Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fall Harvest Dinner - October 9th, 2011

In October, the Foodist Colony took advantage of the last of the beautiful weather and held a fall dinner in the backyard. We had a wonderful, intimate group with some familiar faces, some new friends, and, of course, lots of good food. Every course featured local, seasonal ingredients. 

Amuse Bouche
We started things off with our take on the classic vanilla ice cream float, kicked up with a bit of rum and garnished with a cinnamon stick. Along with the floats, we served platters of bruschetta with a fresh, locally sourced kale and walnut pesto. 

Our guests get to know one another over floats and bruschetta
Ice cream float
Soup Course
This hearty dish highlighted two classic fall vegetables: acorn squash and beets. Each guest received his or her own individual acorn squash, roasted until tender, then scooped out and filled with a rich, earthy beet soup. The soup was garnished with crème fraîche and chives.

Isn't the squash cute!

Our guests enjoy their soup

Salad Course
Sweet and savory salad and homemade foccacia

Our salad showcased two of our favorite ingredients: concord grapes and fresh quince. Both are only available for a very short time in the fall. The quince, which cannot be eaten raw, was poached in a spicy sweet liquid to highlight its delicate flavor. The grapes and quince were tossed with mesclun greens, red onion, toasted hazelnuts, and a light lemon poppyseed dressing. 

We served the salad with a slice of homemade rosemary and concord grape focaccia. The focaccia recipe comes from one of our favorite food blogs, the Smitten Kitchen, and is much easier than it may seem. We encourage you to try it out!
Lisa and Deanna enjoy the autumn sangria

Along with the salad, we served a refreshing autumn sangria. Dried figs and cranberries were marinated overnight with wine, then topped off with a spicy cinnamon-infused simple syrup and fresh diced apples.
Alka introduces the salad

Entrée Course
The duck breasts get seared
As the sun went down, we continued on to our main course. We served fresh Long Island duck breast and, for the vegetarians, juicy portabello mushrooms. Both were seasoned, pan-seared, and glazed with a delicious savory reduction of fresh blackberries and New York state white wine. On the side, we had garlic-roasted Brussels sprouts and crispy eggplant chips

Guru works hard at the stove
Seema serves 'em up!
And...a close-up of the portobello, sliced and sauced, 
with the Brussels sprouts and eggplant

Roompa in action, explaining the entree course
Dinner by candlelight
Dessert Course
We ended the evening with scrumptious slices of a caramel apple bread pudding, served with homemade pumpkin pie ice cream. To keep warm in the cool night air, Guru treated us all to some hot buttered rum the perfect way to end the evening.

Caramel apple bread pudding and pumpkin pie ice cream...YUM

Hetal and Monica focus on dessert
Our youngest Foodist Colony member!
A calm moment in the kitchen

All the ladies
As always, we had a wonderful time with our fabulous guests. What a great way to celebrate the bounty of the season!

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