Happy Valentine's Day! The P-Man and I have been married for several decades now...so Valentine's Day is not as big a day as it used to be. I slept until 11:11 am today. The party was last night, and by all accounts, a success. The food was well received, and I have a minimal amount of left-overs. The menu was all make ahead, as I worked on Friday and Saturday, both days until 4:30, and my guests were arriving at 7:30 . I made a complete meal. The people I invited like to eat. The menu was: WITH DRINKS: Rosemary Almonds, courtesy of Bob Blumer, The Surreal Gourmet. His recipes may seem a little gimmicky, but I find they really work. Avocado with lemon and soy, with toasted sesame seeds, courtesy of Laura Calder. Not exactly French...but easy and refreshing. Puff Pastry Pin Wheels, also courtesy of Laura Calder. These little bites have olive tapenade and parmesan cheese in them, and are that great salty bite with drinks. DINNER: Sausage and Peppers. I bought an assortment of pork and turkey sausages,some spicy, some mild. I browned them in a pan, and moved them to an oven dish. I sliced a large sweet onion and 7 bell peppers, red, orange and yellow, ( I HATE green peppers) and browned them in the pan, and added a cup of red wine to deglaze, and then dumped them on top of the sausages, covered the dish with tinfoil and cooked them at 350 for 1 hour. An hour before everyone arrived I stuck the dish back into the oven at 350, and people served them self out of that dish. Asparagus Frittata. I found this recipe on the Internet, and it turned out quite well. I originally was going to go with a side of Salmon...but the season is over, and all the previously frozen salmon, just looked SAD! SIDES: Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes. I roasted 2 heads of garlic on Thursday. On Saturday after work, the P-Man peeled a pot full of russet potatoes and just before everyone arrived, I squeezed the roasted garlic out of it's skins, added a cup of milk and a 1/4 cup of butter, and microwaved it for 2 minutes. I then dumped the garlic mixture into the potatoes and mashed away! I stuck a lid on the pot, and it stayed warm until we were ready. Carrot and Seed Salad, courtesy of the book: Breakfast, Lunch, Tea...Rose Bakery. I picked this book up at Anthropology, a fantastic store in Seattle. It has great photos, and good recipes. A Parisian fantasy of a cookbook...with recipes that really work! Salade De Haricots Verts Au Gruyere, courtesy of James Barber's Immodest but Honest Good Eating Cookbook. This cold green bean salad has been a favorite of mine for more than 20 years now, and it was the 1st recipe I ever read that taught me how to make a perfect French vinaigrette. He adds several variations, but I still like mine with dried tarragon the best. Even though green beans are kind of sketchy this time of year...I bought lots, and really sorted through them, and discarded any that felt woody or dry. I blanched the beans on Thursday, and put together the vinaigrette, at the same time. On Saturday after work, I only had to assemble the salad, check the seasoning, and let it sit at room temperature for an hour or so. I also sliced up a baguette.
DESSERT: Fresh Ginger Cake with apple/cranberry compote and vanilla ice cream, also courtesy of Breakfast, Lunch, Tea. I made the compote from frozen apples I had from my friend J's, dad's tree, and a bag of fresh cranberries I bought a week or so ago, combined with a cinnamon stick, and a lump of brown sugar, that had gone hard in the cupboard before Christmas. Oh, and 3 cloves...I had a whole jar from God knows when. My dad was a baker...so baking has never been my thing. The recipe involved 3 bowls...never a good sign...but I baked it on Thursday, and wrapped it in saran, and it was tasty, and moist and gingery. I decided to get fancy, and cut out little hearts of cake, and let everyone make their own plates, by adding compote and or ice cream...they loved it! I only have cake scraps left!
It wasn't so hard... Go on...have a party!