Friday, January 11, 2013

Paris Soiree

Eiffel Tower luminaries lit the way to our Paris soiree. Cloudy skies with a drizzle of rain (true Paris weather) did not dampen the spirits of the guests. 
Many guests chose to wear some kind of French attire such as scarves, something black, boots and one daring guest even went for the mini skirt and tights look.   
Since there were several diner (dinner) courses and numerous recipes to sample this blog will be divided into three parts. 

The first part will be appetizers and soup. 

I realized the day before the diner it did not need to be a one woman show so then I began to enlist more help and looked for food items that were time savers. I really wanted to make cheese straws but settled for packaged ones. As guests sipped wine I don't think they even missed having homemade ones.
This is the recipe I wanted to make
 Cheese Straws 
Recipe from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten
  • 1 box frozen puff pastry (such as Pepperidge farm) defrosted overnight in the refrigerator
  • 1 extra large egg
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 tsp. mined thyme leaves
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Preheat oven to 375 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  • Roll out each sheet on a lightly floured surface until it is 10 x 12
  • Beat the egg with 1tsp. of water and brush the surface of the pastry
  • Sprinkle each sheet evenly with ¼ cup of Parmesan, ½ cup Gruyere. ½ tsp. thyme and ¼ tsp. salt and some pepper
  • With a floured rolling pin press the flavorings into puff pastry
  • Cut each sheet crosswise with a floured knife into 11-12 strips
  • Twist each strip and lay on a baking sheet
  • Bake 10-15 until lightly browned and puffed
  • Turn each straw and bake another two minutes
  • Cool and serve at room temperature
  • Options: Brush pastry with pesto, tapenade or sundried tomatoes instead of sprinkling with cheese
 Olive Tapenade
I bought olive tapenade spread at a deli and spread it on crostini crackers. Much easier than making from scratch. Guests were still sipping wine and still did not mind the snacks weren't homemade :) 
Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 6 Advance preparation
Place a 3 LB. butternut squash on a cookie sheet. Prick holes in squash with a sharp knife. Bake at 400 for 1 hour. Cool and slice lengthwise and scoop out squash. Place in a zip loc bag refrigerate till needed. If buying prepared cubed butternut squash –roast on a cookie sheet till tender about 50 minutes
  • 3 cups baked squash or Costco store has prepared cubed 2 LBS.Butternut squash in produce
  • 5-6 cups chicken broth (low salt, low sodium) or vegetable broth
  • ¾ cup half and half or heavy cream
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. Saigon roasted cinnamon or plain ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. curry
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. celery seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup chopped finely carrots
  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 1 TB. honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • In a fry pan melt 2 TB. Butter and sauté onions, minced garlic cloves and carrots
  • Add broth, prepared cooked squash, orange zest, spices, honey and bring to boil
  • Reduce heat cover and cook 30 minutes
  • In a blender add soup mixture and blenderize 1 cup at a time till smooth
  • Pour pureed mixture back into saucepan
  • Add half and half cook on medium heat but do not let mixture boil
Julia Child  has many good quotes and this is one of my favorite ones.

 Always remember: If you're alone in the kitchen and you drop the lamb, you can always just pick it up. Who's going to know?
Bon Appetit

1 comment:

  1. I bet this is a dinner your guests will remember for a long time. Looking forward to the remainder of the courses. The luminaries are a nice touch. And that Julia Childs' quote, fantastic.