27 November 2011

An easy, elegant diner party...

Pin It Hazelnut was picked to be featured in this month's 24x24 celebration by Foodbuzz!  Twenty four bloggers from around the globe are chosen to have a dinner party on the exact same night and all blog about it the next day. What better guests could have been in town for such a special occasion than my parents!

I knew I had to do something special.  After all, these are the people who served me steak dinners on sundays, chicken chimichangas every year on my birthday, and fed me salsa by the spoonful when I was still in a highchair.

I knew they would be happy with anything, but I took a risk and made something I had never made before: rack of lamb.  I also made sure to do the majority of prep ahead of time so I could really enjoy the time with my special guests. 

With a fire in the fireplace and some beer and wine (except for Brian, who drank brandy... fancy pants!),  we started off with some antipasto.  I picked up some dill havarti, sopressetta, and stuffed olives at Whole Foods, which kept everything deliciously fancy and simple.  

For the second appetizer course, I introduced my dad to goat cheese.  

Goat Cheese Crostini with Caramelized Red Onions.

I caramelized the onions the night before, so all I had to do was slice up some baguette, toast it in the oven for a few minutes at 375, and top it with some goat cheese and re-warmed onions.

I also marinated the lamb the night before by poking holes in the fat and stuffing them with smashed garlic.  With some sprigs of rosemary, salt and pepper, and generous amounts of olive oil, it sat in the fridge over night and just had to be popped in the oven at 375F for around 30 minutes (or when the meat reaches 145F).  I just put it in with the potatoes that were baking, about half way through.

When the meat and potatoes were done roasting, I layered them on a plate with some spring mix lettuce tossed with olive oil and lemon juice.

After dinner, we relaxed with a game of hearts and finally made our way to dessert.  I had been soaking some sliced pears in brandy and sugar for a few days, so the morning of the dinner party I layered them into some pie crust.  For four people, you only need about 3-4 pears worth.  I rolled out my dough to about a 1/2 inch thickness, laid the pears in, and folded the sides up around the edges.

After brushing it with egg wash and sprinkling it generously with brown sugar, I baked it at 400F for about an hour.

Cut into triangles and served up with some local maple ice cream, it was the perfect way to end the evening.  Pears and buttery pastry layers? Always a good idea.

All in all, we had a great evening.  I wish that I could eat and play cards with my parents all of the time, but this made for an extra special evening.  Thank you Foodbuzz for funding such a wonderful night with some really great people.  The only thing missing?  My two smelly brothers.  I will be seeing you on New Year's Eve!


  1. I've never had rack of lamb, but my mouth is watering.....sounds like a 5 star dinner party :-)

  2. We hadn't either, but it was great! Very easy and very good...


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