September 29, 2014

Apple Weekend, 2014

He was very proud of pulling this wagon across the apple orchard.
Two weekends ago we got together with some of our favorite people to cook and feast. It was the 11th annual (would have been 12th but it didn't happen last year) Apple Weekend, although this year apples only made it into two of the nine dishes served. We still went apple picking just for fun, but we now focus on a meal of small plates featuring anything seasonal and local. We had some delicious dishes, both creative and simple, this year. 

This was the menu: 
I made a small bite to start: a potato latke for everyone (made with the red potatoes Willem and I dug up a few weeks ago from our garden), topped with a smear of sour cream and a dollop of applesauce that Gordie and Willem made. Latkes are so good. They always make me think of those potato sticks that came in a little box that I always managed to get and devour at Halloween when I was a kid. So good with the tart, unsweetened, first-batch-of-the-season applesauce and the sour cream. 
Then, Matt made a quite-spicy lentil sambar. He looked in an authentic Indian cookbook and made this using butternut squash among other things.
Next I did a pasta with a sweet roasted-cherry-tomato sauce. I roasted mixed red and orange tomatoes from our garden and topped with some shaved Parmesan. 
I really loved my sister's dish this year, a composed, complete little plate. She roasted turkey breast and topped it with slices of Gruyere and crispy onions. On the homemade roll she put an onion-apple jam she made. She served it with just a few crispy fries she made with potatoes from her garden. She paired it with a hard cider.
Next was a Cassidy classic: roasted duck breast atop a super-smooth parsnip puree, with a cherry compote. He paired it with a Merlot.
In the dessert portion of the evening, peaches which are plentiful right now, had a starring role. Gordie participated with a peach sorbet made with North Carolina peaches that his aunt and uncle had just brought us when they visited from North Carolina. He scooped out the peach halves to get the fruit to make the sorbet, froze them, and then spooned the sorbet into the frozen shells to serve. He thought it would be fun to serve the pits right on the sorbet so it really looked like a peach half. 
Next I made this delicious galette with New Hampshire peaches. It has an almond paste beneath the peaches that completes it. The crust is my own favorite crust recipe, but the filling came from a Smitten Kitchen cherry galette recipe that we love. 
Next, Meg made what she would only tell us was frozen custard until it was on the table. It was gorgeous and so rich in color, so between that and her secretiveness, I guessed right: beets! It also had chocolate in it, which really balanced out the beet really well and added to the color and texture. She garnished with a mint leaf and a candied beet. I wouldn't want to eat a big bowl of it but it was a deep interesting flavor and I really enjoyed each of the few bites. 
My sister finished off the evening with a totally comforting peach-strawberry clafoutis (the strawberries ones she had frozen from her garden earlier in the summer) with melting buttermilk ice cream on top of it, drizzled with burnt caramel. 

I think it gets better each year!

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