This was a very casual, family style, multi-coursed affair. Good times. We started the evening off with a very simple salad of fresh picked lettuce with a balsamic vinaigrette, and some Parmigiano Reggiano. This was a nice, crisp way to start a meal that would get pretty heavy by the end. I was trying to embrace the last clutches of cool weather and feed my guests some wintery food as spring is looming on the horizon, and things like braises and soups will be retired for the next six months.
Did someone say soup? The night before this shindig, I made some smoked ham and green lentil soup. If you plan on making soup for a dinner party, or for any occasion really, you should make it ahead of time. It borders on cliche, but soup tastes better the next day. Period. This was a simple soup: chicken stock, green lentils, turnips, smoked ham, fennel, and kale. The last of some of my winter garden goods went in this soup. I will replant turnips and fennel for the spring. Both have been good providers and ingredients I really enjoy.
For our main we had two roasted Dewberry Hills chickens. You really can't beat these chicken's flavor or freshness. These two beauties were stuffed with rosemary, garlic, parsley, and Meyer lemons. This recipe hasn't failed me yet, and I plan on using it even when the Meyers are gone. The chicken was moist and delicious; the flavors of the herbs and lemon infused deep into the meat. The jus in the roasting pan makes a great sauce, and just for extra shits'n'giggles, I mounted it with butter to kick the richness up a few notches.
Dessert was good, but wrought with failure on the back-end. The bacon toffee recipe is wrong. It states that 285º is necessary for a hard break, but really it is 300º. A failed batch of bacon toffee is costly mainly because I use organic bacon, organic butter, and organic sugar. It is still edible, but might fuck up your dental work. Take out the partials first! My ganache also didn't set up right, leaving my truffles–bacon toffee filled, and a pecan encrusted–a bit soft. I used the wrong chocolate. Never. Again. It looked pretty and tasted good though. A bit of balsamic reduction, organic raspberries, and fresh, organic local mint really tied the plate together.
This was a nice night. After we finished our meal several other people showed up, and we drank into the night. Life is beautiful and so are you.