Monday, March 2, 2009

And they returned home, pushing their stomachs before them...

Have you had your dinner yet? Are you hungry? Well, you may want to stop and get a snack before you read any further. I'm gonna talk about food here and if I do my job right, you'll be dribbling on your shirt before the end. So go ahead and grab something.

I'll wait.

Ready? Okay.

I have the honor and privilege of having a friendship with three girls who are very fine cooks. We all have busy lives and don't spend a lot of time together, but when we do.....oh baby.

I have worked side by side with these girls in the kitchen a number of times- chopping, slicing, sauteeing, roasting, marinating, simmering, and...serving. And the inevitable cleaning up. It is always a joy and a feast.

It all started a number of years ago in service to our little mountain community. In the effort to fund and preserve an historic building, the Mount Hood Towne Hall, a special fund raising dinner was presented. By some alignment of the stars, I got to be on the kitchen team. The first task was to get together to plan the menu. This required quite a bit of taste testing. That meant a dinner of possibilities, enjoyed with our men and several bottles of vino rosso. We used these evenings to labor through the arduous task of choosing what food to prepare for around 250 guests at the Enchanted Evening dinner.

Here are some photos of the food preparation for last year's event:

Fruit stuffed pork loin roast

Roasted spring asparagus

Apple Tart Tatins


And so much more....

This year, we are not presenting such an extravagant fund raising dinner and have no excuse to cook, eat and menu plan. So we decided to just cook and eat. What a concept!

After coordinating schedules, picking a date and time, the entree was chosen very easily...what could be more decadent than....bouillabaisse? Our hostess for the evening, Cheryl, and Revelyn collaborated on the recipe. It would have tomatoes -but not too many- , leeks, fish stock and a tidal wave of sea food. Salmon, halibut, Mahi Mahi, clams, shrimp, squid and crab. And a touch of Pernod. Who'da thunk it?

We girls arrived early to cook together. The FUN part.

The seafood needed to be prepped

The red peppers for the aioli needed to be roasted. The bruschetta that would go in the bottom of each bowl needed to be slathered with olive oil and garlic and grilled to perfect crispness.

Cheryl's diligent husband Rod, stood by with wine bottle at the ready, in case anyone's glass became light. Red? White?

I diddled around preparing an appetizer. An eggplant tart with tomatoes, olives and feta cheese.
Revelyn also made her famous crusty bread.

We dipped into Gretchen's delightful Rogue Creamery blue cheese dip whenever we began to feel faint. She also warmed olives in oil to sustain us until the main event began.

The starter course was a simply dressed spring greens salad with walnuts and roasted Bosc pears.

Grab some more chips because I'm now going to share some gratuitous bouillabaisse photos:

Oh my.

Each serving started with bruschetta and ended with a drizzle of roasted red pepper aioli and just for good measure, garlic aioli too!

And a pink crab leg.

Rod's happy to receive his bowl.

At this point, dessert was not really necessary, but everyone was a good sport. So with heavy sighing and a little moaning we gave it a go. I provided a dessert that was intended to meet some varied dietary restrictions. No dairy, no eggs, no fruit and sugar. But edible as dessert.

A coconut chocolate pudding made with coconut milk and Schokinag chocolate. Everyone had fun guessing the hint of spice....curry.

This spectacular meal was followed by hours and hours of good conversation - the main purpose of which was to gather strength to rise from the table.


  1. Wow. I want. How about slaying the fatted calf (aka making an awesome seafood meal) when the prodigal son (aka me) returns?

    Español del dia: vino tinto = vino rosso

  2. That's it. I quit. I can't keep reading this blog.

    Just kidding! :-)

    Looks fantastically delicious. I think I'm drooling a little on my chin...

  3. I got the link from Kris and i just dont know if i want to keep reading - i'm just kidding ... there are too many delicious things here! they're impressive cooking skills!!!

  4. Kristin- I couldn't replicate that soup if someone held a gun to my head. I'm just not in that league. Also, to get the seafood, I'd have to sell my first born son and then well...we wouldn't need the party!

    Keep in mind this has been an annual event. We've been eating like this once a year but today the girls are already talking about "next time" so who knows?

    Lucky me!


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