The Night That Was…

Hi, just wanted to introduce the “Mayors” 1st ever Blog entry and  rave about one of the best meals I’ve had anywhere and he did it all in his Kitchen.


First course: Seared sea scallops w/ black grapes and almonds


Arugula and butter lettuce salad w/ honey roasted pear,
triple cream blue cheese and grape seed oil/apple cider vinaigrette


Herbed rack of lamb w/ pinot noir sauce; roasted
butternut squash w/ red grapes and sage


Dessert: Baked apples stuffed w/ honey, almonds and ginger
            Cardamom gelato

( no picture because Duane is a dork)

    The scallops recipe called for champagne grapes in the sauce. I
couldn’t find any, but the black grapes cut in half tasted just fine and their color provided a very nice dark contrast to the scallops in the plate presentation.

   My friend, Bob, asked about how you determine when a scallop
is done, so I showed him a few of things you can do (the last time he cooked some they were still “gelatinous” in the middle). First, you can go by time – a couple of minutes on each side in a hot pan should suffice (depending on the size of the scallop). Or you can go w/ a visual guide – the scallops appearance will go from translucent to opaque. Lastly, I suggested going with the touch technique as when determining the doneness of grilled meat  – the scallop will be nice and firm (but not to the point of being rubbery!) when done.
   Duane’s  Spanish cava was a great match for the scallops!

  The lamb and butternut squash combo was a hit if I do say so myself! The original recipe paired au gratin potatoes w/ the lamb, but I chose the squash instead (chef’s prerogative!). I love the flavor of roasted squash, it’s such a perfect Fall veggie (or is it a starch?… that’s your homework assignment for the day),  plus the prep gave me an opportunity to get some revenge on the perfectionist chef I worked for in San Francisco! She used to have me cut large amounts of squash into perfect 1/2 inch cubes for
her risotto…. for this recipe I cut the squash into 1 inch UNEVEN
squares! God, maybe I need therapy… I didn’t realize the repressed resentment I was  holding on to and the joy I felt doing things imperfectly!!
Cooking is good therapy as long as you don’t take it too seriously!   The pinot noir sauce for the lamb started as an entire bottle…. the final product was 1/2 cup of intensely flavorful sauce! We sampled 3 delicious wines ( no, not zins, pinot noirs!) with the main course. One from Oregon, another from California (Bob and Kristin’s offering!), and lastly one from France. Two of the bottles came from the cellars of The Wine Merchant – they have great wines and it’s a great place to shop too. All the wines were delicious. They each had distinctively different flavors and styles…  best of all by the end of that course I had a nice wine buzz going!!

    I served the salad course w/ the entree, but breaking the rules was the name of the game for this meal. The flavors of the roasted pear, blue cheese and slightly bitter arugula is such a great combo!

   Lastly we had baked apples for dessert. I chose this for selfish
reasons…  I love baked apples and it was easier to make than the other dessert I was considering! Plus hot apples paired up w/ a great calvados will definitely take the chill off an autumn night!! I typically do apples w/ raisins, cinnamon and rolled oats ’cause I love those flavors and textures together. However, in this case, the ginger in the apple stuffing meshed really well w/ the cardamom gelato. The apples could have baked a bit longer, but all in all they were still pretty tasty, and after all that other good food, wine and calvados…

          I don’t think anybody cared or noticed but me!

The “Mayor”                                                                          Pictures by “D”

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