OMG, this is our 3rd year of birthday blog dinners. Wowza. Time flies. So by now you know how this works, so let's get down the nitty gritty - this is a long post as it is...
Tonight's ingredients: Ostrich, Balsamic, Blueberries
And away we go...
Cocktail - Strawberry Balsamic Bourbon Cocktail
1 part balsamic vinegar. 2 parts strawberry syrup. 4 parts bourbon. Shake it up and pour it over some muddle strawberries and lemon slices. Top with seltzer if necessary. It's lighter than you think and has a delicious heaviness to it from the balsamic vinegar. (The balsamic used is a classic aged balsamic vinegar of Modena.)
Hors d'Ouevre - Basil Whipped Goat Cheese Stuffed Strawberries with Balsamic Glaze
Aren't they cute??? This was soooo simple and easily put together a few hours before everyone came over. A nice bite of sweet and savory in one! (The balsamic used is a reduced balsamic glaze. A balsamic glaze is a well reduced balsamic vinegar that then gets a very syrupy consistency and a sweet flavor.)
Hors d'Ouevre - Blueberry Basil Balsamic Mozzarella Crisps
Oh. My. God. I made only one mistake with this dish - I didn't make enough. If you look in the back, you'll see some classic tomato bruschetta lurking - that's because I really didn't know how this was going to turn out. I was wrong. The sweet and savory blueberries worked perfectly with the ooey gooey cheese and the fresh basil. Did I mention the balsamic vinegar used in this dish? We used a fig vanilla balsamic, and it definitely gave it an extra wow factor!
Appetizer - Massaged Kale Salad with Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
This salad was jam packed with flavor - goat cheese, blueberries, grilled corn, almonds, cherry tomatoes - perfection! And yes, you literally massage the kale and it slowly breaks down and becomes more tender. The blueberry balsamic with rich and thick and really held up against the coarse greens and fresh ingredients! This will be next week's lunch!!
Appetizer Wine - 2014 Domaine Houchart Cotes de Provence Rose
Summer = Rose season. Deal with it. Embrace it. This salmon colored wine was lively and fresh with notes of strawberries and citrus. It didn't overwhelm the salad and instead helped accentuate all the flavors and create a clean palate for the rest of the meal.
Entree - Ostrich Steaks with Cassis and Blueberry Sauce
Ostrich is a bird. But it really looks and tastes like beef. It's also extremely lean, so therefore healthier for you than a lot of your other options. But being that it is a game meat, it is best to serve with something a little fruity, and this sauce was divine. (It also took pretty much all day to reduce, but if you've learned anything from our blog - its that reducing is time consuming but key.) And we did use a classic balsamic vinegar in the sauce reduction.
Side Dish - Horseradish Whipped Potatoes
You really don't taste the horseradish! And the fact that you make it early on and then just reheat is sooo convenient! Delicious!
Side Dish - Honey Roasted Brussels Sprouts
There's no real recipe for this, because its simply become a staple in my life. Halve brussels sprouts. Toss with olive oil and kosher salt. (The saltier, the better.) Roast at 400 until they get caramelized and crispy. At that point, I usually drizzle with honey and add whatever else I want and then throw them back in the oven for a few minutes. (I would recommend additions like bacon, pancetta, dried cranberries, almonds, etc.)
Entree Wine - 2013 Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel
This well structured red is packed with jammy fruity aromas yet has a rich and well-structured balance of black cherry and smoky pepper. A delicious addition and a perfect match!
Dessert - Blackberry Balsamic Chocolate Mousse with Blackberry Balsamic Truffles
So I found a blackberry balsamic vinegar and realized it would be perfect for a dessert. The chocolate mousse was great in concept - just to rich and filling for ending what had been a long and filing meal. It was also rather sweet. The truffles were good - just a pain to make. Next time, I'll just buy some.
Aperitif - Homemade Basil Blueberry Liqueur
Let a bottle filled with blueberries and chopped basil and then filled with vodka sit for a month in the fridge. Then drain and add simple syrup. Serve cold.. This was tasty - but too sweet. Next time, I'll add simple syrup in smaller quantities to taste.