Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Kit's birthday dinner

A success, I must admit.

Final menu:
Antipasti -- assorted cheeses; apples, grapes, and pears; crackers; jellies; bread
Primo -- fettuccine with mushrooms in sage butter
Secondo -- herb-roasted chicken
Contorni -- winter vegetable salad, oven-roasted potatoes, onions, and carrots
Dolci -- assortment of biscotti and cookies

Kit and I met up at Union Square around 11 am.  I'd gotten there a bit early, so did some reconnoitering around the market.  Slim pickin's this time of year.  Lots of root vegetables and apples.

There were a few cheese and bread vendors, so that was easy.  Kit had apples, so I bought some pears.  I picked up some garlic jelly and ginger jelly, too, so that we'd have an antipasto course of bread, cheese, and fruit. One of the cheeses was an awesome fresh mozzarella...melt-in-your-mouth delicious. 

I found some lovely mushrooms (and only $4/lb).  Bought two pounds.  Picked up 2 containers of fresh egg fettuccine.  I sauteed the mushrooms in lots of butter, with some shallots, then finished them off with a slurp of Marsala.  Right at the end I added some chopped fresh sage and lots of parsley. 

There were lots of winter root vegetables, so my idea of doing the slaw was easy.  I got carrots (orange and yellow), celeriac, and black radish.  I shredded the root veggies on the box grater, added half a shallot, minced, along with some chopped parsley for color, then dressed the slaw with mayo, brown mustard, salt, pepper, and a splash of buttermilk to thin it out.  I got the most compliments on the slaw -- no one could believe it wasn't cole slaw.  Dan was the funniest -- he said he didn't like cabbage (there wasn't any in it), and that he didn't much care for mayo-based dressings either, but that this salad was very good.  I'm glad all enjoyed it. 

The main course was my standard roasted chicken -- breasts and thighs -- with salt, pepper, lots of chopped garlic, thyme and rosemary, then dressed with some olive oil and vinegar.  I let that marinate a couple hours in the fridge before popping it into a 375°F oven for about an hour.  

The veggie side dish was problematic.  I'd found fingerling potatoes at the market, and bought a pound. They looked great. I washed them, cut them up into walnut-sized chunks, added some chunked carrot, and a handful of red pearl onions I also found at the market.  Dressed them with oil, vinegar, S&P, garlic, and herbs, and let marinate.  I put them in the oven with the chicken, but the potatoes took FOREVER to cook.  After two hours, I gave up.  They were cooked, but were still quite firm.  We tested one -- they tasted almost like roasted chestnuts.  Interesting.  Overall, the dish was acceptable, but not my best.  Next time I'll parboil the potatoes first!

The Baroness brought a lovely assortment of cookies and biscotti, and that was dessert along with hot tea.  Lovely.   Heck, I even got an invite to a potluck in Brooklyn later in the month as a result, from Karin.  I'll be there!

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