So let me first say that I did truly enjoy writing last week. Just another avenue for my fascination with food I guess. Also after I read the post three things came to my own critical mind that I feel I must share with anyone who is actually reading my ramblings.
1st some leniency must be taken while trying any recipe I post. I must say that about 80% of what I make food wise is a creation of my own imagination. Measurements are never identical and any given dish never turns out the same twice. So I encourage you please…try what I make, but know that simple things like adjusting salt and pepper and tasting as you go are a necessity 🙂 –that is the true joy about cooking though. It is an art, and art is in the eye (or palate in this case) of the beholder.
2nd I know that Kristen’s blog is geared towards the mindful eating of unprocessed food, which is absolutely outstanding! However, she has given me autonomy to interpret the journey through mindful eating in my own terms. And again, for those that read my posts, you will quickly see that my journey towards mindful eating lies in the heart of mindfully making the time to eat and drink with one’s family…and eat a lot of all sorts of rich and bad things for you (in proper portions that is) :).
3rd, while I am surely not a learned philosopher (thanks for that one Pops) I do not intend to preach too much, but thank you for letting me voice my philosophies on food, drink and family! NOW, on to my five part miniseries…the lost art of the Dinner Party!
Growing up my family and I spent many a summer at our family farm (Happy Apple Farm) in Penrose, Colorado (quick advertising plug, family website posted here). Besides the obvious coolness of growing up on a farm such as driving tractors and having 40 acres of land for two Banker brothers to terrorize with Red Rider BB Guns, we had the most amazing daily meals.
Days started off with a HUGE breakfast cooked by my Grandfather and Grandma, followed by a day’s work, and then finished with a magnificent dinner. And back then, I just kind of figured that everyone had dinner in courses like we did, usually four or five course dinners that is. Dinner was always an event that the whole family and friends that visited looked forward to. Appetizers with cocktails at 4:00ish, with dinner to follow. However, as I got older I quickly began to realize that other people DID NOT eat like we did. I was able to see though how friends of the family fell in love with the way we focused on food, and the stretched out manner, in which we did it.
So the next 4-5 posts will be dedicated to what I believe is the lost art of the dinner party. There is something grandiose about presenting courses individually and over a several hour timeframe. My Grandmother was the best at this. She always let us know that soup comes before the salad!!! (I am sure I’ll get plenty of opportunities to talk about my Grandma so I’ll save some). This experience is what I am hoping more people try to pull off. An appetizer through dessert will be provided each week with the intention that they all get put together. Granted, any recipe can be substituted with another family favorite, the overall point however is to put together a 4-5 course meal…your friends and family will never forget it!!!
For the first course…Pan Seared Sea Scallops with Artichoke Puree. Funny side note about this recipe that stems from what I mentioned in the beginning of this post. I get inspiration for food from the funniest places. While watching the Nicholas Cage movie The Family Man several years ago, there was a scene where he and his wife went out to a fancy restaurant and ordered the above-mentioned item. I said to myself “that sounds good, can’t be that hard to make, right?” So here it is my version of an appetizer that was simply mentioned in a movie J
Pan Seared Sea Scallops with Artichoke Puree
*Serves 4 Adults
8 large Sea Scallops (2 per person)
1 large can Artichoke Hearts
1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
Place all ingredients in food processor (except for chives and scallops.) Blend until it reaches a smooth consistency. This can be done the morning of the planned dinner. Cover and place in refrigerator.
When ready to serve, Heat medium non-stick pan to a very hot temp (med high setting). While the pan is heating pat dry each Scallop to remove as much water as possible. Salt and Pepper both sides. Add a small amount of Olive oil or butter to the pan then sear scallops approximately 1 ½-2 min per side—the goal is to get a nice dark gold crust on each side.
To plate, place a spoonful of Artichoke puree on a plate and top with two scallops per individual. Garnish with chopped chives. This can also be done as a main course served with risotto (the second picture shows this option).
In conclusion…no dinner party is complete without some fairly loud background music (Dean, Frank, Tony), great wine pairing (such as a J Lohr Chardonnay with this appetizer), and most important, a toast to start the evening (which no one does any more???)…”Here’s to my friends and family, and thank you for coming over to eat my free food.”
Question: Do you ever host dinner parties? What is one of your best dinner party memories?