Now that my women's dinner party is over, I can post the menu without spoiling it for my guests. This was my first fancy dinner in a long while, definitely since the birth of Baby G 7 months ago, but I suspect I had scaled back on fanciness for several months before that. In order to pull it off, I started my preparations on Monday, purchasing groceries and then doing a few tasks each day until the big day on Saturday. The food was a success, and the company (five impressive women in whose presence I feel honoured) was fantastic. The menu is mostly available on Epicurious.com.
Appetizer: Trio of crostini on Christie's bakery baguettes: fava bean puree with shaved Parmesan; sun-dried tomato tapenade; goat cheese with green olives
Salad: Arugula salad with manchego, apples and caramelized walnuts
Main: Truffled red wine risotto with Parmesan broth (the whole core of this meal—I have been sitting on a jar of truffle butter, and since my husband has proclaimed his hatred of truffles, I have been determined to serve it to someone who appreciates it. Hence, I kicked my husband and boys out of the house for three hours to host these women, who try to go out for dinner together every couple of months or so, at my house. I also collect Parmesan cheese rinds for the purpose of making this recipe and this recipe only. I cleared out my cheese drawer by making the broth.)
Dessert: Chamomile crème brulée (The best dessert I have ever tasted, once served to me at the now defunct Pesto's restaurant in Saskatoon. I'm pleased to report it can be easily made at home, as long as you have enough cream and egg yolks).
We also enjoyed some lovely New Zealand Pinot Noir--Devil's postpile, I think it's called. I had some French Pinot Noir as well, but most of it got poured into the risotto.
Considering the fact that we were working around the schedules of my own young family and the bedtimes of two young babies also in attendance, we had a most enjoyable evening. It just started early—5:30 PM on the dot, and everyone was on their way out the door (and my family was on their way back in) by 8:30. Well worth it, though.