Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Gourmet Group

(go̵or mā′, gôr-; go̵or′mā, gôr′-)
a person who likes and is an excellent judge
 of fine foods and drinks; epicure

Some of my friends started a gourmet group a few years ago.  My husband and I have attended many of their glorious food fests...so much so that they asked if we would like to join them.  We were honored and said yes...there are approximately 5 couples that share the dinner, each couple is assigned a course, the couple hosting the dinner provides the entree.  This past weekend we hosted the dinner.  As the host you also get the "right" to decide the theme for the evening.  During a recent visit to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, we stayed at the One and Only Pamillia (highly recommend this place...just a breath of fresh air!)  The resort restaurant was created by the famous chef Charlie Trotter, it specializes in spa cuisine.  
(all purchases @ the O&O gift shop are accompanied with this sweet canvas re-useable bag..very forward thinking and stylish too!)

Having had such an amazing experience there, we decided to select a Charlie Trotter inspired theme for our evening.  This, is all well and good, however, as a first time host, it was wildly intimidating, the other couples have been doing this for years, this was our first!  
We selected the menu, and assigned a recipe to each couple, as the host you can also invite other guests to join in on the fun...since this was my first excellent gourmet adventure, and considering my dining room table would comfortably seat 12 we invited just one other couple. While it is not required, the "other" couple wanted to participate, so their charge was to provide the aperitifs.  In the CT cookbook,  2 recipes caught my eye, one for heirloom tomato and basil water and another for a peach lemonade, I thought the tomato and basil drink would be just delightful as a shot with a little bit of vodka, a salted rim and a wedge of lime, the peach lemonade would be perfect with a splash of champagne....I was right, with the T&B drink, although they went down so smoothly that we never got to the lemonade...another day;)

 (Nice ring Mental P!)
Many Thanks to Mental P Mama and Squazz for their contribution to our evening!!

The appitizer, consisted of grilled prawns with a curried cucumber yogurt sauce, expertly prepared by J&P!
  (hurry get the camera these are going quick!)
The first course was flawlessly presented by tsannie, steamed Pacific mussels in a saffron, fennel, tomato broth...this could have been a meal with a few baguette slices!

The second course, prepared by S&B was picture perfect..delicate steamed ginger mushroom wantons in a lite mushroom broth that left you wanting more....
The salad, was a mouth watering flavor sensation...a beautiful presentation of peaches, radishes and roasted red onion...tsannie out did herself!

(tsannie in action!)
Next, was the entree of grilled beef tenderloin, a side of tomato/leek strewn quinoa, prepared by yours truly...how can you screw up beef tenderloin...I got off easy!
The hardest part for me for this entire evening was making sure the table settings was up to par with the settings I have observed in dinners past...
We topped off the evening with a desert beautifully prepared with a flair by S&T...Chilled chocolate-orange souffles with chocolate sorbet...(we forgot the sorbet...which was fine by me...I am still enjoying the pint today;)  
Unfortunately, I cannot reproduce the actual recipes, but you can get the cookbook at the Charlie Trotter site...check it out!

Just love Sweet William
...I am just sayin'


Mental P Mama said...

And a fine time was had by all! Everything was scrumptious. I highly recommend each and every thing we had for dinner, and I am so loving that shot of Annie in action;) I missed that...must've been over at the vodka/tomato/basil station. *hic

TSannie said...

What a feast! I agree with MPM, EVERYTHING was scrumptious!
I washed my hands THOROUGHLY before tossing.

My hat's off to you, jules (and hubby), for your Gourmet Group initiation hosting, it was a SMASHING success! We have a lot to live up to!


noble pig said...

Wow, how great. You guys are brave...we only allow eight people (4 couples) in our group.

I love these groups...mine is coming up this weekend! Yippee!

Krysta said...

I so want the recipe for that radish, peach, tomato salad..