Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Femme Foodie Group

Lately, as I am sure you are aware, my attention has not been on blogging or documenting any culinary adventures. But this doesn't mean that I have not been cooking, dining out from time to time and enjoying gourmet delights. Actually in an effort to pursue my passion for food with like-minded girl friends, I have helped to start up a gourmet group! Planning and coordinating schedules in our busy lives is the tricky part. But the hope is to meet every other month and rotate the host. I thought a cute name would be "Femme Foodies" or "The Gourmet Gals". What do you think? Any suggestions?

We had our first official get together last week. I hosted and since it was Bastille Day, I chose a French theme. Everyone brought a dish or some wine.

I made a tomato tart which was a sort of combination of Stacey's Recipe (from Stacey Snacks) and that of the famed David Lebovitz. For the tart crust I used Martha Stewart's Pate Brisee recipe. In addition I once again made Laura's Veloute of Prawns and grilled up some fresh vegetables.

Others dishes that friends brought were: a cheese platter, a trio of tapenades (olive, tuna fish and eggplant), Gruyere puffs, light green salad, lemon tart, chocolate mousse, palmiers with fruit and whipped cream, and apricot pastries. And of course some very nice wines!

It was a really fun evening with some great women and fabulous food! I can't wait until the next one. While it is the host's job to come up with a plan or a theme, I thought I would look around for suggestions from other gourmet groups as to how they plan or structure the group. What themes are fun? What tips or recommendations do you have? We are open and looking for ideas. We have also thought that in the off months, we might plan to go out to a new restaurant or wine bar or something of that nature.

Thank you again to all my friends for a wonderful night and helping with the food and wine! Until next time!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Red Carpet Ready!

One of my favorite days of the year is Oscar Sunday. The glitz and glamour of it all is so exciting. The dresses, the stars, the thrill of the movies... all an escape into another world. The other world of the movies themselves and that of the actors and this life of glitter in the spotlight.

For many years now my mom and I have termed this day to be OUR "Superbowl" since we really have no interest whatsoever in the Superbowl itself. And several years back before I met my husband and started a family I had begun a tradition of having an Academy Awards Party. I had had about 2 or 3 before we got married then one the first year when I was pregnant with my daughter and then after that.... Well it seemed so hard with the little ones. I got lazy. Lazy about planning... lazy about inviting people... not enough friends in my "new life". My husband isn't into it or wanting to really participate and so I just blew off the party. I still watched of course! And usually made some good food to go along with the show too.

But now, I am ready to get back to some of the things I love to do and have put aside for so many years. I am designing a lot but now starting to read again and ready to put more parties and entertaining and dining out into the mix. I miss it so much. To ensure I went through with the Oscar party, I emailed a save-the-date. And if there is one thing I hate is flakiness and failure to go through with something you said you were going to do. So then I was obligated. I sent out the invitations. The party was ON!

I began thinking of a menu and how to decorate. I didn't want to spend too too much money and did not want anything that would tie me to the kitchen while my guests were here and the show was rolling. So the key was good home created food and decorations with a touch of Hollywood sparkle.

It began with the menu.... I started to think about the films that had been nominated for best picture. The stage began to appear and set in my mind. And I came up with the following!

Black Swan Bean Soup
simple and healthy black bean soup
garnished with cilantro, bell peppers, sour cream and tortilla strips

The King's Salad
the El Torito salad!
romaine lettuce with bell peppers, pepitas, cotija cheese
tortilla strips and cilantro pepita dressing

True Grit Taco Bar
flour and corn tortillas with carne asada and pollo asada
with garnishes of cilantro, onion, tomato, cheese, guacamole and salsa

JalapeƱo Fighter Dip
spicy jalapenos and green chilis in a creamy cheese concoction
with a panko crust and tortilla chips for dipping

Inception Cocktail
part margarita-part champagne
this sexy cocktail is made with a refreshing blend
of lime juice, tequila, mint and champagne

Winter's Bone Brownies
a decadent marbled brownie
with rich chocolate and a cream cheese swirl

Toy Story Snack Bar
all the favorites!
popcorn, red vines, licorice, cinnamon bears,
m&m’s, hot tamales and gourmet gumballs

I decorated the Toy Story bar with my kids toys! Fun fun fun!!!

I made wine charms for the glasses with the various Oscar award categories.

My daughter helped out by cutting stars from gold paper I had lying around and strewing beads around on the tables. The night was a success! Just so much fun and I am thankful that I dipped back into the entertaining game and for all the friends that joined me for grand evening.

And of course... you will need to start with the perfect invitation! I have created one just for the occasion!


Stay tuned for my black bean soup recipe!