Friday, November 7, 2008

Wine Country Catering - Sojourn in Sonoma

This year we are staying at Wine and Roses, a Tuscan inspired pied a terre in the midsts of Healdsburg Dry Creek Road Vineyards
vines still laden with late harvest grapes and the best sundried raisins I have ever experienced and which I used in one the sinful spuds hors d'ouevres later on.

Flew into SFO earlier in the week and spent the afternoon enjoying the Ferry Terminal Market - the farmers were still outside when we arrived and we managed to sample a few goodies, like goats cheese and pumpkin tamales, beautiful persimmons, a variety of grapes that had the same natural flowery sweetness as the grapes we ate in Italy last month and more.

Inside the ferry terminal a bowl of clam chowder from Hogs Island really hit the spot, creamy but not cloggy, fresh pristine clams, still briney in flavor, and hints of applewood smoked bacon. They split the bowl into two for us and we had a feast with some delicious sour dough baguette and sweet creamy butter.

We stopped at Cowgirl Creamery
Barely Buzzed
Mt. Tam Double Cream Brie
Neils Yard Cheddar

we wanted to do Rogue River Blue an fantastic oregon cheese, but they were out of it, and so we "settled" for their own Point Reyes Blue

Another cheese we missed by a hair was california Burratta, which another customer purchased just as I asked if they had any. Darn.

in any case, we thoroughly enjoyed the samplings and came away with some great selections for Susan's cheese board

Gelato from Ciao Bello was good, but after Italy, gelato will never be the same...

We sampled grassy extra virgin olive oils, honey, gazed at chocolates but restrained.

Next Stop was Berkeley Bowl in the East Bay to pick up ingredients for both of our menus and to blow Susan away with the vast selection of produce, meats, fishes, spices, breads and more that this Berkeley Institution has to offer. Andrew and I have been shopping there for over 25 years, and the place just keeps getting better. They had 8 varieties of persimmons, all sorts of wild mushrooms, 5 different types of fresh hass avocados plus the other kind of smooth skin avocado, grapes that were even better than the farmers market, blackberries, raspberries, - the produce section is larger than many stores total floor space.

and finally the farmers market in Santa Rosa

Here's the menu for tonights cocktail party. A comfort food fusion of familar and exotic. Since the guests start arriving from 5 and some don't get there until 10-11 we do a continuous hors d'oeuvres concept which allows us to feed people for many hours without having food sitting on a table looking sad and old. This year we have expanded the passed desserts and had fun coming up with some new ideas.

Duck and pear wonton
julienned bosc pear with asian spiced duck enrobed in mango blueberry vinegar aioli

Rocking Fish and Chips –
shoestring potato wrapped buffalo shrimp popper

roasted corn and mango salsa in mini corn cups

wild mushroom, cheese, sage and bacon blintz in individual ramakin

grilled jumbo lemon shrimp shooter with lavender blackberry vodka infused pipette

Mini skirts in nice buns
a Philly cheesesteak takeoff
Pepato cheese fondue
filet mignon
Vidalia onion marmalade
on mini sourdough rolls

Sinful spuds
blue and red baby potatoes, hollowed out and stuffed
with cave aged crumbled blue, currants, late harvest sundried raisons (that I picked myself off the vines outside our vineyard accomodations), pinenuts, lemon zest and manzanilla green olives - a wonderful juxatapositon of sweet, savory, sour and creamy and crunchy. They can be served either room temp or warmed in the oven so the cheese starts to ooze a bit... cann't wait.

orange bbq pork in sesame seed buttermilk biscuit

Goats cheese truffle filo tartlet with smoked almonds, mint and meyer lemon zest

sassy samosas
- crispy flash fried triangles
of cumin scented potato served
with our signature house made
cilantro coconut chutney

Mt Tam Triple Cream Brie and strawberry jam poptart -

Green thai beef curry shortplate over red jasmine rice

Olive Tapenade and Sushi Ginger Eggplant Caviar
on cucumber crowns

Korean meatball shortplate - Tinged with Lemongrass, Ginger and Chiles

Mimi's Blintza cupcakes with fruit topping

Oatmeal hazelnut cherry cookie with white chocolate chips

Chocolate chip with pecans

Thin crispy brown sugar Meyer Lemon butter cookies with black pepper flecks

Fresh Meyer Lemon curd tartlets - the caterer we work with has a Meyer Lemon Tree right outside their kitchen doors. It's such a treat and delight to work with this gorgeous aromatic lemon.

Chocolate covered spicy chili coated dried mango
Chocolate dipped honey whole wheat pretzel sticks with crushed almonds

Chocolate milkshakes with mini raspberry donuts

Ice cream sandwiches - decadent chocolate ice cream sandwiched between vanilla bean wafers and dipped in dark chocolate

Chocolate orange mousse on almond tiles

Rosewater infused apple and pear crumble in individual ramekins

Triple chocolate brownie cup cakes with sundried cherries