Well, once again, I forgot to take pictures of the first course. But I did take pictures of part of the prep, so I'll just put those up.
Course #1 was Puree of English Pea Soup with White Truffle Oil and Parmesan Crisps
These are the peas. It was really tasty and beautiful. Served in a tea cup, with a parmesan crisp "lid".
We ate this and the Gruyere Cheese Gougeres (pictured below waiting to go in the oven) while we conversed and just sort of warmed up.
Course #2, was Salad of Bosc Pears with Roasted Sweet Peppers and Shaved Fennel. In all honesty, it was supposed to be figs. But figs are out of season, so we had pears, and it was delicious. The green stuff drizzled on the plate is fennel oil, and the purple zig zag is balsamic glaze. I think this was my most pleasant surprise. I'm not a huge fennel fan, but this was very tasty.
Course #3 was Sweet Potato Ravioli with Sage Cream, Brown Butter, and Prosciutto. This was SO good. I have extra pasta in the freezer, and I may just have to make it up again. There were little fried sage leaves on top, and even though I've heard of people frying herbs quite often, I had never tried it and didn't understand what all the hoopla was. So. Good.
Course #4, the main course was Braised Breast of Veal with Yellow Corn Polenta Cakes, Glazed Vegetables and Sweet Garlic. This was my favorite. The sauce on this was so rich, and everything just went so well together. The veggies on top are carrots, turnips, celery root, and beets. This is the dish I was the most nervous about plating because I had to cut the smashed veal breast and polenta out with a biscuit cutter and then briefly fry them. I was nervous about the cutting and the cooking them without them falling apart, but it was a lot easier than I was expecting. And we ate leftovers from all the cut-outs (or more accurately, scraps) for lunch today.
Then the cheese course. This is always an interesting course for me. I love cheese. I really do, but not by itself. I don't love it to have a particularly strong flavor, or to dominate a dish, and it often does in cheese courses. I mean, really, I think that's the point. This was was good. Ashed Chevreaux with Slow Roasted Red Beets and Red Beet Vinaigrette. We brought this cheese back with us from Paris, because I had read about it and can never find it here. I froze it, hoping to work it in to the birthday dinner, and it held up wonderfully. It was a little stronger than when we initially purchased it, but the beets have a strong flavor too, so it worked. There were supposed to be yellow beets in the mix here, but Earthfare is the only place that sells them, and they were out. They are milder, but since the cheese had gotten a little stronger, it probably was better that I used only red beets.
Finally, dessert. Lemon Sabayon Pine Nut Tart with Honeyed Mascarpone Cream. There is nothing pretty or fancy about this dessert. I'm really surprised it's in the cookbook. I have an extra crust sitting in my freezer, and I will make this the next time we have company. It would have looked a little fancier if I had a tart pan, but I just used a springform pan. I'm sure it tasted exactly the same, and it was delicious. Maybe that's why it was in the cookbook. T-A-S-T-Y.
The morning after is always a little bittersweet for me. Sad because it's over, and it's like my one time a year to really stretch myself in the kitchen. But at the same time, relief, because I can go on with my life. And also satisfaction from having a really full belly of tasty food the night before!