This weekend I had the fantastic fortune of sharing it with my family. Particularly, with my Aunt and Uncle, Father, and Grandparents. Why the gathering? We were celebrating my Dad's 58th birthday. I love my Dad and I love celebrations. My Aunt Kathleen and I make a great team in the kitchen and together we created a culinary feast serving up a seven course dinner. We collaborated for a week, throwing out suggestions for favorite recipes. Below you will find a sample of our wonderful meal together!
Above. Our lovely table setting. We were going for an elegant, casual look. Despite the snowy landscape outside, we were able to find a simple winter bouquet for the table.
Above. Printed menus that Kathy created add a special touch to each place setting.
Above. We grilled artichokes and dipped them in homemade aioli. This was seriously one of my favorite courses of the evening! The salt and garlic drizzled on the artichokes during grilling paired wonderfully with the smokiness of the artichokes dipped in the creamy, garlic aioli.
Above. Does this look unfamiliar to you? To me it looks oddly like a gooey duck, but it is in fact horseradish! It was grown in my Uncle's backyard. He made a delicious sauce from it for our steak.
Above. Who needs coffee, when you can grate horseradish! If anything, it will wake you up in the morning. It's fresh and spicy and pairs well with sour cream and chives.
Above. We made a lovely caramelized apple bread pudding with a loaf of brioche. Our caramel sauce topping failed, but it was delicious without it!
Above. One more nod to my delicious artichoke. I peeled off each leaf one at a time, dipped them in the sauce, and stripped the flesh off the ends with my teeth. It is a process but it is worth it. And what is left at the end? The artichoke heart!
Above. This soup was amazing. It's a tomato soup pureed with chickpeas with some added spice. It has substance and a lot of flavor. I used the chickpeas I bought from the Palouse last fall, a can of tomatoes, chicken broth, and some crushed red pepper flakes.
Above. I bought red and golden beets at Pike Place Market and created this delicious salad with fresh greens, goat cheese, bacon bits, and a bacon vinaigrette dressing.
Above. I guess I'm not as sophisticated as I thought! To cleanse our palate, Kathy made us mint lime sorbet. To me it tasted like a mojito and I wished I would have had a couple more bites!
Above. And finally, the grand finale, our main course. We had grilled filet mignon with Michael's homemade horseradish sauce, steamed green beans with a balsamic cherry dressing, grilled pears with feta sprinkled on top, and roasted potatoes.
As I mentioned above, we finished the evening with bread pudding (no picture unfortunately) and some great conversation. We also passed around a bottle of wine Michael made himself. I couldn't of asked for a better day! And my Dad had a fantastic time. Happy Birthday, Papa!