We started out Friday night right after work with cocktails and enough friends to fill two tables for cards. I brought some stuffed dates, nothing too fancy, Gorgonzola, roasted almonds with some cream cheese. I also used some lavash to wrap some red peppers, olive tapenade, and artichoke hearts after spreading some cream cheese and Mexican sour cream thinly spread on the lavash before laying down the stuffing then rolling them up and slicing them up into roundels.
Our host cooked us two wonderful tagines, one with a nutty chicken sauce and the other a vegetarian cauliflower and carrot tagine with hints of orange juice. Beautiful in their colorfully glazed tagnines and Delicious! We wrapped it up with a selection of beautiful pastries. Oh and I almost forgot to mention the wonderful selection of wines. One a Semillon and the other a Portuguese Rose found favor with the group.
Saturday we joined another set of friends for a meal of small plates and some fun bridge. We started off with a glass of sherry with some sauteed quartered mushrooms, plenty of garlic, red chili peppers and a dusting of chopped parsley. I brought some bread that I had made using the "Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day" technique http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/ and some wild grilled shrimp with a basil shallot infused yogurt dipping sauce. Of course some cards between courses along with a fruity but dry crisp white wine from Portugal. It had a touch of effervescence and a great finish.
The second course was a beautiful colored carrot and tahini soup topped with cilantro and zests of lemon sprinkled on top. The soup was from the New York times' Melissa Clark's recipe, he said it was easy and the results were fantastic. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/dining/07apperex.html. It tasted as bright as it looked and the depth of flavor and complexity belied the easy that he said it took to make it.
For the final course our hosts seared some beautiful large wild sea scallops, they glistened as they cooked in the pan and once pulled they were added to a plate of sectioned grapefruit with small onions. The pan was then deglazed with butter and wine, poured over the whole dish making it a savory and refreshing end to a wonderful and enjoyable meal with cards.
Sunday, one last day and we played bridge once more for about 4 hours straight, after we called it a day and a weekend we still had a meal to ponder. Knowing that I had a whole chicken waiting in the refrigerator drying out it's skin, I turned my attention to my wife and asked what she was would love to have for a meal to end this culinary/card weekend? She requested a fish with some kind of savory sauce, something tart and comforting.
I roasted my chicken a la Thomas Keller's technique and my wife enjoyed a seared halibut steak with capers, onions, artichokes and a deglazed sauce of shallots, whole grain mustard. We shared it with a wonderful salad and called it a weekend well done. Or maybe a grand slam, sharing so many different types of foods with so many people that have a passion for food.
PS Mr. Keller's simple roasted chicken was great.