For the past few years, at the request of my mother, my brother and I have gone to NJ to cook her a nice dinner. This year the dinner request was hors d'oeuvres. A meal made entirely from hors d'oeuvres is kind of heavenly in my view. Or, it used to be. After 6 hours of cooking, there is a little tarnish on the halo. But it was a delicious meal, and had the added bonus of being able to be eaten with one hand. (The aforementioned shoulder surgery left her with only the use of her left arm, so anything involving both a knife and fork was basically out.)
I started with dessert, since the chocolate would need time to set.
I melted a combination of semi-sweet and 60% cacao chocolate in a double boiler and then dipped some fresh strawberries, placing them on parchment paper to dry, and giving them a couple hours in the fridge to set fully. Super simple dessert, but also one of the more perfect pairings of flavor.
There was also a cheese plate for snacking pleasure.
Top right: Roomano, a butterscotch-y aged gouda relative. (Or comparable to gouda)
Bottom: rabbit paté, purportedly made with cognac and prunes, tho I swear I found some pistachios in there, and that was in the description of the pheasant paté, not the rabbit. Hmm...
Either way, it was very tasty. Especially when placed atop the following:
Top left: Cremeux de Bourgogne. Perfection.
Center: St. Marcellin, one of my mom's favorites.
These were the various crostini and hors d'oeuvres that I made for the meal.
From the top left: shrimp wrapped in pancetta. Self-explanitory.
Top right: goat cheese with store-bought olive and red pepper tapenade
(I can't believe it took me 6 hrs to do this. I guess maybe only 4 1/2 if I discount "down time" but still, it was a long afternoon. It probably would have gone much faster had I used more than one pan, but instead I made every dish one at a time. After that, I am not ashamed of the little help from the store that I used.)
The recipes for the other crostini will be forthcoming, as that would just be a lot to put in one post.
The dinner was rounded out by some homemade crab cakes, made by my brother. I'm not big on crab meat, but my mother enjoyed them, and considering that the meal was tailored to what she would enjoy, I'd say that it was a success, and I can just suck it up.
But next year, Mom, we're cooking a regular meal.
love, your children.