Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Dinner Club : March : Last Meal

Hello ladies and gents! I hosted an extremely successful dinner on Saturday night for our cooking club. We've had a few, more, new additions. . . both girls got creative and brought delicious dishes. Not only that, I think we had some great conversation and sincere laughter between us. I couldn't have wished for more, I truly believe that this group may become an amazing thing, although it's taken nearly a year to get to that place. Everything in life takes work doesn't it? Rarely things are perfect on the first try.

To get a sense of the new girls cooking style, and taste, we went with the theme 'last meal'. So, we drew dishes as usual, and based on that dish we each created what we'd want as our last meal. I know, I know, if you're anything like me that task may seem nearly impossible, but seeing as it was theoretical, all the girls had to do was, essentially, pick one of their favorite dishes or ingredients. Since I only knew two of the girls, I really had no idea what kind of meal we were going to sit down to. I figured, because the theme was pretty much a free for all (no specific cuisine or genre) I had a feeling it wouldn't necessarily be a cohesive flavor combo, dish by dish. I was surprised that it pretty much was. The menu featured crab cakes (pictured above) with a mango salsa and a coconut cream sauce, potato pancakes, roasted beets with chevre, roasted squash mac and cheese, and a tower of hazelnut chocolate puff pastry and vanilla bean cheesecake with a scoop of vegan vanilla/coconut ice cream.

The dinner took place during Earth Hour, which was something I'd planned on participating in. So I decorated the kitchen, and set the table, with the Earth (and our dinner) in mind. Plenty of candles and orbs, and eco-friendly decor.

We had an incredible dinner with our wonderful new additions, and I simply cannot (seriously) wait for our brunch in April!

DSC01506, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Recipe: Roasted Beets


2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (preferably whole-grain or coarse-grain)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb onions (2 medium), quartered lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
2 (15-oz) cans small whole beets, drained and quartered (or halved if very small) (our girl roasted fresh beets, not canned, I reccomend it)
3 oz chevre (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup pine nuts (1 oz), toasted and coarsely chopped


Whisk together vinegar, mustard, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl, then add 3 tablespoons oil in a slow stream, whisking until combined well.

Cook onions with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Add onions to dressing, then add beets and cheese, stirring gently to combine. Serve sprinkled with pine nuts.

Entree : Roasted Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese with Carmelized Shallots

I wrote about this macaroni and cheese recipe a few weeks ago, and can be found here. It's rich, creamy and the roasted butternut squash offers a hint of sweetness. Oh-so yummy!

For dessert we were presented with a yummy puff pastry (dipped in hazlenut chocolate) and vanilla bean cheesecake tower. Also served with our dessert was a rich cocktail of drinking chocolate and grand marnier. No recipe for this one, she simply used some of her favorite recipes to concoct this dish.

We all enjoyed potato pancakes for our starter, which was a family recipe from one of our longtime members. Sorry, folks no recipe for this one either. Being one of Ashley's family treasures and all.

Crab cake recipe can be found at use the good china.

DSC01499, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Until next month. . .


Katiecakes said...

:O I want everything!! How wonderful!

I adore the tealights in the tart tin, such an adorable idea :)

Katie xox

The Strong Family said...

I just have to say you have a fantastic decorating ability. That table setting looks like it came right out of a magazine. Very Nice!

miss mallory opel said...

Oh goodness, thank you for the flattering comments. I truly love them!