My French themed (inspired might be more accurate) dinner…that is! It had been quite a whiel since I last had my usual suspects over for a home cooked meal. After Chris’ Italian themed dinner 1-2 weeks ago, I knew it had to be our turn to have people over. The main reason is to motivate us to clean up the house; big time! The second reason; for some good old company. The third; I really miss spending time in the kitchen after being in the workforce again!
I wasn’t in the mood to cook something random and French seem like a cuisine that would impose some kind of challenge to me! Plus, I really want to make some quiche. I actually did not finalize the menu until about 4 Horus before I started making dinner. Usually I have the menu pretty much nailed down the day before. It was hard this time when it was a specific theme and I wanted something that does not cost an arm and a leg. Here’s what I did beside trying to set the table as fine dining looking as possible with my limited dinnerware set.
1) Cheese Platter with brie; a soft cow’s milk French cheese, whipped cream cheese with garlic and herbs, rosemary cracker, French baguette and grapes. That was like an appetizer as we drank some nicely chilled Sauvignon Blanc.
2) Lobster Bisque (Bottom Left) – Made a huge pot of creamy lobster bisque; a popular New England Soup. Lobster was in season @ $4.99 per lb. We can afford some! =) Bisque is a smooth creamy French soup with a crustacean broth as a base. The husband thought the soup could be thicker. My other guests liked as it wasn’t too starchy and was light. I enjoyed it as well but agreed with the husband. Instead of using cognac like in many recipe, I used the cheapest wine Walmart has. $3 per bottle if you want to know how much I paid for it! =)
3) Creamy Seafood in Puff Pastry (Bottom Right) – Scallops, Tiger Prawns and Mussels were sautéed and cooked in a béchamel sauce with a splash of (Walmart) wine. Chopped chives were also stirred in before platting. I baked some puff pastry, made pockets and “stuffed” the creamy seafood into them. The result, a fine looking dish. Don’t you think? I thought it looked very fancy, and yet it wasn’t too hard to prepare. Best of all, my guests and my husband loved this!
4) Salmon & Spinach Quiche (Bottom Left) – I for some reason have been wanting to make this for quite a while. It was shut down my the husband and a friend when I offered to make quiche for dinner and both the boys wanted KFC!! I was finally able to make it for my French themed dinner. I did not mess with the crust and use pie crust instead and baked it in a tart pan. Smoked salmon and frozen spinach was the 2 key ingredients in this dish. I really liked this. It felt really healthy with all the spinach and we had plenty for lunch the next day! =)
5) Strawberry Clafouti (Bottom Right) – Clafouti is a baked French dessert with cherries and has a texture like flan. I had wanted to make a Chocolate soufflé, and realized that was a lot of work and chances of the soufflé failing was rather big! Strawberry clafouti has a last minute idea and I used a Julia Child’s recipe! The clafouti honestly looked kinda ugly when it came out of the oven. With the help of powdered sugar, fresh strawberry and mint leaves, I disguised the look and made it look fancy! =) The guests enjoyed this dessert and I was pleasantly surprised it tasted better than it looks. Next time, I will try it with other fruits instead. Maybe those will turn out better looking!
5) Ratatouille (Not pictured and no, not the movie!) – Chris made and brought this over along a bottle of yummy rosé. He layered tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini, bell pepper and cheese and baked it. Awesomely delicious! =)
That’s it for my French themed dinner. Did I mention we played French music and finished about 4 bottles of French (or French grape) wine? =) I can’t wait for the next themed dinner @ Seyda and Rob’s. The theme is English! This will be interesting! I can’t wait!! Any ideas what English food should I make?