Summer Celebration Dinner
Appetizers: Bruschetta of Summer Tomatoes, Salmon Cakes with Fennel, Zucchini slaw and sweet pepper aioli. (second recipe adapted from one I saw in either Bon Appetite (BA) or Gourmet. We served this course with a nice summery Pinot Grigio.
Salad: Spray of Summer Greens with Grilled Apricots, Feta and Simple Vinaigrette. During this course we transitioned to the first of two amazing Chardonnays, a Far Niente and a Cakebread. I was worried about the vinaigrette pairing with the Chardonnays, but the lightly caramelized apricot (and a drizzle of honey) calmed the acidity enough that it worked.
Seafood: Grilled Halibut Brochette with Mango Avocado Salsa over Basil, Jasmine Rice. The halibut was lightly marinaded in a tequila, lime, cumin base prior to grilling. We had this course with a stunning, 2001 Reserve Pinot Noir from Cakebread Cellars. While I was happy with the salsa fish and rice, I would change the marinade next time to be less acidic to match with the Pinot. (any ideas greatly appreciated).
Entre: Miniature Applewood Smoked Bacon Wrapped Center Cut Filets with Port Reduction. Simply roasted fingerling potatoes. Wok'd Light Pepper Verts. The wine pairing for this course was perfect, two wonderful 2001 Solaias from Antinori in Tuscany, Italy. A wonderfully balanced super-Tuscan style Cabernet blend. This course was as near perfect as it could have been from amateurs.
Dessert: Homemade Simple Vanilla Ice Cream over lightly macerated summer berries with a drizzle of light Coconut Carmel and Zinfandel/Chocolate sauces. Topped with a few toasted coconut flakes. Paired with a wonderful dessert wine. EOS. A late harvest blend from Napa.
I love these evenings and the opportunity to celebrate with friends. Patrick's son Eric was married the Friday evening before, and Richard's daughter Steph was married this spring. In truth, I'd put together a dinner like this in celebration of a particularly green lawn or pretty rose. The time we spend together is priceless. Doing it all ourselves is the most fun of all.