Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Dinner with Friends

Image scanned from page 39, Fine Cooking magazine, May, 2007

"Dinner with Friends" is a series in Fine Cooking Magazine which is my favorite cooking magazine. I like the series because it gives you recipes for the entire meal, preparation hints and a timeline for getting it all on the table. Last night Dar and Jean came for dinner and I cooked from the May, 2007, issue of the magazine, A Taste of Spring. I wish I could refer you to location on Fine Cooking's website so that you could see the recipes but, alas, it isn't on there yet.

The magazine menu was: Wild Mushroom Toasts, Garden Lettuces with Garlic Chapons, Roasted Cornish Games Hens with Wildflower Honey and Orange, New Potatoes with Butter, Shallots and Chervil, Roasted Asparagus with Lemon & Olive Oil, and Vanilla Ice Cream with Espresso-Caramel Sauce.

Now all of this has to be translated to San Miguel and what is available. And right now we can get Cornish game hens at Mega. So I started on finding the other items.

I decided not to serve the Wild Mushroom Toasts. First of all I'm not seeing any wild mushrooms and secondly, I wanted to keep the menu preparation a little simpler. So I just served a local herbed goat cheese that I found at the new Queso Luna shop out on Ancha de San Antonio. No preparation for that.

The next change I made was in the salad. An earlier recipe in Fine Cooking was for baby greens with fresh mango and marinaded red onion. Even though I can't find baby greens we do have some wonderful organic red tip lettuce and the mangos are huge, sweet and juicy now. Another easy switch.

I had to adjust the Cornish game hen recipe because I couldn't find any local honey......I hope this doesn't mean that there is a problem with the honey bees around here. So I substituted maple syrup. They turned out really delicious.

The recipe called for Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn potatoes. Ha! Certainly won't find them here so I used the plain old baby white potato. And I used flat-leaf parsley instead of chervil because I don't think I've ever seen chervil here either. But they were delicious. The only change I'd make next time is to reduce the butter by at least a fourth.

The asparagus was delicious too. But again I'd reduce the olive oil to a minimum to just barely coat the asparagus. By the way, the asparagus was really nice and fresh at the mercado in the centro. I bought two pounds of asparagus for $4. It is always more expensive at the vegetable stand in front of Espinos.

And the dessert.....I didn't use the one suggested but instead used the one on the back cover of the May, 2007 magazine, A Bourbon-Chocolate Mousse. But of course I had to mess with it some too. Instead of bourbon I added Kahlua. It was rich and chocolatey and so easy to make. I made it early in the day and put it in the refrigerator. When it was time to serve it, all I had to add was a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder.

None of these recipes were fussy but they added something to simple ingredients to make them just a little special. I love trying new recipes and I love the challenge of adjusting the recipes to our local ingredients. I just hope all of my guests don't mind being guinea pigs for my trials and, I have to admit, sometimes errors. But last night, I think it was all pretty successful.


Babs said...

I'm lining up to be the next guinea pig!

Cynthia said...

That sounds soooooo good. You have lucky friends.

Billie said...

Babs and Cynthia, Thanks. I do like to cook and to try new recipes. And it really fun when they turn out well.

Anonymous said...

Would you mind sharing the routine you use for cleaning/disinfecting your fresh fruits and veggies?