Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy Birthday to ME!

Happy Birthday to Me!
Happy Birthday to Me!
Happy Birthday to Me!

I'm another day older (yippee!!!). I love my birthday. I get to do what I want. So what did we do? Well tonight we're going to our favorite restaurant for dinner with friends. But the big deal this year was a little party I threw myself. There will be another post about the main part of the evening, but in a nutshell--11 bottles of wine, four cheeses, two pasta courses, salad and an amazing dessert! I asked The Sommeliatrix if she would lead a group of us on a guided wine tasting! She was totally on board so we started planning. The main theme: Old World France vs. New World Wines. With a few odd ball grapes thrown in for fun. And it was a hit. I'll tell you more about this later...

But for the party. I had freshly made tomato sauce with tomatoes from the previous weekend's Market. The other pasta course was a specific request to pair with one of the wines--my rosemary cream sauce. Then I picked up some amazing cheeses from Whole Foods and made dessert.

I took this recipe--Pear and Vanilla Brown Butter Crisp and altered it to use what I had in season and locally. I had apples from the Market and frozen blueberries we picked this summer, so we had Apple-Blueberry Vanilla Brown Butter Crisp. Holy Rollers! It was amazing.

The filling. Apples, blues and brown sugar. A little flour to help it come together.

With the vanilla brown butter. That aroma is amazing. If for no other reason, you should open up a vanilla bean and drop it in hot butter. I think Paula Deen would call it redonkerous!

Covered with the crisp topping...Irish oatmeal, more brown sugar and toasted almond slivers.

After cooking, it must be served warm and with a scoop of home-made Spiced Ice Cream. The ice cream was flavored with cinnamon, cardamom, allspice and ground clove. Heavenly. IMHO.

Here's my table for the tasting. We all had two regular wine glasses, a sparkling wine glass, water, water pitchers, a dump pitcher. Cheese, crackers, Marcona Almonds, jelly (see below) and tasting sheets for notes.

Here are my cheeses. All were very good and we each had a favorite. Mine was the Saint Andre triple cream from France. Like Buttah!

Others (from upper left):
  • Vlaskaas from Holland (Gouda-like with crystalline nuggets of flavor, think little bits of salt)
  • Meadow Creek Appalachian Tomme from Southwest Virginia (mellow, creamy, grassy)
  • Parrano from Italy (pretend Gouda and Parmigiana Reggiano made a baby)
  • Saint Andre from France (triple cream, like buttah)

To pair with the cheese, I opened a jar of Cayuga White Wine Grape jelly that I picked up at the Market. This paired nicely with all the cheeses, but the combination of the jelly with the Saint Andre was transcendent. Eyes rolling into the back of your head good. Slap yo mama good! Highly recommend trying this!!! I have a phone number and email if you want to try to order some of the jelly...contact me offline and I will share.

A wonderful night...and I haven't even started talking about the wines! Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

Happy, happy birthday, scotte! -Liz

Terri in WI said...

Happy Birthday! :) Enjoy (it appears you already have been, tho!)!!!! Birthday hugs to you!

Kelly Marsh said...

Happy Birthday love!! You really outdo yourself for your parties - I hope I'm in DC for one of them sometime!! Have a great night and enjoy!!

Stef said...

happy birthday!!! dinner was so fun and delicious. And absolutely the first thing I did when I walked in the door of my home was to take off my pants. Good times.

PS - Liz was right, these pics are food porn. That dessert, topped with spiced ice cream? Yes please!

DC Food Blog said...

SOOOOO JEALOUS! Happy Birthday!

Dancer in DC said...

The dessert sure was delicious, but y'all haven't even heard about the wine yet!