Friday, June 20, 2008

Pacific Northwest Gourmet Club

I mentioned in an earlier dinner club post that the night I hosted had a Pacific Northwest theme. While that was several months ago now, I've been wanting to post the details and a recipe.
(I can't figure out how to get my picture horizontal; it is before I attach it!)
I was inspired by a book, Timberline Lodge Cookbook, given to me by my brother- and sister-in-law a few years ago. It's from a lodge on a slope of Mt. Hood, Oregon, and it looks lovely. The food in the cookbook favors seafood, vegetables, berries, herbs, and hazelnuts. Here is our menu.

Pre-dinner: Tillamook cheddar cheese and grapes. My friend Kaeley from college was from Oregon, and she always raved about Tillamook cheese.

Amuse bouche: Shrimp with a remoulade sauce. The remoulade is not very Northwestern, but I like it better than cocktail sauce. I served two shrimp hanging on a shot glass filled with sauce. It was really cute; the shrimp make a heart shape, so it would be nice for Valentine's day.

First Course: Creamy Gazpacho. Wow, was this good! I think it may have been the hit of the night. I was so happy to have leftovers. It's a great warm-weather cold soup. The olive oil and sour cream make it more decadent than typical gazpacho. I served it in glass bowls stored in the freezer. Recipe below.

Main Course: Poached salmon with hollandaise and raspberry sauce, hazelnut wild rice pilaf, and glazed carrots. The carrots were cut matchstick sized and tied with a green onion into little packages, which added to the cute factor as well.

Dessert: Hood River Pear and Hazelnut Tart. This dessert was truly labor intensive but delicious. The tart pastry was lined with chocolate ganache, then layered with an almond paste/butter/egg/sugar/toasted ground hazelnut mixture, topped with poached pear slices and sugar, and glazed with hot apricot preserves. I seemed to have too much filling for my tart pan, so it wasn't as pretty as the picture, but it tasted amazing anyway.

It was a fun night! I think the four children took out every toy in the house while we were eating.

Here is the recipe for the creamy gazpacho. I'm going to make it again this weekend. I'll try half the oil this time, but most of the ingredients are so low-calorie that the overall profile isn't bad.

Sauvie Island Creamy Gazpacho

Serves 8

1 cucumber, peeled and diced
1 green onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 bunch parsley or cilantro, chopped
1 T. honey
1 T. chopped fresh dill or 2 t. dried
4 cups tomato juice
1 c. sour cream or plain yogurt
salt and pepper to taste
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup olive oil
garnish with fresh chives
Combine all of the ingredients except the chives in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with chives. Serve very cold.


Kristen said...

You make my head hurt. Please include a review of all items next time!


Alison... said...

I don't know how you have the time to do all this... do you sleep at night?

It all sounds delish, especially the salmon!

When you come up here this summer, you are so going to make a meal for us!