Dinner Party – Seared scallops, coq au vin, clafoutis

I have had such good intentions for this blog! I have had two different recipes planned, that I wanted to post about! I made the meals, and photographed every step of the process, but alas, I was not happy with the end result.

Good Friday, Matt’s family came over for dinner, and the salmon cannelloni that I made kind of fell a bit flat. Or at least I thought so. And then, a few nights ago, I made one of my favourite curries: a butternut squash, chickpea, and spinach curry. But I rarely use a recipe, and in my attempt to peg one down for this blog, I ruined it! So I wasn’t happy with this particular variation. Though it certainly looked good. I’ll work on the spice variations and get back to you on this one.

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And then, of course, I made a really great weeknight meal, but wasn’t expecting it to be so good, so of course I didn’t take any pictures. (But, thankfully, Matt did!)

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This was what I like to call a “Poor man’s bulgogi”, because it has essentially the same flavours but with ground beef instead. It’s super quick and tasty. Top it with sriracha, a crispy fried egg, some sesame seeds and green onions, and it’s aces. Super super good. Again, I want to come back with a full post about this one.

But that’s not what today’s post is really about. This post is about a dinner party I held over the weekend. Three pairs of us have started hosting rotating dinner parties every couple of months. This past weekend it was my turn, and the theme was french. So the menu consisted of seared scallops, coq au vin, and a nice clafoutis. And I broke the rule of never trying anything out for the first time for company, but I did, with every dish. And it turned out okay! I declared it a success.

I used Deb Perelman’s recipe for Coq au vin, over at Smitten Kitchen. And it turned out perfectly. I used all chicken breasts, cut in half, with skin and bones, and I dredged them in flour before browning them. Other than that, I followed the recipe pretty exactly. The trick is really reducing the sauce to get that delicious concentrated flavour. It’s damn good.

Somehow some mushrooms, onions, bacon, chicken and a fair amount of red wine turn into something amazing. Actually, it’s not really that surprising.

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I went pretty simple with the sides, with some green beans and new potatoes, tossed with some butter and sauteed shallots.

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Dessert was Orangette’s¬†lovely recipe for¬†brown sugar clafoutis with pears. It was good, but I’ll be honest, it didn’t blow me away. Part of me thinks this was because I don’t have a blender, so I made it in my mixer, and it left some lumps. It was tasty though, and looked mighty pretty right out of the oven. Despite the lumps :\

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And personally, my proudest moment was the seared scallops we started with. On a bed of greens, with a nice little white wine pan sauce. I’m really glad these worked out, because they would have been an expensive mistake.

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My friend Andrea brought some nice cheeses (a fucking DELECTABLE triple creme brie, and a great aged cheddar), and I supplied a nice Ontario pecorino for a local shop. I also put out some nice little spreads courtesy of my dad: a sweet chili pepper jelly, a red onion relish type thing, and the favourite, a spiced tomato jam. The cheese board was definitely one of my favourite parts of the evening.

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(I need a cheese board that’s not just my cutting board)

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It was just a really nice night.