October 7, 2007

Pamela's Dinner Party

Aged reserve cheddar with fresh figs, toasted pistachios, cherry balsamic Coquilles St. Jacques a la Provencale served with steamed asparagus and red lettuce salad with sarasena olives and radishes in a simple olive vinaigrette.
Clafouti aux pommes
Craig digs in.
Chuck samples the flan.
Chef's notes: I added a course because I added a guest last minute. It's always a good idea to have a quality cheese on hand for such occasions.
I used fresh thyme instead of dried and even though I tripled the amount of thyme listed in Julia's recipe, the dish could have used more. Sadly my allergy to scallops prevented me from tasting as I cooked so there was no way I could have known. Still, my guests enjoyed it. Next time I make Coquilles St. Jacques a la Provencale, I will use more fresh thyme, less butter, and less cheese. Me thinks Julia likes her food on the rich side.
To balance the richness of the main dish, I served a very light salad of red lettuce, crisp radish and olives in a Simple Olive Vinaigrette. I barely consider this dressing to be a recipe since it is so simple: A bit of the oil/juice that preserves the olives, a splash (perhaps 1/2 T) of champagne vinegar, hint of salt and pepper. I poured the wet ingredients on the very dry lettuce and then mixed it well with my hands so the leaves were well coated. I sprinkled a pinch of salt and a couple of dashes of white pepper to the leaves and tossed again. The white pepper adds a slight heat without the strong pepper taste we associate with fresh black pepper.

My guests all loved the flan, which was served warm. At first I was disappointed with how it turned out, but then realized that I just prefer my flan cold. It was excellent with my coffee in the morning. Next time, I will serve my clafouti at room temperature or slightly chilled and I will use a deeper dish to allow for a thicker flan.
Thank you to Craig, Chuck, and Shelly (the photographer) for sampling my versions of Julia's recipes and sharing this meal with me.

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