Ok, so I am waaaaaay behind on my blog. Remind me never to volunteer again! At least until I am no longer running a full time business. But I am back and do I have a story to tell.
Last week was the second anniversary of my father’s death. Each year my brother and sister and I go back to Phoenix (yes, in the last week of July we intentionally go to Phoenix) to spend the weekend with my Mom. Last year we all went out to dinner as a means of celebrating his life. This year I offered to cook a memorial dinner for the family at my Mom’s house. My mom, who had recently celebrated her 83 birthday with my sister and her significant other at the French Laundry in Napa Valley, thought it would be nice to to an entire dinner from the French Laundry cookbook. She said she would like 5 or 6 courses, and one of them had to be a beet salad. Hey, I’m game but wasn’t sure we would have enough time for all the prep work a full French Laundry meal would entail. So we compromised; a dish directly from the French Laundry cook book, one that was partially from the cook book and the rest based on recipes from such diverse sources as Midwest Living magazine, a Williams and Sonoma Christmas flyer, and two of Charlie Trotter’s cookbooks.
These are the courses shown on a copy of the menu I printed out for each person.
A Memorial Dinner
Salmon Bites Chez Carnehl
Chilled Carrot Ginger Soup
Sauteed Sea Scallops with Wild Mushroom Stew
Beets, Belgian Endive, Goat Cheese and Asian Pear
Roulade of Pekin Duck Breast with Creamed Sweet White Corn and Morel Mushroom Sauce
Profiteroles with Dark Chocolate Orange Sauce
Here are a couple of other pertinent facts you need to know. I am a gas range kind of girl – my mom has a glass cooktop. I have pots and pans galore – my mom has about 4 that were the proper size and type. Need a gadget? I’m your girl. My mother, on the other hand, has some important things like good tongs, a microplane rasp and my favorite adjustable measuring cup. But no slotted spoon. How do you live without a slotted spoon? Oh she has one, it came with her silverware. Not very helpful when removing mushrooms from a pot. She did purchase a SILPAT and a set of really good quality baking sheets. I swelled her ranks of ramekins when I purchased 4 each of two different sizes to hold my mise en place. But the most important thing to know is that my Mom and I had fun planning and preparing this meal. And it was a huge success! I was asked to cook again for next year’s dinner so I better start planning now.
The next blogs with detail the courses we had; where the recipe originated, how we made it our own and how it was plated. I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoined presenting it.