gourmet dinner club: amuse-bouche

24 Sep

Amuse what?

The theme for the latest gathering of my Gourmet Dinner Club was amuse-bouche. An amuse is a one-bite appetizer. That’s right. Just one bite. Every flavor must come through in that one bite.

This was a stressful one for me. I really wanted to come up with something on my own and not go with a recipe. I mean, it’s just one bite, right? Yep, just one bite. That’s the stressful part.

What we ended up with were lots of fabulous one bites. This group amazes me every time we get together. The food (and wine) is always wonderful, different and so much fun! My friend Kari was hosting and we got to enjoy her gorgeous backyard space.

I thought long and hard about what to make – running gives you lots of time to think about important things likes this. I knew I wanted to take advantage of the current Minnesota produce and create my one bite out of things I could source from the farmer’s market. I finally came up with an idea based on one of my favorite salads. In my mind it sounded delicious, but I’ve been burned by that before so there was no guarantee.

The base was a slice of honeycrisp apple (which I currently cannot get enough of). On top of that, I piped some blue cheese mashed potatoes (which were warm) and on top of that sat a chunk of smoked trout. Nestled below the trout was a tart dried cherry (from Seattle!) and I put another one right on top.

I must say, these were a big hit and they tasted just how I imagined them too. The sweet crisp apple against the creamy pungent blue cheese potatoes along with the smokiness of the trout and then the tart cherry….flavor fireworks going on in my mouth.

Next to my dish above is a lovely roasted tomato soup with crab that Kari made. Yes, it was a little more than one bite but we gave her a pass since it was so delicious. :) She used a variety of tomatoes all from her garden. Her tomatoes kick my tomatoes ass.

Aren’t they beautiful?

Let me give you the run down of all the other delectables that came to the table.

Shrimp and pea pods – showing that simple can be perfect.

East and west coast oysters – complete with two different dipping sauces. This was a such a treat! Liza had never experienced an oyster before….

She’s a believer now.

Lee on the other hand….not a believer. She avoided those slippery little suckers.

She did make me a believer of radishes with herbed butter. It’s so Ina Garten!

I love any bite that includes a crusty piece of bread. Here are two that are so simple and easy, but incredibly tasty.

On the left is hummus topped with an avocado slice and some cracked pepper. Can we have a moment of silence for the awesomeness of hummus?

Thanks.

If you haven’t tried making your own yet, please go do it right this minute. It will take you about 30 seconds. Need a recipe? I happen to have one here.

On the right side of this platter is crostini with goat cheese and cardamom grape jelly. Sounds a little weird, right? These babies disappeared quickly. It was such a unique flavor combo but they were super tasty. Kari found the jelly at the Mill City’s Farmer’s Market.

Amanda not only brought an amuse, but a baby!
He slept through the whole thing so Amanda was double fisting it with wine and the baby monitor. Her amuse was a spread consisting of prosciutto, cheese and some sriracha and cayenne for spice. I must admit I had to have a few plain crackers as a chaser as they had a definite kick! That Amanda loves her spice. Seriously.

Not to self: learn how to focus your camera. You’ll notice a few blurry photos in the mix today. I’m working on it. Really I am.

One of my favorites of the night was the Honey Parsnip Soup that Liza made.

Aren’t they adorable? Those are sweet potato crisps sticking out of them. I cannot wait to make a huge batch of this soup so that I can eat a big bowl – instead of just the shooter!

Liza was kind enough to share the recipe which she found here. Parsnips are in season right now so it’s the perfect time to make this. I’d also make a few extra sweet potato crisps for good measure.

Can we talk dessert?

We were lucky that we had two!

Kari made a classic fresh fig and gorgonzola bite.

It’s super easy and super impressive. Top a halved fig with some good gorgonzola and pop in a hot oven until melted. Yum.

Then along came Michael. Michael is new to the GDC and after his dessert, we will never let him go. First, let me introduce Michael.

Michael is even cuter when he’s in focus. He also brings creme fraiche. We like that about him.

Michael made a tomato tarte tatin. This was hard for my mind to get around – the whole tomato in a dessert thing. I know it’s a fruit, but to me tomatoes are savory. I like them sliced with salt, in soups, in salads, topped with mozzarella or on a sandwich. In a dessert? No way! My brain could not fathom this. However, after my ‘one bite’, my brain didn’t give a damn. It just wanted more.

Can you see the gooey, sticky goodness? It happens when you cook tomatoes with butter and sugar. Why have I not done this before?

Do you have extra tomatoes in your garden? Make this. Michael brought us all copies of the recipe and I found it online here.

Don’t like tomatoes? This might be one way that works for you. I really thought a fight might break out as we were snatching up the last bites. It can get kind of crazy at the GDC.

See? Shelby event wanted in on the action.

Fun times were had by all and Kari was an excellent host…who I do not have a photo of from the evening. Take my word for it. She’s beautiful and awesome and a fantastic chef.

***I realize I did not do a post about our Indian themed GDC from August so I’m going to have to recreate that one. I must create more time in my life to blog! :)

What have you been cooking up with your friends? Have any of you tried an amuse-bouche theme?

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One Response to “gourmet dinner club: amuse-bouche”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. gourmet dinner club: brunch « She said. She said. - November 19, 2010

    […] this was Michael’s second GDC. He made a huge splash at his first one with his tomato tarte tatin. The bar had been set high. Wouldn’t you know, he leaped over the […]

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