Artichoke, Spicy Tomato Broth, Two Ways

globe artichoke tomato broth
Globe Artichoke in Spicy Tomato Broth
Garlic, Capers, Chiles de Arboles, Croutons

artichoke heart crostini
Artichoke Heart Crostini
Tomato, Garlic, Capers, Chiles de Arboles

☆☆☆☆☆

Steamed artichoke served with a ramekin each of drawn butter and mayonnaise is so 70’s. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, it’s a delicious classic pairing after all. I remember my date, his name was Jeff, teaching me how to eat an artichoke. The year was 1978 at The Chart House in Aspen, Colorado. He showed me how to pull the outermost petals and dip them in the melted butter. How to scrape the meat from each petal with my bottom teeth. Slow, methodical, sensual. Fast forward 34 years, I’m still a fan of artichokes, but alas, not so much a fan of saturated fat accompaniments…

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The Gratitude Tree & Holiday Appetizers

The Gratitude Tree
The Gratitude Tree

After a decade of sharing our Thanksgiving gratitude on place-cards, we have a spiffy new ambassador for sharing our thankfulness! It’s a Gratitude Tree. In the past, we would put a place-card and pen on the table at every setting. During the beginning of the meal everyone was encouraged to write their sentiments on the card. We saved these cards year after year so each guest could reflect on past years’ appreciation.

This year everyone gets a personalized paper leaf on which they can express their gratitude. Then after dinner, the leaves are hung on the tree. Guests can read and share tributes throughout the week. We’ll save the leaves, which will re-appear on the tree in years to come…as our tree blooms with an abundance of joy, thankfulness, and gratefulness.

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“Truffle Heaven” Crostini

“Truffle Heaven” Crostini
Fresh French Black Winter Truffle, Italian Truffle Cheese, Truffle Oil
with Shiitake and Frisée

A framed description of our “black diamond” is placed on the buffet.

This one ounce beauty is from Gourmet Attitude, importer of fresh truffles and fine truffle products in New York City. It is a good year for truffles, ours hails from the Village of Grignan in the South of France. The subterranean treasure was located by three female yellow Labrador retrievers with a family in its fourth generation of truffle hunting. I was told that dogs are preferred over pigs to hunt  truffles nowadays, for one reason, it’s difficult to get a pig in and out of the car! Also, apparently the pig’s love for truffles is as ardent as ours, so she simply cannot stop herself from eating the $85/oz. delicacy. Dogs are much more obedient!

The black winter truffle is available December through March. This Fresh Black Winter Truffle (Tuber Melanosporum Vittadini) has in intense perfume with a bouquet of wet forest, humus, chocolate, and a hint of hazelnut. Our guests are surely in for a treat!

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A Foodie Christmas Dinner Party

Menu

appetizer

Three Holiday Crostini Served with Bubbly:

Italian Truffle Cheese, Truffled Shiitake, Truffled Frisee
Cambozola, Cranberry Orange Relish, Walnut
Foie Gras Paté

dinner

Lori Lynn’s

Spicy Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Creme Fraiche
Garnished with Toasted Coconut, Chopped Cashews, Dried Pomegranate Arils

Gail’s

Bejeweled Endive Christmas Salad
Radish, Shallot, Basil, Fresh Pomegranate Seed
Creamy Champagne Thyme Vinaigrette

Lori Lynn’s

Roasted Cornish Game Hen
Meyer Lemon, Fennel, Olive, Garlic
Meyer Lemon Cream Fraiche “Gravy”

Pat’s

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Sally’s

Brussels Sprouts with Hollandaise

Lauren’s

Warm Chocolate Lava Cake
Peppermint Chip Ice Cream

A few days before Christmas I hosted A Foodie Christmas Dinner Party for my friends. Everyone was to bring a dish and wine. I had said that I would be making Cornish game hen and the rest of the menu was open. Without any formal planning, the menu evolved and the dinner turned out fabulous! My only direction was to let the cooks know what menu category was available. Since we are foodie friends that have been cooking together for years, it shouldn’t have surprised me that the random menu items complemented each other perfectly.

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