Sunday, August 31, 2014

August 30, 2014 - John's Birthday

So John really decided to challenge us this year.  I mean, there is no way someone can pick 2 completely opposite ingredients and expect them to make a meal.  Wolfgang Puck would have slapped him upside the head.  But that's ok - because Jenn and I took on the challenge with gusto.  What were those two ingredients?

Eel and White Chocolate

Told you so.

Cocktail - Brandy Daisy

Brandy, rum, blue curacao, lemon juice.  Delicious!

Appetizer - Seared Shrimp with a White Chocolate Tomato Beurre Blanc

White chocolate beurre blanc.  For real.  And it was tasty!!!  The acidity of the tomato really helped with the underlying sweeter white chocolate flavor.  Believe it or not, very delicious!  (And yes, finding savory white chocolate dishes was not easy.)

Appetizer Wine - 2012 Domaine Cheveau Macon Solutre-Pouilly

We went back to Harry's for this meal.  While we have enjoyed pairing our own wines recently, this was obviously a task for the professionals.  Even Christelle seemed stumped with our menu.  She recommended a heavy Chardonnay to go with the richness of the beurre blanc.  And it was delicious!  Rich and structured but not heavy on the oak - it paired up beautifully with the appetizer!

Entree - Smoked Eel with Steamed Leeks and New Potatoes with a Clam Beurre Blanc

Yup.  You read that properly.  We weren't going to do any Japanese-style eel dish, because that would be too easy.  And the recipe included beurre blanc, so we kind of just added an ingredient to John's wish list at this point.  And the clams - baby clams straight from Italy!  Delicious!  Believe it or not, the flavor was fantastic and this really was an amazing 

Entree Wine - 2012 Pecchenino San Luigi Dogliani

Christelle was really challenged on this one.  She wanted so badly to serve a white with the entree, but after the heavy Chardonnay, there was no viable option.  This smooth Italian red with fruit forward with sweet tannins and completely worked!  

Dessert - White Chocolate and Lemon Pots de Creme

Smooth custard-y goodness!  A fantastic end to the meal and extremely easy to make!

Aperitif - Jones Winery Raspberry Rhapsody

This local winery here in CT produces this great dessert wine full of raspberry flavor!  A perfect tartness to go with the smooth dessert!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

July 29, 2014 - Antonio's Birthday

Good Afternoon, everyone!  We have a great post for you today!!!  This was Tony's first year participating in our "pick your ingredient" birthday blog dinner and we had a lot of fun with it.  Tony's quick answer was "lobster and tomatoes", which naturally we groaned at because that seemed so simple.  I mean, really?  Challenge us, please!  Anyways... we ended up with a dynamite meal that anyone can make at home!

Cocktail - Blueberry-Cassis Lemon Martini

This was kind of a "what do we have in the liquor cabinet" cocktail.  We had some leftover limoncello, and figured lemons and lobster go well together, so we mixed that with regular vodka, creme de cassis, and floated some blueberry Polar Seltzer over it.  Delicious!!!  (Oddly, had somewhat of a "tea" flavor... we have no idea where that came from.)

Appetizer - Grilled Lobster & Prosciutto Flatbread

We totally improvised on this one!  We used store bought pizza dough and brushed it with some herbed olive oil.  We then placed on the grill for a few minutes, flipped it over, and then topped with prosciutto, a little shredded gruyere cheese, roasted cherry tomatoes, cooked lobster meat, and fresh basil.  We cooked until the crust got nice and crispy (probably 5-10 minutes) and served.  Delicious!  Easy!  Can't wait to try out different variations!

Appetizer Wine - Chateau de Nages Brut Rose

This medium bodied rose is a blend of Syrah and Grenache grapes and matched perfectly with our appetizer.  It is a great drinking wine - with ripe cherry and melon - but has a nice crisp finish.  

Entree - Crab and Shrimp Stuffed Lobster

Oh yeah.  I decided I wanted to do a stuffed lobster because it was something we had in a restaurant a year ago and Tony had loved it.  Why not try to replicate his favorite dish?  The only changes we made to the recipe was that we used just shrimp and crab stuffing - no scallops.  And we eyeballed the bread crumbs and didn't add extra butter at the end.  (Trust me, it does NOT need it.)  Also - this made about double the stuffing than we needed... so I suggest you halve the recipe.  (Or reuse to make those crab stuffed filet mignons from a previous post!)  Also - 30 minutes may be a little shy on baking time depending on the size of your lobster.  Regardless - delicious, filling, amazing meal.  

Side Dishes - Herbed Spaetzle and Gorgonzola Roasted Tomatoes

We've made spaetzle before, and it is one of our favorites!  We just followed the base recipe and then fried up with garlic and tons of fresh herbs!  The tomatoes were also a hit - nice and caramelized from the roasting with the creamy Gorgonzola!

Entree Wine - 2012 Oak Ridge Zinfandel

Oh wow.  This robust red is the new house favorite!  Rich and earthy with ripe fruit and light acidity, this left a fantastic fruity flavor on the palate with a hint of smoke on the finish.

Dessert - Creme Brulee

One of the birthday boy's favorite desserts, you cannot go wrong with this classic dish!

So there you go - another great birthday meal for the books.  Coming up soon - John's birthday... and you won't believe it when you see the ingredients he picked!