Sunday, January 10, 2010

what I did on my christmas vacation: french food dinner party

Our friends Mike and Jocelyn hosted an insane French food dinner party over the holidays -- basically they assign courses, email you the recipe and then you all gather to cook and eat. I love this style of dinner party -- it's kind of like a jacked up potluck. We started eating at 6pm and finished about 2am. This party was epic.

Here's the night in a nutshell. A nutshell complete with recipes:

Began the night with a lovely aperitif courtesy of our friend Sean -- a sparkling French wine mixed with Cassis. I could have had about 10 of these.

Following the pre-dinner drinks we were treated to a Pissaladiere courtesy of Miss Gomm -- a delicious little tart of buckets of caramelized onions, olives and anchovies.

Post Pissaladiere it was time for the mushroom soup from Les Halles that our chefs Sylvia and Randy confessed was essentially made of pureed mushrooms and tons of butter. It was like velvet in a bowl.

Following the soup was Moules Normande, another insane recipe from Les Halles.

It started like this, with a gigantic pot of mussels, a plate of mushrooms and two enormous pots of bacon.


Then to the enormous pots of bacon he added apples and an entire container of cream.

Then enter the giant pot of mussels. People were fainting from anticipation.

After the mussels, we ate something that I will not soon forget -- a chicken liver salad with hot bacon dressing and croutons. Sounds innocent enough until you watch it get made. Basically a meat salad served with bacon fat drizzled over the top of it!!! My heart almost stopped eating this salad.

Here's Dan beginning the process. He cooked the bacon pieces ahead of time and here he is putting the bacon fat from that cooking back into the pan to cook the bacon in a second time.

This salad will go down in history as the most delicious and likely unhealthy salad in the history of salads.

At this point in the night it's about 1am and what's better to do at 1am than eat cassoulet??? Man, eating a giant bowl full of beans, duck conflit, pork belly and pork sausage at 1am is an art I have not yet mastered.

Here's Mike with the hero dish of the night that they spent days, literally days, preparing. Delicious.

Our course was the dessert course and by that time we'd actually had some excess food casualties. There were good efforts made by all but the sheer volume and richness of the food proved too much for some party-goers. Alas we have no pictures of our delicious pear clafouti but take my word for it when I say it was light and fluffy and delicious.

This night was epic on every level and I'm not even joking when I say that the next day I could literally smell the butter oozing from my pores.

I recommend re-creating this entire menu yourselves. Just start eating earlier in the day.

Oh and at the end of the night Mike impressed us all with his table clearing skills. Very impressive.

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