We were a smaller group than usual this year, but that's ok - we still had a fabulous night of good friends, good food & good wine!
We started off with a wonderful rose, Montaudon, to go with gougeres that I made with some English cheddar, and stuffed with some truffle pate whipped into some cream cheese (in my new 4 cup Cuisinart).
We also had some home smoked trout by Andrew, that was brined in a maple syrup based brine (but perhaps left in a bit too long, as it was a tad salty), smoked with apple wood in the Cookshack. We served that on granny smith apples with a dab of horseradish cream.
Our friend Andy made a sweet corn chowder, with red pepper & crab that was outstanding. It was really thick and wonderful, like maque choux and butter made into a soup. I hope he wrote that one down (I know he probably didn't)! That went perfectly with a 2006 Turley White Coat that we picked up a while back in the Paso Robles tasting room.
I made olive crusted rack of lamb, from this recipe on Epicurious, which came together like a breeze -- I made the topping earlier in the day, then just had to sear off the racks, paint them with a bit of dijon, and press on the crust.
It was cooked perfectly if I say so myself (though the crust didn't want to stick), and went well with a parsnip potato mash with olive oil (no cream), and just a simple wine sauce made with veal stock reduced and red wine/shallots/rosemary reduced.
Next time I'll thicken the sauce a bit more, but the flavor was definitely right. We had a magnum of 2003 Vieux Telegraph La Crau to go with the lamb, and finished up (after a little walk and Travis Pastrana jumping the rally car on TV) the wine with some Beecher's Flagship cheese and some smoked almonds - home smoked again -- one with bbq rub (top secret) and one with hot sauce (Red Rooster) and brown sugar. The hot ones were addictive. Somehow I had no photos of the almonds... and they are all gone. He will be making more of the hot ones for sure!
For dessert, our friend Kate made a winter fruit ravioli in phyllo pastry, with some sauce that was to die for - reduced berries & wine. I need to make sure to get some ice cream to use up the leftovers! We had a Konzelmann Vidal Ice Wine with this.
Then we talked, laughed, cleaned up, and mocked Ryan Seacrest before popping the cork on a Dom Ruinart Brut & watching some illegal fireworks in the night sky.
All in all, another very nice evening in a great tradition.