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Jul 29, 2001 03:55 PM

a little birthday dinner

  • r

this last thursday night i did a little birthday dinner for 12 and this was the menu:

for starters:

a quartet of olives, kalmata, tiny green spanish, large green with sweet red peppers and dried fava beans and crinkly black olives with peppers

easter radishes with fleur de sel and fennel fleur de sel

beggars purses with osetra caviar

coconut curry shrimp on sticky rice crescents


new corn wheels with a trio of butter balls: basil, salt and mixed pepper, and chipotle


pistachio crusted sole with hazelnut oil sauce and spinach

pepper filet roast

individual potatoes anna with thyme

mini vegetables a la grecque (sp)


mixed garden greens with persalade and sweet 100's

cheeses with cherries, raisin and walnut breads

(we had four, i just can't remember or spell them!)


strawberry, blueberry, blackberry and raspberry shortcakes with whipped cream and vanilla sorbet

chocolate mousse bon bons

the thing i think that always makes cooking for this friend such a joy is that all the produce comes fresh from her atherton garden. we'd made a trip down on wednesday to pick and the flavors were pristine, putting even the farmers market to shame.

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  1. That’s a lovely seasonal menu, Rochelle.

    You’ve highlighted one of the differences between gardening and farming. In gardening, attention can be directed to the level of the individual bloom or fruit to raise prize-winners. That tender loving care pays off in the special taste of home grown fruits and vegetables. The farmer usually doesn’t have that luxury and has to work with much larger quantities trying to strike a balance between quality and profitable yield levels.

    Let’s pick up our discussion on what’s good to eat now as we approach mid-summer. Ideas, chowhounds?

    I’m reminded of Epitaph for a Peach which you can read more about at http://masumoto.com/ . To help support the Chowhound site, I’ve added a link below to purchase it on Amazon.

    Link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASI...

    5 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong
      Caitlin McGrath

      Tis isn't Bay Area, but this weekend I made what I thought was an ideal midsummer best-of-both-coasts dessert: a creamy and somewhat tart Meyer lemon sorbet with a sour cherry compote made from fresh sour cherries from the farmers' market. We just anout inhaled it.

      1. re: Caitlin McGrath


        thought of you as i plucked meyers off the tree this last week. am hording them in the fridge until i'm assured i have another batch coming this week. i think i may preserve some as i'm into the canning scene this week. i don't ever see sour cherries out here, i wonder if we get them and i just don't look hard enough.

        your dessert sounded delicious,


        1. re: Rochelle
          Caitlin McGrath

          No sour cherries in California; there you have to find them frozen or canned (in water), but these renditions are usually good. They grow in the midwest and northeast, and I believe my mother mentioned recently (while lamenting not being able to find frozen or canned when she wanted to make a cherry pie--she's from NY originally, and in the eastern half of the country, cherry pie means sour cherries) that they're grown in Oregon. I've never seen them sold fresh in the Bay Area.

          For my sorbet, I used equal parts unstrained (except for seeds) juice and water, a generous amount of zest, one fourth as much sugar as the total liquid, and a couple of tablespoons of corn syrup, cooked as a simple syrup, chilled, and thrown in the ice cream maker. (I've learned that a little corn syrup in sorbets makes for a creamier, less crystalline texture, if that's what you want.)

          1. re: Caitlin McGrath


            i wonder just how long we could keep a thread about meyer lemons going? (g)

            1. re: Rochelle

              Meyer lemons? Last night I attended a dinner party by an interior designer friend. Her dining room was decorated with glossy orangish-yellow Meyer lemons! A tall cylinder filled with them on the side board, plus three smaller and very frangrant arrangements of them on the table.

              I meant to ask her whether take some with me. But being cinderellish on a school night, I dashed off aburptly into the night to make it home by midnight, leaving Meyer lemons behind.