Leah’s “Tasting Menu” Dinner for the Family

14 Aug

Leah loves to cook and we love to eat.  When we were on vacation a couple of years ago, we ate at a restaurant in an old hotel called the Gibson Inn in Apalachicola, Florida.  The menu was different from any other we’d experienced.  It was a “tasting menu”, in that there were several courses to choose from and portions were smaller so that you could experience a variety of foods.  Instead of ordering an entree with sides, you ordered the number of courses you wanted and then had some choices within each course.  When  we returned to that area over the summer, we were sad to see that that restaurant (Avenue C) was no longer there.  But since that time, Leah has taken  that idea and created a couple of superb dinners for the  family.  Tonight’s dinner included the whole family plus both sets of grandparents.  I knew this would be a memorable treat for all of  us!  Like I’ve said before, some of our most memorable experiences as a family involve food!  It was as elegant and just as tasty as any restaurant I’ve enjoyed.    Leah spent a lot of time planning the menu and two full days of cooking!  Anna served as the refiller of drinks and she took her job very seriously.  She also cleared the plates after each course.  Below is a brief summary of the courses Leah prepared and pictures of what we ate.  She made everything from scratch! (thus the two days of cooking!)

The first course was an assortment of homemade breads.  The breads included a round loaf of Crusty Bread (her 19-hour bread recipe will be in a future post), a Black olive and Garlic Foccacia, and an Oat Wheat bread.  She served these with a dipping oil consisting of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and herbs, she also made honey butter.

The second course was a cheese course.  She put a wedge of brie cheese on a plate, sprinkled it with pistachios and drizzled with honey and warmed this in the oven.  Once it was warmed, she placed very thinly sliced Granny Smith apples and buttercrunch lettuce on the plate.  It was served with thinly sliced French Baguette.  It was a wonderful combination of flavors.

The third dish she brought out was a salad consisting of mixed baby greens with two types of pan-fried goat cheese; onion and chive, and herb.  She rolled the goat cheese in the coating mixtures, then sliced it into rounds.  The rounds  were dipped in egg white and then into bread crumbs.  She then browned the cheese in a little olive oil in a skillet.  The goat cheese was warm and was a great combination with the cool crisp salad greens.  She drizzled the greens with a lemon vinaigrette dressing.

Next, she brought out a lemon mint sorbet that she had made ahead of time.  Each serving was about 2 tablespoons, just enough to prepare us for the main courses.  It was very refreshing.

After the sorbet, we had warm bowl of creamy risotto with two types of fresh mushrooms, Crimmini and Portabella.  It was delicious.  She topped it with fresh parmesan and some fresh herbs.

We were getting pretty full by this time, but the best was yet to come!  For the main course, she prepared pork tenderloin which she marinated the day ahead in a citrus herb marinade, then seared in a skillet and baked in the oven.  She sliced it into rounds and served it with oven roasted vegetables.  The vegetables consisted of fingerling potatoes, fennel, fresh asparagus, and green beans.  I had never had fennel before (and we were unable to buy it here, her brother had to bring it with him from a grocery store in Nashville). The vegatables were seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Delicious.

As if all of that was not enough; she presented a trio of desserts to each of us!  They included red velvet cake, and instead of icing the cake she served it with a homemade cream cheese ice cream (she told me the ice cream recipe included 12 egg yolks and 1 pound of cream cheese!  No wonder it was so good)  The cake and ice cream was sprinkled with pecan halves she had toasted and coated with a brown sugar and cream mixture.  It gave the pecans a sweet crunchy glazeing.  She made the ice cream earlier in the day in an electric ice cream freezer.  The second dessert was vanillacheesecake with a strawberry sauce she made from fresh strawberries (another pound of cream cheese used!) and whipped cream and last but certainly not least, was a chocolate tart with a chocolate crust and a chocolate glaze topped with chocolate curls!  Oh my!  I think only one of us was able to finish all of our dessert, and that person shall remain nameless, but it wasn’t me!

To conclude the evening, she brought out a platter of homemade cream cheese mints (more cream cheese).  It was just the right ending to a most memorable meal!

I think she could make some money doing this!  It was so much fun, and each course got lots of oohs and aaahs as she brought it out.  We laughed and talked and ate until we were all miserable, but it’s a meal we won’t forget.  Thanks Leah!


One Response to “Leah’s “Tasting Menu” Dinner for the Family”

  1. Karen Coleman August 15, 2010 at 7:43 pm #

    Sounds like you have a VERY talented daughter! Maybe she should be the Next Food Network Star!

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