Saturday, July 14, 2012

Mid-week dinner

On Wednesday, friends Jean and Nick came for some wine tasting (at one of our neighboring wineries) and dinner. We were lucky to have a dry day and a relatively warm evening. We got to enjoy our food outside on the deck.

Avocado mousse on buckwheat sesame crackers topped with chopped tomato and toasted sesame seeds.

The meal was kind of a hodge-podge of things. For the main course, I made a pissaldière (thanks to Susan for the inspiration!), a pizza of caramelized onion with anchovies and black olives. The origins of the dish are in the south of France, Nice specifically.

Little glasses of spicy squash puree with diced cucumber and onion seeds.

Otherwise, the food was a series of small hors-d'œuvre. We started with goat cheese mini-muffins which I've made before. They were served along side home-made buckwheat and sesame crackers with an avocado mousse, topped with diced tomato that had been dressed with a smokey chipotle tasbasco sauce (I think that was my favorite of all the dishes).

Servings of hummus and diced tomato, still in the fridge.

Ken mad a batch of his famous champignons à la grecque (Greek-style mushrooms) that we served in small individual bowls. This was followed by little shot glasses containing a spicy squash puree topped with diced cucumber and black onion seeds. Next up were servings of hummus (a puree of chick peas and sesame) topped with chopped tomato and sprigs of tarragon. We also had a saucisson aux noisettes (slices of dry pork sausage with hazelnuts) to nibble on.

Jean smiles as the pissaladière is served. Oh, and there was wine.

After the pizza course, we had a tomato and mozzarella salad. Jean brought the dessert: her version of Nigella Lawson's chocolate Guinness cake, which was terrifically good. I'm sorry I didn't get photos of everything, but for some reason, as the evening went on, the photos got more and more blurry.


  1. Ooooooh yum - it all looks and sound fantastic!

  2. What a culinary extravaganza! What are black onions?

    1. Cheryl, sorry about that. The seeds are black, the onions probably weren't. :)

  3. I second everything everyone else said! Wow!

  4. Wish I could have been there as well :) Diane

  5. Oh my goodness! Slurp!

  6. Mmm. Mmm! Too bad your camera was on the fritz... but I'm sure it was all better in the morning.

  7. I haven't seen a presentation this good since I was in France....oh wait....

  8. That chocolate Guinness cake looks fabulous!

  9. Walt, are the buckwheat and sesame crackers wheat-free? If so, would you post the recipe?

    Everything looks so good.

  10. I wish we had something similar; nothing is so joyous as seeing fresh whole vegetables for sale. They inspire cooking and are good for the soul as well as physical health.

  11. Oh! that just looks so good and beautifully presented. Officially jealous.

  12. Ooh, you've bought some of those appetizer-size dishes that I have been seeing! Your meals always inspire me! What a fun evening it must have been.

    Mary in Oregon


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