Thursday, January 28, 2010

Entertaining over the Holidays

Emi loves to decorate the house for the holidays whether it's Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas she always has a box of things to pull out to put up around the house. It's probably a female thing. I enjoy the festive feel of the house, but appreciate even more that she enjoys putting everything up and doesn't ask me to do too much, except help take it all down.

Since we had the whole house decorated for Christmas I told Emi it would be a waste if we were the only two who could enjoy it all so we decided to throw a party. My mom's birthday is about a week before Christmas, so we thought it would be nice to have her and the family over to celebrate.

It's always nice to entertain because it gives us a reason to pull out the nice tablewear and plates that we received from the wedding.

While shopping for this meal at Central Market a woman working at the specialty deli area had us try probably six different types of prosciutto. Some were a little tougher while others had a smokier flavor to them. We didn't know there were so many varieties. She even cooked up a couple pieces for us to try because we told her we planned on adding it to Emi's main dish and also to our appetizer. We ended up settling on the one above. It was sweet and not too salty and went perfect in both dishes. The stuff wasn't cheap, but a little bit goes a long way.

Our first appetizer was figs with prosciutto. Figs are in season in the winter and make a great semi-sweet addition when paired with anything salty. Most people haven't had figs since they were kids eating Fig Newtons, but it's time to grow up and eat the real thing if you haven't already. With this appetizer, I just folded the prosciutto and stuffed it into the cut I made in the figs. If I make this again, I'll use more prosciutto.

The second appetizer was inspired by a Christmas gift Emi's parents gave to my parents a year earlier. We bought some black lungfish caviar and served it with chopped up hard boiled eggs, water crackers, and Domaine St. Michelle champagne. The salty crunchy cavier's fishiness is cancelled out by the hard boiled egg on the cracker. Wash it down with some champagne and you have an amazing refined appetizer. You don't have to be a millionaire to enjoy caviar. Caviar is expensive, near $100 a pound, but this little container was about $10 and lasted multiple meals for us.

Our first course was Emi's pear salad with goat cheese, toasted pecans, mixed greens, and the light honey mustard dressing that Emi's friend Kelsey suggested.

My green beans with butter and scallions as a side dish to Emi's main course. This was an easy Thomas Keller recipe.

Emi's friend Amy suggested she make Giada's Champagne Risotto. This dish incorporated the remaining prosciutto and champagne. Emi also added prawns to the recipe since she knew some of our guests need some additional meat or seafood with their main course. This turned out really good.

For dessert Emi again brought out her new favorite toy the ice cream maker and made some lychee ice cream for everyone. She followed a recipe online that was basically a vanilla ice cream which she added some chopped up canned lychees to it with the juice. This was a great way to end a fun and entertaining night with my family.

We look forward to the next time we have another occasion to entertain at our house. It's always nice to decorate the place, but even more fun to try out some new recipes for our family and friends.
- Kyle

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