On a recent dinner date, LL made a comment along the lines of "well, you eat out a lot", which made me ponder. Aside from lunch, I don't really eat out all that often. I used to eat out a lot, Pre-JC, and I do eat out more now with the blog, but I really do a lot of more of my own cooking these days. I just don't post those pictures because they are not as interesting. The perfect solution to the boringness of those pictures, video montage! Look for that here soon as I figure out how to do it....
Or have a dinner party! It has been a long time since I had a dinner party. We haven't seen Jay and Robin in probably as long (bigger hermits than Big M and I!) Done. Now I can show off some fancy cooking skills that I learned in French cooking class. To make it extra interesting, Jay is a vegetarian who doesn't eat cheese. Vegetarian French Dinner Party! I did make Robin in charge of dessert as she went to pastry school. I am not going to pass up that opportunity!
It was my search for a veggie-French menu that led me to my new favorite food/recipe site, Epicurious. I enjoy how this site will offer individual recipes or menus by holiday, party theme or ingredient. I really love the menus section as they not only list out the recipes in the menu, many offer an info tab that gives wine parings or timeline tips. Super helpful.
After the search was done I chose:
Roasted Garlic Soup with Parmesan
Strawberry Goat Cheese Spring Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette
Wild Mushroom and Leek Galettes
Roasted Garlic Soup:
I have never made a garlic soup before so I wasn't sure what to expect from it. The first step that they call for is to roast a bunch of the garlic. I read about many different methods of doing this when I was looking for the perfect garlic soup recipe. One said to cut the garlic in half then put the cut halves down on the pan, drizzle with oil and then squeeze the garlic out. Some said to roast the garlic whole. This one said to put the individual cloves, with paper still on, in a roasting pan and mix with oil. Then just squeeze the pieces individually to neatly release the garlic.
Wrong. This method was terrible! It was so hard to release the garlic individually. I wish I would have gone with the half cut and squeeze method. After fighting with the roasted garlic, I added more raw garlic, onions, thyme and vegetable broth instead of the chicken broth it called for.
Blend it all together with a hand blender and you have soup! I served the soup with some grated parmesan reggiano on the side.
The soup was tasty. It was even better as leftovers the next day! If I make this again I will make it ahead and let sit for a day. I found the flavour less sharp the next day.
This recipe came from myrecipes.com. I was looking for a side dish that would be fresh and colourful. The prep for this one was really easy.
Hollow out the tomatoes and let drain on some paper towels, put the bread, herbs and garlic in the Magic Bullet.
I wasn't sure why they said to cook the tomatoes in a skillet first. I imagine to get rid of some of the moisture and have an nice char to the top of the tomatoes.
What I do know is that they were really hard to get out of the frying pan and into the baking dish to cook! They were to small for me to grasp easily with my oven mitts and the tongs crushed them. Once done, fill with bread mixture and bake.
They were okay. Tasty but nothing really awesome. I really liked the colour of them on the plate. Parmesan served on the side.
Wild Mushroom and Leek Galettes
I was really excited about this recipe. We made some apple galettes in French cooking class and how can you go wrong with puff pastry?
First, I would like to point out the amazing beauty of those leeks. The first leeks I have ever grown in my garden. Such perfection.
These were a lot of fun to make. Chop up all the mushrooms and leeks and then cook them for a while in some white wine. The recipe calls for some cheese to be added but I substituted Greek yogurt.
I wanted to get the puff pastry that is one big square and then I would divide it into 4 individual pieces. The store was out of that kind so I went with the box that gives 2 squares. I rolled them out, put the filling in, folded them and put them in the oven.
They turned out so well! There was more puff pastry than I had envisioned, but it was so tasty. I love wild mushrooms. I think it would have been a bit creamier had I added the cheese, but the taste did not suffer for lack of cheese.
Robin- you are one talented lady. Look what she made:
That is a banana bread cake with a chocolate hazelnut ganache topped with homemade marshmallows and toasted hazelnuts. The cake had some simple syrup added to it.
Wow. It was so amazing. I made her take the rest away with her as well or my the JC hot line was going to get some emergency phone calls!
Phew. Thanks Jay and Robin for a great night. The food was great and the company was even better.