Super Summer Soirée

Baked Ricotta
Summer Soirée Menu
Grilled Lamb Steak over Baby Arugula
Grilled Corn on the Cob
with Mayonnaise, Cayenne, and Parmesan
Baked Ricotta
Salvadorian Red Beans with Herbs and Hazelnut Oil
Grilled Ciabatta
Vanilla Ice Cream, Rhubarb Jam Parfait
Amaretti Cookies dipped in Chocolate with Cashews
Vertical Tasting Wild Horse Pinot Noir, 2006 and 2007 

Grilled Lamb Steaks with Herbs de Napa recipe by Michael Chiarello can be found here. Herbs de Napa is a combination of dried rosemary, lavender, fennel, thyme, savory, and bay – an amazing combination with lamb steaks!

“Lamb steaks aren’t in many supermarket meat cases, so you’ll need a friendly butcher to make this dish. But every butcher will know what you mean if you ask to have steaks cut from the top of the leg, using the band saw. It’s the same cut as a ham steak, and like a ham steak, it has a bit of the leg bone in it. Grilled until crusty and medium-rare, these thick steaks make much more satisfying eating than a butterflied boneless leg of lamb. I like to serve them with undressed greens and let the flavorful juices from the meat dress the greens,” Michael Chiarello.

Pour accumulated juices over the steak and arugula.
Father Adam grilling by candelabra light…

Tom’s excellent idea was to grill corn on the cob, then brush hot corn with mayonnaise, dust with cayenne pepper, and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Chef Allison
The baked ricotta recipe is from Suzanne Goin’s Sunday Suppers at Lucques. You can read the recipe straight from this fabulous cookbook, page 186, at Amazon here. The baked ricotta is from her Summer Menu collection made with fresh whole milk ricotta, olive oil, and herbs.

Salvadorian Red Beans are cooked until tender with a couple bay leaves and smashed garlic cloves. Drain off any water. Sauté a generous amount of minced garlic and shallot in olive oil. After about a minute or two, add the beans and heat through. Add lots of minced fresh herbs; we used parsley, basil, chives and a minced jalapeño pepper. Finish with a drizzle of hazelnut oil and sea salt to taste.

Wild Horse Winery & Vineyard
2006 and 2007 Central Coast 
California Pinot Noir 
Aromas of seasoned wood, rose petals, dried cherry, and alpine forest floor, with flavors of pomegranate and Asian spices, with a rich lingering mouthfeel. A versatile wine, this Pinot Noir complements meals of salmon, lamb, poultry and grilled vegetables. $25


Aromas and flavors of bright raspberry, ripe strawberry, and dusty spices leading to a rich, juicy, well-balanced mouthfeel. A food friendly and very approachable wine, enjoy this Pinot Noir with baked penne, roasted vegetables or pork short ribs. $25
Consensus: We all found the 2007 to be a more lively, bright, fruity, and overall a more enjoyable wine paired with our summer meal. Thank you to Father Adam and Kirk for bringing the wines!

“I like this baked ricotta warm and slightly underbaked to a soft, creamy consistency. Avoid the grainy, flavorless commercial ricottas from the supermarket, and seek out a fresh artisanal version. Bake the cheese in a Spanish style cazuela or small attractive casserole and serve it at the table so your guests can help themselves,” Suzanne Goin.


Layer vanilla ice cream and confiture de rhubarbe in small clear parfait glasses. This delightful complex green jam was one of my souvenirs from our trip to Paris. Having fallen in love with rhubarb jam, it is now on our list to make from scratch. Perhaps you have a recipe to share?

Lauren dipped amaretti cookies in melted chocolate and chopped cashews, which were served with the parfaits. 
Consensus: We all agreed that this was one super summer meal! 
Thank you to my dear friends and excellent cooks:
Father Adam, Allison, Kirk, Tom, and Lauren
It is always an adventure and great fun to cook with you!

34 thoughts on “Super Summer Soirée”

  1. Obviously, the food looks delicious! But I'm always impressed with the elegant table you set! It makes everything look extra special.

    And grilled corn with mayo and cheese? Brilliant!

  2. What an interesting dinner party.That's a nicely set table, not to mention the gorgeous candleabra lighting the grill area. Love the baked ricotta (I'm off to check it out.)

  3. Lovely dinner!! Those steaks looks delicious!!!

    The corn reminds me when I was little. A local street cart vendor would pass by and I'd buy the corn from him with mayo, cheese and cayenne slathered on it. I miss those days.

  4. How can I get an invite to the next one? That was a fabulous meal – and the chandelier/candleabra was such a nice touch too. I was recently at Michael Chiarello's NapaStyle store and didn't know what to taste first. so many wonderful choices.

  5. What an exquisite dinner party – the food the wine the décor – very elegant. I’ll try to make the baked ricotta as it sounds quite interesting. I certainly tried to taste everything with my eyes.

  6. Simply a gorgeous meal!!! The baked ricotta is going on my "to-make-soon-list"!!! Very elegant indeed!!!

  7. Lori Lynn:

    I cannot wait to try the baked ricotta because I've been making fresh ricotta lately. So easy and very tasty stuff.

    As usual, wonderful photos! Especially love grilling by candelabra. Priceless!

  8. Doesn't everyone grill by the light of a huge candelabra??? I love it – so fun and totally memorable.

  9. gorgeous pictures! i'm imagining that baking the ricotta mellows the flavor a bit? maybe w/ the added herbs it's enhanced? what cut of lamb are those lamb "steaks"? they look a bit like shoulder but don't seem fatty enough.

  10. Thanks ALL for your nice comments!

    Hi Amy/Jonny: the baked ricotta was awesome, we were all impressed with how simple yet sublime it was. The steaks were cut from the top of the leg, my butcher cut them to order for me.

  11. Love the cut of meat! Ricotta is always welcome in my kitchen, oh and I guess the invitation was lost in the mail? 🙂 There is always next time…

  12. Thanks, LL, for being a great hostess and creating a lovely experience for old friends to gather and enjoy.

  13. I am speechless, so many things here to ogle at! That baked ricotta sounds and looks like a great idea!

  14. What a lovely elegant dinner. My favorite is hands down the grilled lamb steak. I'm salivating…

  15. Oh~ that looked like my kind of evening.
    You know I made ricotta a while back. Now that I have that… this will be my next step.

  16. how did you sneak that Laduree rhubarb compote in thru customs?
    They always stop me!

    The baked ricotta is a must try.
    I hardly use the Sunday Suppers book, and it's so nice, so not sure why.

  17. What a fabulous feast! Each dish looks more delicious than the last. Those lamb steaks are to die for! I'm going to have to find some and try them.

  18. Thanks EVERYONE for your enthusiastic comments!

    Stace – I believe that condiments such as jams and jellies are allowed. I have to look into this.

  19. That baked Risotto looks so fantastic! It pulled me in to read the whole post 🙂 Someone just recommended that Sunday Suppers cookbook to me the other day, and it does sound like it has some great recipes.

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