Bobby Flay was the theme for this summer’s group cooking dinner. Man, was it good!!! This group that gets together is a group of foodies; four couples and their kids. The couples include two brothers from one family and a brother and sister from another family. We love food and love to talk about food, and other things every once in a while. Everyone came to our house; the kids swam in the pool – except for the newest members, a set of cute, cute twin boys.
I think the general comments from the group were that this was the best meal we have cooked together as a group. We cooked recipes from Julia Child - see previous post and did a Mexican themed meal - didn't post about that one. Maybe it was hanging out outside, I don't know, but the food was fabulous! Thanks to Bobby Flay for creating such wonderful recipes!
It was a perfect night, not too hot. The pool was perfect for the kids – I don’t know how many adults got in….I think we were all pretty busy talking, cooking, and drinking. The order might change depending on which person one is talking about.
The menu was chosen from Bobby Flay’s recipes. We found all the recipes on the Columbia Crest Website. I submitted a proposal that didn’t get accepted, but that didn’t stop us. We had two appetizers, two salads, two entrees, and two desserts. Most of the recipes were written very well. One I chose, however, had some issues. The dressing for the Nicoise Salad called for honey, but didn’t explain how or where it went into the recipe. The directions for the salad said to add the onions that weren’t on the shopping list or the list of ingredients in the recipe. Small mistakes, but ones I thought one wouldn’t find on an approved website.
We started with Dungeness Crab Cakes and Tomato Bread with Prosciutto. The bread was great! Mild in flavor, and a great start to our meal. The combination of the prosciutto and tomato was awesome. Prosciutto is one of my favorite foods.
The crab cakes were a nice contrast – mild too, but the sauces added a flavorful punch to the dish. My favorite sauce was the basil aioli – mayo and basil, two of my favorite ingredients. The other sauce for the crab cakes was Black Olive – Roasted Red Pepper Relish – a little bit more punch than the aioli.
We chose two very different salads. The first, Grilled Summer Squash Salad, was light and flavorful. Served over bread, it was the perfect salad for this summer. The ingredients were all at their peak of freshness – it’s what’s in the gardens right now. The vinaigrette brought out the freshness of the flavors- all around great dish. I was thinking today that the leftovers would make a great pasta sauce.
The Nicoise Salad, the second salad, was as different from the first salad as one could get. Using green beans, tomatoes, potatoes and shrimp, the different textures really “made” the salad. The crunch of the beans, I think played well against the grilled tomatoes. The shrimp was a great added bonus to the salad. The vinaigrette, made with an anchovy base, was very flavorful. I have some left and plan on making a salad with that as the dressing.
We had two entrees – one steak and one lamb. When I told my oldest about the lamb, he said, “There better be enough lamb to feed this boy!” My oldest loves lamb – oh heck, he loves all meat. The grilled lamb chops were served with a balsamic honey glaze and a mint pesto. Eating that reminded me of my childhood. We ate lamb burgers with mint jelly at least once a week. It was a nice walk down memory lane. My oldest loved the lamb, as did I. It was tender, and the mint pesto was a nice compliment to the honey and balsamic glaze.
The other entrée, Black Crusted Grilled Pepper Steaks, were made with NY Strips. Served with a mint chimichurri, the steaks were tender and very flavorful. The chimichurri had a bit of kick to it – there were grilled Serrano chiles to give it that kick; however, the honey calmed it down.
For the final course, we had two desserts.
Both desserts used fresh fruit in season. Roasted Peach Melba was a light refreshing dessert to end the day. The Riesling syrup was awesome! I love being able to eat foods that are in season. The peaches were bought at a roadside stand – what can get better!
Our beverage of choice for the night was sangria, made with mint, strawberries, champagne and some other liquor. It was smooth. We also had some wine from the Biltmore Estate. I love their wines and head there every few years to stock up.
The other dessert was Rum Buttered Glazed Grilled Pineapple. I love pineapple, so this was up my alley. The pineapple was topped with a vanilla mascarpone and blueberries. Light and flavorful, this was also a great end to a great meal.
I love these dinners. It is a great time with good friends. Having the kids at this meal was fun too. They all tried different foods, liked some, not others, but at least they tried. It is so important to gather with friends and family and celebrate nothing in particular. Being together is what is important. Till next time, happy eating!