Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Ira, Sarah and Pat enjoying the Pissaladiere starter.
Forkably Hip, the collaborative supper club event we hosted with the fabulous Amber, of Painfully Hip fame, was a superb success and perfectly timed. I didn't even know when we picked this date, it would land during Chicago's Fashion Week.
Pat, Brad, Rhea and table flowers illuminated by moody candle light.
All our guests looked fierce and fashion forward in frugal vintage garb as they mingled amongst the flowers and candles which decorated tables and dined on our French Provincial inspired 3 course prefix menu.
Rhea, Brad, Eric, Pat and Clair mingle before dinner.
The event began with a cocktail hour, where our diverse group of guests got to meet and greet while sharing bargain wines and enjoying the eye candy.
Sunday night didn't keep us away from the bottle.
After our lips were effectively dyed by our drinks, the meal could start.
I prep the Pissaladiere in the apron my sister made for me.
My friend Katherine, acting as my sous chef began serving the starter course of Pissaladiere, a rustic tart served on a thyme Parmesan crust with a spicy mustard sauce topped with rosemary roasted potato medallions, caramelized onions and capers.
This was served on a bed of fresh greens with a rose hip vinaigrette. The spicy saltiness of the Pissaladiere were complimented by the light sweet flavors of the rose hip vinaigrette.
Caroline and Emma, 2nd prize winner for our fashion contest, await the Entree course.
After getting all the starter dishes out, Katherine and I grabbed a quick bite, and then we scrambled back into the kitchen to serve the entree of of Coq au Vin, which was traditionally made with rooster and literally translates into rooster in wine.
Prepared by slow braising chicken thighs and drumsticks in a red wine sauce, we served our Coq au Vin in a garlic Parmesan pastry bowl. The red wine cooking sauce was thickened into a gravy and ladled over the chicken pieces and served in the pastry bowl with pearl onions and button mushrooms sauteed in smoked bacon. A red wine Portobello stew was offered as a vegetarian option.
Both dishes were served with a side of roasted root vegetables: Organic beets, Yukon gold potatoes and sweet potatoes roasted with rosemary and thyme. The beets, which came straight from my parents garden. Although I have never been the biggest fan of beets, when roasted they caramelize beautifully and the sugars heighten.
The sweet and savory potatoes help to tone down the any characteristic beet flavor. Whether you like beets or not, no one can deny their flamboyant beauty when chopped.
After allowing everyone's belly's to digest (and Katherine and I time to eat), we brought out the dessert course. I served an heirloom family recipe renamed to fit our french provincial menu (is that wrong??).
Plum dumpling servings being prepped. Photo taken by Caroline Casey.
Plum Quinelle (also known as Plum Knödel) is a potato flour dumpling wrapped around whole Italian plums. A sumptuous browned butter sauce with amaretto was drizzled over the dumplings and sprinkled with sugar to compliment any sourness in the plums.
Water jugs with citrus helped keep us all hydrated. It was a Sunday night after all.
All in all I was so happy with the group assembled. The tables were all active in conversation even though many of the people were new to each other.
Shayna, Dana, Amber, Jessica and Claire mingle during dinner. Photo taken by Caroline Casey.
All dressed up, we all felt like the beautiful people and the best part was we didn't have to sell our souls and our pocket books to get there.
Even I got dressed up!
For more pictures of all our fashionable friends, check out Amber's coverage of our stylish evening. Click here for my full Forkably Hip flickr set.
The beautiful hosts.
Amber and I want to thank all our guests for making such a good show. Thanks to Katherine and Ira for helping us with all the logistics, and thanks to you for reading about it.