April 12, 2010

A Mossy Affair

I've been a bit homesick for Oregon so I created an evening themed around the Pacific Northwest. All of the greens, pine cones and moss created the cozy setting for the flavors of home: berries, hazelnuts, blue cheese, salmon, trout and pinot noir.
My mom shipped me pine cones from Oregon which served as place cards with muslin tags
Moss from Tillamock, OR was an amazing find at the flower market
I asked Amy to write out menus to put at each place setting as I have rather challenged handwriting. I almost died when she suggested taking it to another level. She used iron-ons to print the menu on muslin which then doubled as our napkins. She giggles each time she recounts my jaw drop and delighted face. Better than any Christmas!
Making gravlax at home couldn't be easier and it's fun to play with different herbs and spices. I wrapped one wild salmon fillet up with salt, brown sugar, paprika and dill and the other with salt, white sugar, fennel seeds and fennel fronds. Always a crowd pleaser.
The LA Fungi stall at the Calabasas Saturday farmer's market was well worth the drive. I really wanted to buy everything but I limited myself to a trio of mushrooms. Morels are just coming into season and such a spring luxury. The Frenchman at the stand suggested I fill the hollows of the mushrooms with a salmon mousse. I already had salmon curing at home so I opted for a soft sheep's milk cheese with fresh chervil and set the morels on a salad of shaved white asparagus. I then sauteed the hen of the woods mushrooms with blackberries and thyme and served on grilled brioche, brushed with truffle oil. Rounding out the plate, a shot glass of shitake mushroom soup.Sampling Oregon blues at the Artisinal Cheese Gallery on Ventura was heaven. I'm a bit of a sample glutton. I selected Echo Mountain blue and paired it with smoked trout and hazelnuts on a bed of wilted arugula and spinach in a warm hazelnut sherry vinaigrette.
I braised the duck legs in pinot noir while Greg smoked the breasts on my new smoker. The cherry-port compote pulled it all together. And swiss chard has become to me what corn was last summer: the thing I want to eat at every meal!
And finally, the party favors. Last weekend I canned jars of agave sweetened, meyer lemon-strawberry compote sweetly labeled to take home.

the menu

house cured spiced wild salmon gravlax on pumpernickel with dill mustard sauce
house cured herbed wild salmon gravlax on cucumber rounds with cream cheese and capers
house pickled spicy dill fennel and cucumber

trio of mushrooms
morels stuffed with fresh sheep's milk cheese and served on a shaved white asparagus and chervil salad
hen of the woods mushrooms sauteed with blackberries, thyme and truffle oil on grilled brioche
shitake mushroom soup

wilted greens with smoked trout, echo mountain blue cheese, hazelnuts

duo of duck
legs braised in pinot noir, smoked breast, parsnip puree, swiss chard with a cherry port sauce

spiced buttermilk cake with pinot noir berry sauce and whipped cream
three chocolate hazelnut tart

dark and stormy cocktail
oregon's king estate pinot grigio and argyle pinot noir
deschutes brewery seasonal ipa

inspired by the Wildwood cookbook...a must buy for any lover of food

6 comments:

Amelia Jean Alvarez said...

The intensity of your vision is beautiful and honestly makes me wonder how you were ever not doing this!

amy blessing said...

thank you annie, this was so amazing-

Deirdre Zahl said...

No biggie, just "canned jars of agave sweetened, meyer lemon-strawberry compote" as part favors. Amazing.

Louise said...

Hmm. . . muslin tags. Annie, you're too much! Your dinner party looks so beautiful. You know how I love Oregon, so I was just drooling over your evening.

Michelle said...

Looks so wonderful. I love big pinecones, too. Get to gather them when we are in the Eastern Sierra. So many things that can be done with them. Love, love, love the party favors. We did this at our wedding -- jam in mason jars made by my mother-in-law -- we made cute little personalized labels-- it was a HUGE hit.

Apres Fete said...

Michelle--Thanks for the compliments...If you love pinecones, you should look at bbbcraft.blogspot.com My close friends are always bringing pine cones and nature into their ideas!

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