great meal I had the honor to help prepare at a friend's house. He and I both let the seasonal produce dictate the menu planning.
This time, he got most of the ingredients for the meal and I got the invitation.
See if there is something in here you'd like to cook or find on a menu somewhere. Make sure these items are in season when reading!
First up was a delicious mixture of lima and fava beans, pre-cooked golden beets, and shallots used as a spread on sliced baguette pieces, topped with pea and corn shoots dressed with a little salt and olive oil. The corn shoots are the first sprouts from the kernel offering an explosive sweetness of corn, along with a mild hint of anise. Don't pass these up at the farmer's market.
Next up was one of my contributions to the meal: Roasted peppers encircling an inner mixture of tomatoes, chickpeas, and chopped red onion and fennel. Topped with tahini-infused greek yogurt and pea shoots. The idea for this came from a French recipebook given to me recently as a gift. The gift-bearer was present for the meal and fortunately, she approved.
Parisian menus feature many instances of apps in a glass which I enjoyed downloading with French wine on a recent trip. It's a great way to force some portion control while improving the presentation.
Our salad featured the farmer's market bounty: powerful radishes balanced with chunks of hard cow's cheese (forget name) from Georgia, tomatoes, and field greens. The salad was dressed with the bistro vinaigrette that I learned from Thomas Keller's Bouchon cookbook. Bright and delicious.
The wine: an excellent 2007 Chardonnay from Reynolds Family Winery. Not your typical butter basted CA Chardonnay, but acidic, citrus notes evenly balanced with hints of oak, vanilla. It paired exceptionally well with the bruschetta first course.
The main course did not disappoint (but I should have eaten half of what was served - I couldn't stop myself). It was smoked salmon served with a GA made black pepper pasta, enoki mushrooms, and grated romano cheese. Served with fresh sauted squash and onions. Very comforting dish.
Dessert (not shown): a wonderful buttermilk panna cotta served with a drizzle of honey, blackberries, and pieces of mint.
It was great to be a co-pilot for the meal. No pressure! And no hassles cooking in someone else's kitchen. I've written about the challenges when not cooking in your kitchen before and I'm happy to say I followed those rules.
Get inspired and get cooking! I'd love to see what versions you make.
More photos from the set 'Food @ Home': http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidmarcel/sets/72157606440373672/
Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/atl10trader