View Full Version : Dinner Parties

12-19-2011, 12:46 AM
So I cook as a hobby, a way to relax, and give back to those I love. This is one of the reasons I don't think I could ever cook professionally -- I don't think I would care to toil over a plate of food for someone I didn't care about. But that aside, recently as a way to stretch and grow as a cook, I've started having dinner parties and serving 5 or 6 courses to those invited. And lately a few have gone rather well and so I thought I would share some of the menus I've done so far and maybe you guys would contribute some that you've done.

I'll start with a party we had about a month ago. I'm a great lover of bourbon and so one day, a light bulb went off over my head.

Bourbon Tasting Dinner
Guests were invited six course meal, price of entry -- a bottle of nice small batch bourbon to taste along with dinner.

served on a cold salt block with orange zest and chive oil
paired with an Aperol cocktail with strawberry infused vermouth and LaPhroaig

slab bacon cooked in honey, green heirloom tomato, butter lettuce
paired with Origine Bourbon

homemade ravioli with the all'amatriciana on the inside, served in a butter sauce
paired with Four Roses Single Barrel, from CASK in San Francisco

sous-vided and finished in a pan with thyme with honey aioli and roast asparagus
paired with Black Maple Hill -- my favorite

braised in wine, pulled off the bone and glazed served over polenta con fungi
paired with more Black Maple Hill

home made chocolate chip cookies with vanilla and pear ice cream covered in burnt carmel sauce and sautéed apples.
paired with LaPhroaig

I'll try to update shortly with pics of the food. This meal took a good long time to eat and as such, nobody suffered the undo drunkenness we had all planned for. It was a great time! Hope it sounds half as good to read as it was to eat.

12-19-2011, 01:16 AM
Sounds awesome! When's the next one? I assume my invite for this one got lost in the mail. Haven't had the Black Maple Hill, will have to look for it.

I have often planned to have a "liquor party" where to get in, you have to buy a bottle of a certain liquor off a list. Like you would have one for bourbon, or gin, or tequila, or whatever. That way you could have 10 bottles of comparable tequilas, get to taste them side by side and decide what you like and stock your cabinet with. If I tried to do this by myself, I would go broke and die from alcohol poisoning.

12-19-2011, 02:12 AM
I'm not sure when the next one will be, but not for a little while. Things are getting crazy with the new year and what not. I did one a week ago which was a kind of Calabrian dinner party for my friends birthday. I'll post that menu in a bit...

12-19-2011, 10:05 AM
Excellent! Be sure to take pictures next time.

How did you figure the best spirits to pair with the food? Any wine?

Eamon Burke
12-19-2011, 02:14 PM
OOO sounds fantastic.


12-20-2011, 02:21 AM
Cool!!! IIRC, that high end Four Roses hooch used to all go to Japan. Nice score. Do you know what the mashbill is for the Black Maple Hill stuff? i am originally from Lexington, so I was raised a bourbon fan. Unfortunately, the best I have ever had was 19 yr old Weller, which was a one batch run back in the 90's.

12-20-2011, 08:12 PM
Okay so I'm back with another menu. This one was for a good friend of mine's birthday. There were six guests. And six courses. This menu took a lot out of me, in terms of eating up a couple of days.


soaked in olive oil with crostini and arugala salad

a la plancha
First time I tried making pizza on the grill and though there was a little learning curve this was an awesome discovery. Quick and simple and great in the morning with a hang over -- crack an egg and some bacon on that sucker -- awesome Californian breakfast.

Wagyu hanger steaks rubbed with cocoa and put in the sous vide for 30 hours, taken out charred on the grill and served with home made sea salt brittle for seasoning. You crack the brittle with the meat as you cut and eat and it's a really surprisingly fun way to have a steak. Served with a side of roast asparagus.

Soaked in yogurt for days, then roasted and grilled off just before serving, lemon squeezed over just as it they hit the plate. The ribs were served with winter roast roots and romanesco.
This was a highlight for me. I love marinating meat in yogurt. If you haven't tried it I recommend it.


with olive oil soaked blackberries and limoncello sorbetto
This ended up being more like a 2 inch thick olive oil cookie. Was sensational.

with Madagascar vanilla gelato.

Everything as always is organic.

12-20-2011, 08:58 PM
How did you figure the best spirits to pair with the food? Any wine?

I thought about it like wine tasting, so we moved from "light" to "heavy". And it ended up working out pretty well. Most of these we had tried before. But it was guess work. I think probably doesn't matter if the the quality of the bourbon is good enough. Or if you've had a glass or two. :happymug:

That Weller sounds good also.