Was great fun.
We started with olives and spicy cheddar spread and two varieties of Evelyn’s crackers, which I bought at Scheffler’s Deli at the St. Lawrence market. There were some olives stuffed with cheese, some kalamatas, and the winner of the night (for the olives) was definitely the ones stuffed with lemon. Really a wonderful flavour, and good firmness.
I had bought a can of lemon-stuffed olives back in late winter at The Olive Pit, and while they were OK (in martinis!) they were a little on the soft side.
The munchies were accompanied by a really nice bottle of Thirty Bench Small Lot ‘Rose’ VQA vintage 2008, which was lovely and tasted like the last gasp of summer. It’s a really small lot wine: the label states that only 326 cases of it were produced.
From there we moved to a salad that Betty made that included mixed greens, dried apricots, blue cheese, and walnuts, all perfectly wilted under a hot vinaigrette. At this point we got into the Chateau Saint-Germain 2007 Bordeaux superieur, which carried us through the main course, too.
For the main, we had a cassoulet. Unlike the last one I made that just about blanded me to death, I put a lot of flavour in this one. I started with a really spicy chorizo sausage from The Sausage King that I browned in the Dutch oven and then put aside, then put into the same pot onions, shallots, garlic, and celery and sautéed until everything was nice and glistening and transparent where appropriate in the duck fat that I had used to cook the sausages. I added a can of organic diced tomatoes, bouquet garni, bay leaves, thyme, and salt, and brought to a boil. Then, the 400g (dry weight) of white northern beans that I soaked overnight. Added about a litre of water (enough to cover the beans) and simmered for two hours.
Next stage, I removed the celery, bouquet garnis, thyme, and bay leaves, and cut the sausages into bite-sized pieces and put them in the bottom of a large enameled casserole, on top of squares of pork skin from the pork belly (cooked for two hours the night before), which lined the bottom of the pot. Added sliced goose breast (from Thanksgiving dinner) and big cubes of pork belly. Put the beans on top, and into the oven for an hour and a half, covered. Then put bread crumbs and melted butter over the top and broiled until toasty brown.
And that was that course.
Dessert consisted of the apple-pecan-blue cheese tart. I made my own pate brisee and used whey butter in it, which I think added good flavour, but I could have completely omitted the salt from the recipe (which I had cut in half because the whey butter was salted). I used a blue Eremite cheese this time, which worked well. The tart was served with a really lovely 10 year old Port that Sandy and Damir brought: Warre’s Otima10, a Port house since 1670. Delicious port!
After dinner, it was time for games: Wii Sport Resort is lots of fun, lots of giggles, and I obviously should never be given control of a small watercraft.