Tasting Dinner

We had our friends Bill & Wendi over for a tasting dinner, where we dust off some tried and true recipes and try out some new ones.

The evening began with Demi Tasse serving of my Asparagus soup with Crow’s Dairy fresh Chevre and toasted pine nuts.  Nobody ever believes there’s no cream in the soup, but there isn’t!  Next we enjoyed some wonderful steamed PEI Mussels.  I’ve been doing them in fresh lemon juice, white wine, butter, shallots, garlic, tomatoes and jalapenos and cilantro. They pick up just the right amount of kick for those of us who love Southwestern cuisine. Of course there was plenty of Erin’s French bread baguette and home made butter to sop up the rich and spicy broth.

To keep the Southwestern theme going, we followed up with a Caesar salad tossed with a Chipotle based Caesar dressing I’ve been making for a couple of years, along with fresh croutons made from Erin’s sour dough bread, and some Parm we brought back from our last trip to Chicago.

We took a break and slurped up some fresh watermelon sorbet Erin made the day before with a melon from our favorite Scottsdale Farmers Market.

After a breather, we moved on to a small but tasty portion of Chile Pepper Lobster Pasta.  It’s a great dish made special with lobster tail we got shipped from Maine.

Next, my grilled Iowa Pork Chop served with basmati and wild rice, and al dente sautéed green beans from the market.  I brine the chops for 3 days in salt/sugar bath with coriander and fennel seed, crushed red pepper flakes, and chopped onion, garlic, celery and carrots.  Even though the chops are 2” thick, they stay fork tender this way.

We capped things off with a spectacular 3-layer cake Erin made with Bavarian cream and raspberry puree between the layers.  It was inspired by the famous Celebration Cake from Commander’s Palace, but much better.