The Hamptons season and our stay was coming to an end. I however, was undeterred and decided to close the season in style by throwing the best dinner party yet!
Our close friends, the never boring M family, who were also departing in the next couple of days were coming over along with other like minded witty friends.
So we knew that we would be in for a fabulously raucous evening. I created a festive menu fit for our last dinner party, Elena loaned me gorgeous set of antique dishes from their East Hampton home, my husband, as usual paired the wines – and there we went!
That afternoon was perfect, the sun made it halfway through its downward arc creating that special Hamptons light, the air was cooling off and that unique Hamptons atmosphere descended on our house. Perfect evening for a dinner party!
Honestly, in my excitement I was overly ambitious with the menu. I had tantalizing hors d'oeuvres, two starters and three main courses followed by chocolate-covered-liqour-soaked-three-tiered cake (at least, now I know that it is all possible with a little extra planning and good organizing skills). I was just exploding with ideas and wanted to make all of these but I had at least a minor sanity check realized that it was too much. Thus in keeping with my desire to make all of those dishes and not willing to give up any, I just decided to make less…and share them.
I have to pat myself on the back – the party was a resounding success. Our guests arrived, the Champagne was poured and hors d'oeuvres served and enjoyed.
The idea of sharing the starters and main course worked our phenomenally. Everyone enjoyed the food without being stuffed! The atmosphere was convivial with plenty of humor and laughter. At one point the cardboard Veuv Cliqout megaphone was commandeered by my friend Elena!
A great evening with plenty of warmth, laughter, great conversation and food at the end of the Hamptons season. What could be better?!
Peach, Cherry Tomato Panzanella with Burrata Cheese is a delicious summer starter where creamy burrata cheese paired with grilled peaches and tomatoes, as well as bread croutons. Those grilled peaches made all the difference with their sweet, soft texture paired with salty cheese, the combination is amazing. One of my friends liked the peaches so much, she even suggested to start a new business canning those grilled peaches for them all to enjoy year round:).
Chou Farci or Stuffed Cabbage with Pork Meat is a very popular French dish. Savoy cabbage is perfect for it, the leaves are very pliable once blanched in boiling water and serve as a perfect vessel that holds the meat when chou farci is cooked. In my recipe I use two kinds of fresh pork sausages from Citarella food store- sweet and spicy.
Simply roasted asparagus served as a delicious side dish for stuffed cabbage with pork meat.
Good wine pairing is a must when hosting a dinner party. People always remember good food, good wine and ambience.
Roasted Duck with Apples (recipe is coming up soon) was cooked in a beautiful duck dish I found in antique store in South Hampton. Actually, this recipe was created around it:))). But any Dutch oven or heavy-based pot will make your duck as succulent as mine.
The only alteration I would suggest is to cook only duck legs, the breast get a little to hard at the end yet still delicious.
Whole Red Snapper!!! I told you I cooked up a storm that evening. If you planning to cook this particular menu, pick one or two main course, not more! Unless, ambitious is your middle name:)))
I like to serve it of the bone, baked with vegetables tied with twine around the carcass. This keeps the fish moist while baking and also results in a beautiful presentation.
And last but not least was my delicious Black Forest Gateau with Cherries.
Cake brushed with Kirsch, a clear liquor distilled from tart cherries, then layered with cherry jam and whipped cream Chantilly is truly a memorable dessert. Make those chocolate drippings extra luscious so that non of your guests can resist their temptation.
I sincerely hope that my recipes and experiences will help you to create and enjoy your special moments!
Photographed by Gary Flom.