Attendees: Martin, Jake, Athena, Julio, Simon, & Peanut (Gop stopped by to wish Peanut a happy birthday, too)
Hors D'Oeuvres: BLT Dip
Appetizer: French onion soup with Parmesan croutons
Main Course: Rib Eyes with Bearnaise Sauce
Side: Vegetable Tian
Dessert: Baba au Rhum
I can't count how many times Peanut's birthday celebration plans have been thwarted by bars closed for private Christmas parties. Although I may not have had much to worry about this year, I wasn't going to chance it. I would host an extravagant dinner party for him and some of his nearest and dearest!
Gop was in the 'hood and stopped by to wish him a happy birthday, too- and got a cupcake out of it, too!
I was so frazzled, though, that my food pictures aren't that good. Julio and Simon's gal pal Noel had us over for drinks a while back and made a BLT dip that Patrick loved, so I decided to copy her. It's a dip flavored with bacon and sun dried tomatoes, that I even served in a hallowed out iceberg lettuce head, per her suggestion.
He wanted French onion soup as an appetizer, which required that I saute 2 and 1/2 pounds of sliced onions.
Instead of a layer of thick Gruyere and soaked bread, which i typically find too heavy, I served it with finely grated Parmesan...
and some homemade Parmesan croutons:
The side course that was requested was a Vegetable Tian, which is a layer of (more) sliced onions, covered by delicately placed sliced tomatoes, zucchini, and potatoes, and midway through baking, covered with some finely shredded Gruyere. In raw form, it looks something like this:
This is the second time I tried to make Bernaise sauce, one of my favorite ways to eat steak, and I do think that I am getting better. Be forewarned, though: It's somewhat of a cumbersome process and can't really be made too much in advance. I was so tired by this point that all you get is this blurry photo.
But I woke up again when it was time for cake! Patrick and I have really fun memories of enjoying Baba au Rhum when we were in Paris and the waiter brought us the bottle of rum syrup with the cake. I wanted to recreate that, and I did so in four stages of excitement:
First Stage of Excitement: The cake rose (those are rum-soaked currants)!
Second Stage of Excitement: It came out of the kugelhopf mold with ease!
Third Stage of Excitement: Martin artfully displayed the candles (note the whipped cream in the middle)!
Fourth Stage of Excitement: Presentation!