Thanks to Wendy, Rebecca and Darren for hosting yet another amazing feast to celebrate our long-time friendship and the Christmas break. This culinary experience is a bit of a tradition and not like any ‘eat in’ dining experience that I’ve enjoyed elsewhere.
2011 saw us enjoying a Japanese Hot Pot and all of the other dishes that precede it…
Japanese Hot Pot…amazing!
Beautiful friends….awesome chefs!
Prime Rib and a most amazing tea service. (I am only selecting a photo or two to represent the epic treat!)
Yet another feast! Can my readers believe the presentation?
Here we are some time years ago, likely after being spoiled!
And…this year…let’s face it, we’re Besties! YEAH!
Darren began by serving us roasted potato soup…and yes…absolutely yummy! The most creamy delicious soup! Unbelievable! On the menu…
“Potato soup with micro frites and green onion. Pork rib roast studded with garlic and rubbed with rosemary, pepper flakes and salt cooked over charcoal. The pork was served over steamed asparagus on a roasted pepper reduction. With the pork, were two potato croquettes topped with sour cream and homemade grainy mustard. For dessert, there were profiteroles with some melted sugar.
The extra sauces I made were: Parsley and garlic in olive oil and salt. Home made grainy dijon mustard. Raspberry puree with balsamic vinegar. Chimichurri. Pico de gallo.
I think that’s it. Was going to make fresh bread sticks but I forgot. Next time!”
The nourishment that our friends share with us is very symbolic of how we nourish one another through the laughter, the tears, the celebrations and the struggles. To be fed by others is an act of sacrifice and of giving. I want to thank my friends for the treasure of their giving hearts. I appreciate the empathy and the support that you have offered me. I also appreciate the good food and the good drink that brings us to a circle. Grateful…always!
And…because it’s the first anniversary of his passing and I really like this song…this.
I was included into a circle of friendship some time in 2002 and I’ve relished every opportunity to share moments of laughter and conversation with this circle since. I’ve recently organized my photo albums and woven throughout the pages are amazing sights we’ve shared; early spring wildflower walking, hiking, hot tubs and teaching detox sessions of every sort. I feel so grateful as I think about our journey. This photo…an early scanned archive from 2003, hiking Elbow Lake and Rae Glacier.
Because I recently enjoyed another remarkable feast with these friends, I wanted to plunk a post here, in recognition of time well-spent and good food shared.
Darren, Wendy’s husband, is the primary chef at these feasts, although Rebecca and Wendy get their fingers into the process where and when they can. Here’s a sampling of the treats that have been served us…this dinner, in 2002.
Butternut squash soup with a parmesan crostini with sage leaf.
Roasted peppers and fennel with balsamic vinegar and goat cheese.
Roast pork loin with pork gravy and raspberry reduction.
Potatoes poached in cream and dill.
All followed with coconut cream pie
Delish! With gratitude always, to friends who are in our lives through all sorts of times and all sorts of food!
Although the clouds were close to the horizon for the blood moon and the eclipse, I caught the last minutes out my own window once I arrived home. A beautiful night, shared with people I love.
Cour de Lion Cheese, Blue Cheese, Apricot and Jalapeno, Green Grapes
Wonton stuffed with Mashed Potato
It is a blessing to have dear friends to share good food and wine with. As we gather for our Christmas feast each year, I am reminded of all of the wonderful times we have shared. Darren, Wendy’s husband, prepared the most beautiful meal and it was served with a flare, by their daughter, Rebecca. I have not enjoyed anything like it before. Spectacular flavours and enjoyable conversation for an entire evening. Welcome to your new home, Darren, Wendy and Rebecca!
We really enjoy gathering as a family for Sunday dinner. This weekend we had a guest from Seattle, my cousin from Raymond, as well as friends from Speargrass. It was unfortunate that my son was working through the dinner hour. Lots of leftovers though! Along with friends from Speargrass, come two red dachshunds, Harry and Milo. They seemed to be the hit of this gathering!
Seattle-Pat and 94 Year Old Elma, Knitting
Cousin Margy Connects With My Boy
On the menu last evening: a large cross rib roast, wild mushroom gravy, wild and long grain rice, broccoli and fresh green beans and we enjoyed a new recipe for leek and ricotta on puffed pastry! This was enjoyed immensely and will be included in future feasts! Thanks, Jenn! Thanks to family and friends for providing the wine. All was topped with strawberries and whipped cream on angel food cake. (Will you whip the cream, Elma?)
In the case that any of my readers would like to try the new recipe, here it is.
Leek and ricotta pie is a simple dish commonly served on the tables of homes and small restaurants in central Italian areas like Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio. Individual leek and ricotta pies make an excellent first course for an elegant meal, or can be turned into an exceptional light lunch along with a green salad, a loaf of hot Italian bread and a plate of oil-cured olives. Serve with a glass of white wine rich with aromas and flavors of dried flowers, dried herbs and almonds.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Things You’ll Need:
2 tbsp. virgin olive oil
4 leeks, white part only, chopped
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 large eggs, beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. frozen puff pastry, thawed at room temperature
2 tbsp. minced fresh chives
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy sauté pan. Add the leeks and chopped fresh thyme and cook, stirring regularly for eight to 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft but not browned. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Push the ricotta cheese through a medium sieve over a large bowl. (I didn’t do this sieve thing) Add the beaten eggs, reserving 2 tbsp. in a small bowl for later use. Beat the eggs with the ricotta, and add the leeks. Mix well and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Roll out the puff pastry until about ¼-inch thick on a lightly floured work surface. Cut out eight rounds, four of them about 4 inches in diameter and four slightly larger than the first group. (I created a great big long pastry that I later sliced and served from the pan.) Into the center of the smaller pastry rounds, spoon a quarter of the ricotta mixture. Dampen the edges of the pastry rounds and place the large ones over the top. Pinch the sides shut with your fingers and brush the tops with the remaining beaten eggs.
Place the pastries on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 24 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for five to seven minutes. Transfer the pies to individual serving plates and garnish with fresh minced chives. Serve immediately.
Ok, soooo, this Asparagus is enjoying it’s third season! Yes! That’s right! And I had to expand upon the picture so that my readers can really see the wee stuff! I enjoy asparagus! I know that it takes years and years for it to establish enough to harvest it, but so be it! I will wait. I’ve left this small plot for things to ‘get going’ and every year, even after harsh winters, it has come back and larger, so growth is happening! I am left smiling, whenever I go to check on it and I know that more is going on beneath the soil than can be witnessed above! Hmmm…something else I really enjoy is fiddle heads, but the season is so dang short!
I enjoyed the day immensely…it was magical in so many ways! The day begins early as Max likes to get going at 5:30 a.m. every day! If I feed him after slipping outdoors, he now agrees to bring his baby and his monkey and his teddy back to bed with me and today we slept until 8:00. What a complete pleasure!
I updated my memory quilt blocks while sipping morning coffee and then Max and I hopped into the van, heading for the ‘Big Field’. It felt as though it was snowing…there was a real nip to the air…but as the day progressed, the sun came out and it was just beautiful! In the field Max leapt no less than three feet for some of the balls I threw. He is really quite amazing how he times the whole thing…I have fun laughing and clapping for him. He gives me so much joy!
One of my wee students came for her art lesson and completed her acrylic painting. A Masterpiece! I enjoy how laid back the time is with her…we chat away and enjoy the studio as we listen to Cat Stevens in the early morning.
In the afternoon I enjoyed a visit from two of my former students….an amazing young lady and gentleman, both with fantastic high school portfolios. They are heading for ACAD after they graduate and I am extremely proud of them. So smart! And so funny! I hope that they will stay in touch as so many other former students of mine have. I love to know that art is in their souls…and that they feel compelled to pursue this hunger that is within them. Thank you for the visit, you two!
Finally, the day held an amazing shared experience! One of the gifts I gave to my daughter last year at Christmas was a Rachel Ray cook book…and this evening, she prepared a beautiful meal of cheese stuffed potatoes along with browned hamburger/vegetable topping (steeped in a Guinness sauce). I am so proud of her and we were both so excited about the entire process. I am going to submit the series of photographs to Rachel Ray. I think she’ll enjoy them! ;0) Thank you Pigeon!