We're finally doing it! Our first blog post just under the wire in 2017. And what better way to start then with a look back at an awesome year of food with our top 6 (we tried to do 5 but it just wasn't enough) favorite dishes we made this year.
6. Do it Yourself Campfire Smores
Ok, technically we didn't make these, our guests did. But they made our list because they were interactive, fun and had so many possible flavor combinations. We served this dessert at our August PopUp Dinner. Each platter came to the table complete with milk and dark chocolate, homemade balsamic strawberry jam, peanut butter, bananas, bacon, sea salt, marshmallows, graham crackers and sternos to roast them on. If you're like me and you prefer smores with out the camping, this is the way to go!
5. Green Peas, Shaved Asparagus and Snap Pea Salad
This dish also comes from a PopUp Dinner, this time in April. We wanted a fresh salad that highlighted some of Spring's most delicious vegetables. We blanched fresh green peas and snap peas to keep their crunch and bright flavors, shaved some raw asparagus and mixed it together with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. The creamy burrata and nutty pistachios on top were the perfect compliment. This dish was served beside Spanish fried chicken with a smoky paprika aioli and roasted leeks with romesco sauce.
4. Pan Roasted Chicken with Kumquat Gremolata
We became slightly obsessed with kumquats this year (we may have even planned a dinner with kumquats in each dish). If you haven't already tried them yourselves, start looking for them in grocery stores and farmers markets nowish through March/April. They're just the right amount of tart and you can eat the whole thing (rind included!). A good friend said they're nature's sour patch kids.. and we couldn't agree more! We served this dish at two events: a private client dinner for Cambria Quartz and a private dinner party in which all the proceeds were donated to support Huntington's Disease Society of America. The chicken was seasoned and pan seared before adding white wine and chicken broth to the hot pan, topping it with kumquats and then roasting it in the oven. A spoonful of kumquat gremolata was added just before serving, complete with parsley, dill, garlic, capers, dijon mustard, orange zest and sliced quats. Pardon me while I head to the farmers market now..
3. Summer Corn Chowder
It may have been the friends we shared it with and the warm summer evening that allowed for alfresco dining, but this Summer Corn Chowder will definitely be a regular in our summer soup rotation. Fresh summer corn, sweet leeks and yellow onions, chopped fresno chilis, potatoes and smoky bacon in a milk based broth made us want to lick the bowl clean. We paired it with toasted country bread, a grilled apricot, prosciutto and burrata salad, and a cold glass of Pinot Grigio. Take us back to summer evenings now, please.
2. Fig and Balsamic Ice Cream Sandwiches
We typically enjoy more savory than sweet, so we surprised ourselves when we had two desserts on our list. But yum! These Fig and Balsamic Ice Cream Sandwiches are everything. Sweet sugar cookies, a little bit savory from the balsamic in the fig jam, a touch of bitterness from the dark chocolate dip, and even a little salty from the sprinkle of sea salt at the end. These were enjoyed by many at a private dinner party in August and our September PopUp Dinner!
1. Thai Coconut Shellfish Pot
It was hard to pick, but we think this Thai Coconut Shellfish Pot, also from our August PopUp Dinner, was the dish we would eat again and again. It had all of our favorite Thai flavors: spicy, sweet, sour, salty and bitter. Pan seared scallops, mussels and grilled shrimp sat in a warm broth of coconut milk, lemon grass, galangal, red curry paste, and kaffir lime leaves, together with maitake mushrooms and potatoes. Fresh lime juice, fish sauce and cilantro brightened it all up at the end.
Thank you to those who enjoyed one of these or any of our other favorite dishes from 2017. Feel like you're missing out? We'd love to help you put a dinner together in 2018! Shoot us an email and we'll start planning.