Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

He came, We shopped, He cooked

So here you are- the menu and the flowers on display for my daughter's blowout birthday bash as prepared by her big brother. We called this little soiree "A Celebration in Four Courses".

First Course
Vichyssoise with Crostini

Appetizer/Salad Trio
•Bacon Wrapped Scallop
with roasted tomato coulis
•Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
with JalapeƱo Jelly
•Watercress salad

Beef Tenderloin stuffed with Rosemary Chevre,
served with Caramelized Figs, Port Reduction Sauce
and Microgreens

Assorted Cheeses
with Black Pepper Thyme Honey
Mango Chutney
and Assorted Crackers

Assorted Cannoli, Tartlets, Macaroons

Yeah yeah, I know, I'd said 5 courses in my last post but that was Mommy Error. Mommy Error is a lot like Server Error. It happens all the time, can be inexplicable, but it just is. Nothing to be done about it. You get the Mommy Error message, all there is to do is shrug and move on. So let's do just that. FOUR courses, OK?

My Son the Chef and I took his shopping list and headed off to Central Market, an upscale version of an HEB grocery store. Texas chain, very close to the Whole Foods model only much less pretentious. Central Market has a fabulous selection, knowledgeable staff, and are generally less overpriced than Whole Foods. It is not nearly so much "Crunchier than Thou" there. (as in "I am SO much more organic and make my own granola from scratch how about you?", crunchier).

After a quick inventory of what pots/pans/cooking accoutrement were on hand in my kitchen, my son (did I mention he is a CHEF?) got to work on the first course.

Pictures are worth thousands of words. You go ahead and look first, then come back to read what I wrote. Deal?

Gobble. Sigh. Yum.

My main question prior to this Feast in Four Acts had been, would we spend less on this sumptious meal at home than we would pay in a restaurant setting?

And my answer is - yes. We spent less, food and wine and desserts combined, than in any comparable restaurant setting that I am aware of locally. And the bigger payoff than the absolute bottom line?

Well, aside from the satisfaction of watching the people I love most in the world enjoying food prepared with love by somebody I love...there were the.....LEFTOVERS.

That is the one thing you'll never get from a restaurant. I am not talking some styrofoam encased remnants here, I am talking substantial portions of top notch quality meal components waiting in the refrigerator to be revisited, recombined, and enjoyed.

It took hours to clean up even though we had dutifully cleaned up as we cooked (using the "we" liberally since I stood around and gaped at my oldest as he turned out dish after dish with never a glance at a recipe). It was worth every single minute.

Texas Culinary Academy? You have turned out a top notch chef. As we now say with a little chuckle, "that boy can COOK!". Anybody not present to have sampled the results might try to lay this off to Momma/Poppa Pride despite the photographic evidence of our feast. But I will tell you this. As we say in Texas, "that ain't braggin - that's just fact.".

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