the invitations read, and I wish you all could have been there. I honestly wish everyone I know could come to every party we have - but alas I only have two arms, and to be honest, I barely made it out of this one alive. This was the largest dinner party I have tackled singlehandedly, and despite one major cooking disaster and a few small ones, I think we pulled it off. Everyone seemed to have a good time - and most of the plates came back to the kitchen clean but for the bones.
Above: Sparkling Wine (Roederer and Domaine Carneros) and Blackberry Caipirinhas made with Leblon Cachaca
Below: left to right - Crostini, Pickled Cherries, Andante Triple Cream Cheese, Fra'mani Salumetto, White Bean Hummus, olives, and fried capers (that didn't turn out so great.)
After cocktails and appetizers, everyone was given a cup of chilled Ajoblanco - Spanish almond and garlic soup, and encouraged to find a place at the table, where their wine pairing - a Portuguese Vinho Verde - was waiting. Around that time I also pulled the gougeres from the oven, so they were paired with the soup instead of passed with the cocktails, which worked out well, actually.
The main course was served family style - James took the platter around and doled out portions of baby back ribs (Vande Rose Duroc pork procured at Hamilton's) while bowls of greens with grilled peaches and pine nuts (including arugula from a friend's garden) and French potato salad were passed. Dessert was Banana Cream Pie - probably my favorite part of the whole meal - the ratio of cream to custard was a little high (I'd quadruple the recipe next time instead of doubling) but it's kinda hard to complain about too much whipped cream and creme fraiche. The crust was smeared with a little of Will's Chile Burnt Caramel Sauce - which gave it a little Bobby Flay flair - in the best way of course
After dinner - there were fireworks - literally! We were lucky enough to be in Sebastopol last weekend for a wedding, where it's legal to sell "safe and sane" fireworks from June 28 thru July 6. They shoot sparks ten feet in the air, and don't leave the ground - but put on a surprisingly good show. (I'm sure the neighbors were THRILLED.)
Here, for your perusal, is the menu. I've gotta get a move on right now - but I'll be back later with more about those cooking disasters and some recipes.
Roederer and Domaine Carneros Sparkling Wine
Andante Picolo triple cream cheese
Bread and Cie Crostini
White Bean Hummus
Thyme and Honey Glazed Baby Back Ribs
Greens with Grilled Stonefruit and Pinenuts
Barefoot Contessa French Potato Salad
Tempranillo Rose and Cote du Rhone
Banana Cream Pie
More photos can be viewed here.