Out and About

i am off to ireland for a few weeks. Then a bit of England, and a splash of France! If you want to follow my eating adventures, check me out at the travel/eating blog with my friend Nic!

http://nomadstable.wordpress.com/

let the countdown begin AND i need to pack!

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Queen Bee Celebrates 4th Annual Dinner, with boys

The time finally came for my annual Queen Bee Spring Dinner…in August.
This year was a little delayed because of many many other obligations and setbacks.
BUT arrive it did and it did not disappoint!

For dinner this year, i thought it would be fun to try a vegetarian meal. And even more insane, a vegetarian meal with FISH! i have never cooked fish before and untill very recently, i didnt even  like it. OK truth be told i still dont love it but i am getting closer to a liking relationship. 

 Starting las month i began to trial-cook and make lists and more lists and edit those lists. the majority of my menu came from 2 Alice Water’s cookbooks; Vegetables and The Art of Simple Food. At the same time i was also reading Julia Child’s My Life in France (awesome!!) All of these books were from the library and as i made copies of my favorite recipes and folded the books into the book return i felt a sharp pain in my heart, like i was saying good bye to a dear friend. I know i will be requesting these books again! they are magnificent.

The Menu

First Course
Spiced Cauliflower Soup with toasted baguette

 

This was AWESOME! i wasnt sure because it didnt have any dairy in it but it had the creamiest spiciest texture. i topped it with a whole milk yogurt and cilantro. it was lovely and i cant wait to make it in the winter months.

Second Course
Fennel Gratin with Wild Mixed Greens

 

I used a mandolin to slice all of my fennel bulbs paper thin. sautéed with butter, tarragon and leeks then topped with Gruyère and panko, YUM! It was well complimented by the  greens with basalmic and fresh nasturtium flowers to cut the richness! so good.

Third Course
Rhubarb Sorbet with cardamom

2 weeks before my dinner, i was asked to make a rhubarb tart. I am not a huge fan of rhubarb but i will make anything once! come to find out Rhubarb and cardamom are absolutely the best pairing i have ever tasted! i ran home and collected rhubarb at the market and made my own sorbet with cardamom. YUM!!! this was officially on the menu. it didnt disappoint. i also bought these wee bowls with the lion heads on them at christmas time when they were on sale. i have been ogling them ever since and finally got to break them in! perfect sorbet cups.

Fourth Course
Wild Dover Sole with Eggplant Rattatoui and Grilled Baby Artichokes

This was the course that had me the most excited and nervous! when i traveled to France, i had the amazing opportunity to take a cooking class with a 2 star michilan chef. this course was on our menu there! i made a paste of butter, more butter and a bit more butter, a handful of flour and toasted almonds. i pasted the fish with this amazing concoction and chilled it in the fridge for a couple of hours. then i flash cooked it at 475 and broiled the top. The eggplant was mixed with zucchini, onion and tomato and herbs. i think that for a first attempt, it was pretty good. the baby artichokes were tasty but they still had to be eaten like a regular artichoke…too tough to eat straight. Lesson learned on that!

Fifth Course
Belgian Endive with Roasted Beets and Fennel Lavender Goat Cheese nad Walnut Oil

This is the infamous course where i lost 2 fingertips. i have a photo but it is pretty nasty so i will save you the ick. i think if you accidentally misuse the mandolin once, oops! but twice? shame on me. i mandolinned golden and red beets and roasted them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then i chilled them over night. they were like candy! so delicious! and no Kevin, this is not the course where you had to eat a bit of finger skin i promise!

Deep breathe we are nearing the end!

Sixth Course
Cheese plate

This wasnt on the menu but i couldn’t miss a cheese course! so i rounded up 3 lovely cheeses, a local rogue blue, a hard sheep and a triple cream. just enough to enjoy the flavors with a baguette and a sparkling Riesling that Stacey brought. it was perfect!

Seventh Course
Peach Cobbler with Honey Vanilla Ice Cream

It’s hard to tell here but i cut the cobbler biscuits into flower and bee shapes! i picked up the peaches in Olympia at the farmers market and i sweetened the ice cream with local honey. So simple and so good! i was shocked (as i always am) by the bright orange yellow of the ice cream from my chicken egg yolks! they are soooo orange!

 

 

The best part about postponing dinner until the summer was the ability to have dinner in the garden!

of course, 30 minutes before my guests arrived, it began to sprinkle! and after a brief freak out, i grabbed some tarps and held tight.

then we made the executive decision to move ‘er in! As my friend Sami told me, how lucky am i to even have space to move a party of 12 from one part of my house to another?! and she is absolutely correct. it was still humid and hot so we moved the entire production to my covered patio, with a fan.. good for me because it is so much closer to the kitchen! i was busy in the kitchen but kept giggling as i heard no wait, you have to put the yellow napkins next to every other white napkin! Wait where do the bees go? i think they go under the plates…it was a crack up! i love my friends.

 So we finally sit to eat!

and Eat and Eat and Eat. and drink…as the sun goes down and the candles are lit

my last guest departed at 1130 and i went straight to bed! it was a perfect evening!

 Until next year! Bon Appetit!