Last weekend we had several friends come visit us for dinner and it gave me a great excuse to dust off the china and silver and throw a small dinner party. I’ve already shared a post about the cocktails and canapés we enjoyed last week but now I’ll share the full menu along with some delicious recipes that we enjoyed along the way. Often when we cook for guests, I have two rules:
1) Make one dish I know will be a hit (in case everything else bombs).
2) Incorporate at least ONE component in each dish that comes from our garden.
* MENU *
Butternut Squash Salad with Baby Kale, Garden Arugula and Warm Cider Vinaigrette (Something Old)
This dish is a house favorite and I knew would be successful.
Garden ingredient(s): Baby Arugula, Chives
How to make it: I actually featured this recipe a few weeks ago as a dish that uses one of my favorite fall ingredients.
Homemade Rosemary-Scented Dinner Rolls (Something New)
This was my very FIRST time making a bread, if you can believe it. These rolls turned out to be delightful and were a great way to use the abundant rosemary I have this time of year.
Garden ingredient(s): Rosemary
How to make it: Check out the recipe in Food & Wine’s November issue.
Roasted Chicken with Lemon, Sage & Garlic (Something Borrowed)
Chicken used to be my secret “Achilles’ Heel” in the kitchen. I was always terrified I would over or undercook chicken and it’s taken me a long time to have confidence with it. Odd, coming from a girl who has no fear about throwing herself into pan searing duck breast, shucking oysters, or delicately handling foie gras. Ultimately, I conquered my fear (because I now swear by cooking with a digital thermometer) and have even become fairly proficient in butchering the bird. I can break down two chickens in less than five minutes. (I know this only because I had to do it once.)
Garden ingredient(s): Sage, Rosemary, Parsley
How to make it: I made a variation on this recipe from Saveur.
Roasted Parsnips, Carrots & Onions with Rosemary & Thyme (Something I Grew) 🙂
This is the easiest of all side dishes to make with roasted chicken and I was glad to put the last of my season’s carrots to good use.
Garden ingredient(s): Carrots, Rosemary, Thyme
How to make it: Just peel, cut into 1″ pieces and toss into a roasting pan with the chicken. I’m a big fan of the All-Clad roasting pan because it raises the chicken up from sitting on the bottom. The chicken juices drip down while it cooks and caramelizes. At the end, toss together and season with kosher salt and black pepper.
So what about dessert? While I’m increasingly getting more into baking, I know my limits. Time wouldn’t have permitted me to make anything for this round so I went the petit four route and offered a few assorted delights from the bakery. To make up for my failure to deliver a completely homemade menu, I served my treats in my glass cake stand with pretty kitchen papers underneath.