Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Holidays: Food Edition

 With the holidays comes a lot of eating, especially when you are a Strauss or when you have the Vrbas' cooking. Which means, we had a double whammy attack of fantastic food this last week. Since we got to house sit for my cousins, I went a bit crazy with the use of a super nice functioning kitchen and cooked real dinners and baked a lot. We made pasta,  a veggie roast, and lamb burgers. I baked peppermint brownies, sugar cookies, and White Christmas Dream Drops (meringues from Sunset magazine). With everyone's help, I made Christmas Eve dinner: a veal and beef meatloaf, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, salad, and pepper and onion cheese puffs as an appie. We did end up eating quite a bit of meat, but only because it came from Rain Shadow Meats & PCC. 
When my parents got into town, we took them to Copperleaf Restaurant (see this post) since chef Mark Bodinet arranged a special tasting menu. I didn't think it could surpass the quality and the experience we had our first time dining there, but this time it was just as amazing. The fresh Mint Chocolate Martini, Cauliflower Soup with Bartlett Pears, Pine Nuts, Picked Red Onion; the Honey-Glazed Butternut Squash again; Carmelized Sea Scallops with Vanilla Salsify (a root vegetable which I'd never heard of before and was beyond amazing), Chanterelles, Brussels Sprouts, Applewood-Smoked Bacon Emulsion; the Painted Hills Beef Short Ribs with Glazed Parsnips, Truffle Beet Jam, Full Circle Farm Sweet Carrots; and for dessert the Coconut Sorbet with Caramelized Pineapple, Lime Pound Cake, Lemongrass Syrup (my new favorite!) and the Theo's Hot Chocolate Pot (since Phil hasn't stopped raving about it since our last trip). All in all, we got to taste things that we may never have ordered on our own and we ended up just as stuffed as ordering a main dish. It was fun and a great way to start off the Christmas festivities.
As if things weren't lavish enough eating at Copperleaf, Susan cooked up a Christmas dinner that was just as amazing. She and I had decided upon a Mediterranean theme and then she went all out with it. An Antipasta platter, Gazpacho garnished with Creme Fresh and Mint (that was as good as the gazpacho at Jen's wedding at the Plumed Horse), Lamb shanks on a bed of Lemon Risotto, Salmon pasta with Dill and Capers if you didn't want the lamb, Roasted Asparagus and for dessert Flourless Chocolate Cake topped with Cocoa Nibs, and  Lemon Tart-lets with Whipped Cream.  Everyone felt like they had just walked away from a fine dining restaurant of five star caliber.

Yummmm...real food not out of a microwave!
lamb burger extraordinaire
Peppermint Brownie Surprise

Sugar cookie decorating is fun

This Martha Stewart cookie recipe was actually really good

Next time I would add less white chocolate chips, but they were great!

My dad and Phil at Copperleaf

Mom and I at Copperleaf
The Painted Hills Beef
The Caramelized Sea Scallops

Tasting from the Tasting Menu!

Theo's Chocolate Pot Step 1: add cream

Theo's Chocolate Pot Step 2: muddle

Theo's Chocolate Pot Step 3: dip donuts and eat!

We had to take these little desserts to go!

And that ladies and gentlemen is a lot of food!

My Pinterest Project...little Rudolph's for Xmas breakfast

Susan's being back in Spain

The chef herself

AntiPasta platter

Asparagus side

We loved the lamb and Charlie loved the bone!

Salmon scrumptious


Even Caden got in the kitchen to help with the whipped cream

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