Monday, April 25, 2011
April dinner with friends
Though spring has made only tentative appearances, hope springs eternal, so I set the table with yellow and leafy green linens, palest mint-colored candles and a fat bunch of daffodils and narcissi from the garden. There were five of us, the conversation was easy and provocative and the wine flowed. With drinks before dinner I served little tartines of soft goat cheese spread on sliced, thin ciabatta, topped with thin slices of strawberries which I then drizzled with balsamic syrup. A turn of the pepper grinder, a shard of basil leaf and voila. Pretty to look at and delicious. At the table, a salad of boston lettuce, belgian endive and baby artichoke slices with a meyer lemon vinaigrette. The main course was chicken roasted on a bed of sliced onion, new potatoes, garlic and carrots,and a cup of armagnac. After the vegetables were lightly softened in olive oil, I added the chicken and brandy - then the enameled steel casserole went into a 400 oven to roast until beautifully bronzed. The aroma when the lid was lifted - sublime. Dessert was a martini glass layered with sliced peaches which had marinated in fresh tarragon and gran marnier and whisked mascarpone lightened with whipped cream and just a bit of sugar. I topped each serving with crushed amaretti cookies and sliced roasted almonds. Good friends, good food - it doesn't get much better than this.