Friday, November 5, 2010

A Delightful, yet Frightful Hallowe'en Dinner

Great things take time and this dinner was no exception.  It all started back in the week before Halloween with the planning of our menu.  As those decisions were made the dinner began to take the shape of a fantastic Autumn feast.  And this is how it rounded out in the end.

Then came the research and prep work, shopping for just the right ingredients and preparing the garden vegetables (carrots and potatoes).  Parts of the meal were a complete experiment and for once it was truly successful even as an experiment.  

Starting from the top; 
The Sangria - well that is always a winner.  Fortified wine with fruit, simple and yet oh so d-lish.  It was a mixture of thinly sliced oranges, cranberries & pomegranates (we need our antioxidants!) and cloves for an Autumn twist all immersed in a deep dark red wine.  Fortified with a cranberry vodka and an apple cranberry sparkling juice added sparkle and sweetness.  
The Carrot Soup I started on Saturday night by cooking the carrots with onions, garlic (for vampires), bay leaf and garden tarragon (carrots best friend).  Then Sunday afternoon I reheated the carrots less the onions and garlic and blended till smooth and thick with home made chicken stock.  With a garnish of creme fraiche and the usual fresh parsley the soup had a wonderful warm Autumn flavour.  No chill on our bones now!  
Moving along to the Mushroom Trio Bruchetta, this was part of a Julia Child recipe and part of a Laura Caulder recipe.  Our trio was King Oyster mushrooms, Shiitaki and Crimini.  The only thing that I would change about this course was the King Oyster mushrooms were quite fibrous and challenging to bite through therefore next time I will cut them into more bite sized pieces.  Other than that, flavour was deep and intensely earthy.  
The Main Event was a wonderful combination of deep Autumn flavours and a palette cleansing brightness found in the salad.  The Tenderloin of Pork had a great herb and spice crust that held on tight all the way through the BBQ-ing.  There was a combination of garden herbs (sage, rosemary & thyme) and cayenne pepper for an earthy spice and cumin to add interest and complexity.  The Slow Roasted Tomatoes were bursting with flavour and sweetness that only home grown tomatoes seem to deliver.  Duchess Potatoes are a wonderful way to have potatoes; providing you have the time to fuss and have a trusty Kitchen Aid mixer to do your smashing and creaming.  The surprising ingredient in here were egg yolks, not really a healthy mashed potato but we like to believe all in moderation is a healthy choice!  I must admit that the presentation of the potatoes was particularly festive for Halloween as they looked much like ghosts popping out of jack o'lanterns.  For our palette cleansing course, the salad was made up of only green vegetables and the dressing was a lime and garlic vinaigrette, just to keep with the green theme.  Definitely a Garden of Evil Green Salad. 
The Dessert course I was so excited about.  There are a few people in this world who have a severe addiction to Rum Butter cake... (and yes, you know who you are - counselling will commence next week.)  So the best way to enjoy this Rum Butter cake is to tuck into our last layer of wedding cake, it was partially to satisfy an addiction as mentioned but it was also in celebration of an upcoming wedding and all the hard work and planning that is happening.  Plus we were mildly curious of just how good our cake would be after 2 years, and we were not disappointed at all.  To keep up with the Halloween and pumpkin theme we decided to top the cake with nothing less than... are you ready for it?... DQ Pumpkin blizzard!  It was fantastic!  A little different to pair something so formal with something so casual.  The flavours were so contrasting but perfectly complementing.  

If I were to do it all over again, there is not much I would change, everything was so perfect.  The kitchen was tidy & organized (for once!), all the food was ready on time (partially to do with the tidy kitchen), and most of all the company was warm and comforting.  These dinners will not last forever but our memories that we have created through all these dinners will stay with us forever.  

This is one to remember and just like the dessert course was named;
Till Death Do Us Part - Our friendship and our memories are here to stay.

So that was 2010 Halloween, I hope that my writing has given you a clear image of our dinner and just how much fun we have in the kitchen.  For that is what it is all about!

See you in the kitchen.

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