Mindy came up with our secret ingredients, and actually gave us two to work with: basil and plums (and, owing to the scarcity of plums in some stores, we allowed people to use nectarines in a pinch). This was an interesting challenge, and we ended up with loads and loads of great ideas, and waaaaaaaaaaay too much good food. You may have heard that I'm more or less on a diet, but that's just silly talk when there are tarts and cakes and cheeses to be had, am I right? Yes, you're on my side, there, and that's because you're a good person, not to mention good looking, and of course thoughtfully tasteful in your choice of adventure blogs to enjoy. I like the cut o' your jib, is what I'm saying!
We had quite a few dishes, and I'm definitely going to leave some of them out, but here are the ones I can remember off of the top of my head:
Rafi: Savory tarts with plums and basil, gin cocktail with basil-infused simple syrup
Mindy: Basil pesto, fruit salsa with purple basil
Patsy: Sweet plum tart, cocktail with plum and basil
Kris: Plum cake, savory madeleines with chorizo and basil, bruschetta with balsamic plum reduction
Lila: Spring rolls with plum reduction
Emily: Spinach salad with nectarines
Radhika: Spicy indian chicken
Jim: Chicken confit with plum chutney, caprese salad with fried basil and fried capers
In addition, we had (I *think*) at least six different cheeses. By far the most popular was the French Jeune Autize, which frustratingly is hard to find online. You can get it as part of Amazon's French Collection (which is, in fact, where I got it), but I would like to just have some around the house. It's a goat's milk Morbier.
I know what you're thinking: "Well, that's obviously fine, Jim, and Morbier is a delicious bit of cheese, as I well know, but what about those poor sods who read this blog but somehow do not know what a Morbier is? Shall you heartlessly leave them out in the cold, unable to envision your delicious French cheese entirely?"
And you have me there. For the uninitiated, then, the Morbier is a cow's milk cheese that is made in the following manner: the cow is milked in the morning, and the cheese curds are placed in a barrel, and then are covered with a layer of ash to ward off mold and flies. The cow is milked again in the evening, and these new curds are placed on top of the ash, and then the whole is sealed with a rind.
What you get, then, is a bit of cheese with a beautiful line of ash down the middle, like so:
I will keep you posted on my new quest to just have it available for noshing at my home at all times!
Here are a couple of images from the day, including our initial shopping trip (we went a little crazy), and then some pics of my beautiful and wonderful peeps.
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, and I hope that I have the opportunity to bring you many more tales of food, friends, and fun!
Happy Foodapalooza, everybody!!
Tomorrow, ADVENTURE!! :)