Friday, was the day our guests came. One guest was a good and old friend and his date, the second couple we knew but just enough to say "hi" whenever we saw them someplace and the third couple we had never met.
We spent at least two weeks before the party deciding on the menu -- even daughter Sarah got involved and we did make her suggested dessert.
Friday early, I set the table in the dining room . . .
A lace cloth, the blue Spode and my hotel silver. Napkins are always in silver napkin rings at Linderhof and at each place is a menu and a place card -- which we always use whenever we have more than two guests. It's easier to find a place rather than telling who needs to sit where.
The centerpiece is roses from the garden in a Williamsburg flower holder, silver candlesticks and the swan salt and pepper holder (which were a gift from Jim's mother for her last Christmas)
To bookend the flowers and candles are a pair of silver compotes holding wee oranges and chocolates -- to be nibbled after the cheese and with the port.
Each place setting had a salad fork, a fish fork and a dinner fork on the left side. And on the right (from plate outward) a dinner knife, a fish knife and a soup spoon. At the top of the plate is a dessert spoon and fork.
The table is all set and I'm in the kitchen . . . .
On the antique side table, decanters of port, Cognac, and my homemade orange liqueur and homemade orange liqueur. Glasses which we bought years ago at Crate and Barrel are ready for the end of the evening.
Plates, bowls and glasses for the different courses lined up in the kitchen -- ready to be used. The cheese tray with hydrangea leaves and crackers for the very end of the evening.
Husband Jim has his glasses and shaker ready for we're offering cosmos or martinis as our pre dinner cocktail. And Jim is always in charge of cocktails!
And wine glasses. He is in charge of the wine glasses . . . and he washes each one every time we have a dinner party -- he prefers it that way.
And they are the very last thing to be put on the table.
Herbs in a glass ready to be used both as a garnish and in the dishes themselves.
Pork loin is the main course and it's ready for the oven with it's rub of fennel and mustards and oil and salt and pepper.
The table is set, the dinner is prepped and what needs to be in the oven is, the appetizers are made . . .
Ricotta with herbs on crostini.
Bruschetta with peppers, capers, basil and bleu cheese. An Ina recipe.
The company is here, the drinks are flowing and the appetizers have been sampled. The first course is ready and I light the candles before everyone adjourns to the dining room . . .
Let the Party Begin!!!
Dinner at Linderhof
April 13, 2012
Keith's Asparagus Soup
Salad of Mixed Baby Greens with blueberries, bleu cheese and pecans
Mussels in garlic butter sauce
Creme de violette sorbet
Pork Loin with green peppercorn sauce
Rosemary mashed potatoes
Chocolate Bread Pudding
The soup bowls lined up and ready to be filled. . .
With Keith's Asparagus Soup. Friend Keith had us for dinner one night and he made this delicious soup. I wrote the recipe on a paper napkin (and the napkin is in my recipe book!). He was in Germany where he visited a family in their home and this soup was served to him. He got the recipe from her. I got the recipe from him. It's my favorite asparagus soup!
Salad of mixed baby greens with my own vinaigrette. In the winter, I like to use fruit (strawberries, blackberries or blueberries) in place of tomatoes (which are "plastic") and we like a shower of cheese and in place of croutons I prefer to use nuts.
A fish course for a multi course dinner. Jim and I both adore mussels and you can't beat the classic combination of garlic and butter. One guest said that he doesn't eat mussels but he said that he would try them and pronounced them delicious! We also served bread to sop up that wonderful garlic butter.
To cleanse the pallet, a sorbet. But not just any sorbet. One made from the liqueur Creme de Violette. Imported from Austria and a new purchase. It's a good liqueur and has a floral flavor. Don't let the fact that it looks like grape juice fool you! We decorated the sorbet with violas from the garden.
The main course plated and ready to go into the dining room.
Slices of pork loin with a green peppercorn sauce (from Ina Garten -- it's a favorite sauce for any sort of pork). Mashed rosemary potatoes because rosemary goes so well with pork and roasted corn.
A manly and chocoholic dessert -- chocolate bread pudding. Suggested by Daughter Sarah who's made it. She was right -- it is really good! And I gilded the lily by making a bourbon laced chocolate ganache to pour over and then topped all of that with whipped cream flavored with bourbon and a mint leaf garnish!
To end the meal, we passed a cheese tray with a wedge of Maytag bleu and the artisanal cheese from Skyview Farm -- chèvre and Asiago.
With these we served a choice of liqueurs, Cognacs, and port. And it was fun to try the different liqueurs!
The men then retired to the porch with the Cognacs and ports (and Scotch) for cigars while we women remained at table for chat.
All too soon the evening was over and everyone said their goodbyes.
And after everyone left, as is our custom, I go to the kitchen to do the dishes (or load the dishwasher) while Jim brings everything into the kitchen. It makes clean up so much easier when we do it together. If it doesn't all fit into the dishwasher, I stage the island for the morning. No use to hand wash dishes when the dishwasher can. Pots and pans, of course, are washed and put away.
With the dining room tidy and the dishes done, Jim and I often have a nightcap before we head upstairs to bed.
Friday we sat on the porch for it was a nice night. We talked about how long it has been since we've really hosted a dinner party and that we should rectify that. (But not a seven course dinner -- those are for special occasions).