Wednesday, October 13, 2010

weekend dinner party

Why hello, Fall! It is absolutely Autumnal outside today and no other weather gets me more excited to get into the kitchen than when the air is crisp, the sun shining, and the sweet, unmistakable scent of fallen leaves with a hint of mesquite fills the air. No more having to take breaks to relieve myself in front of the AC or sticking my red hot head in the freezer. And lemme get a Hallelujah up in here for that.

You know what else? I'm very much into Fall produce. Butternut squash, mushrooms, brussels sprouts, apples, and more, they're the kind of things that beg for experimentation in the kitchen. They are the kind of things that get me up and out of bed, bright eyed and bushy tailed, early on a Saturday morning.The promise of a day devoted to nothing but my own agenda and the produce that will be the inspiration behind dinner. And this weekend? It's the undeniably adorable and equally delicious brussel sprout.

belgian endive and apple salad with parsley
crostini with saint andré
2008 Chablis

spaghetti with shaved brussels sprouts and pancetta
2008 Produttori Nebbiolo

The endive and apple salad along with a piece of baguette smeared with some creamy, pungent cheese could (and will be) a lunch or dinner on its own any day of the week. Just thinking about the anticipated combination of those flavors puts a smile on my face. Jon Troutman of Cork'd says that the 2008 vintage was a phenomenal year for all Chablis. If you're looking to impress, go with a Premier Cru but if you're looking for a value play, go for a village level. The pairing will be heavenly either way.

I'm fairly certain that if you're trying to get a picky eater to try something new, tossing it into some pasta is a sure fire way to get them to take a bite. Salty, cured Italian meats never hurt either. The combination of pancetta and brussels sprouts is earthy and faintly smokey and transcends the tiny green globes to a level of pure divinity. And when paired up with a Nebbiolo from Langhe, Italy in Piedmont, visions of cherubs will start to appear. Jon suggests the 2008 Produttori Nebbioli, which at under $20, he says is a screaming value.

So grab a few white gourds (good luck finding them, but if you do, holler atcha gurl) and place them down the middle of your table, with a handful of white votives weaving their way in and out, and start chilling that Chablis. This weekend dinner party is going to be pretty fabulous. And luckily, no sweat either.


Photo above courtesy of The Kitchn

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