If you asked me, I’d say some of the best ideas are developed while enjoying a glass of wine with friends. Such was the case with the conception of the Have Table, Will Travel theme for a table-top tour consisting of dinners cooked by me and hosted by friends and family at various venues in and around town. What fun!
It didn’t take long for me to find and purchase a portable 6-foot plastic table with a handle, and soon thereafter I was planning the opening event using gourmet groceries and wonderful wines purchased at our good friend Mark Tronson’s Wines by Wednesday store.
Having access to the best meat, cheeses and wine in town made it easy to get out of the way of the ingredients and plan a light summer supper that was elegant and enjoyable, not to mention perfectly portable. Having shopped for the food and wine ahead of time, I was able to prep most courses at home ahead. With soup, salad and dessert requiring no cooking, making the meal onsite in Mark’s garage the evening of the event was super simple. The only real cooking I did was to boil the water on a butane burner to cook the pasta. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
I did ask early bird guests to participate by shaking, rattling and mostly rolling the make-your-own ice cream can I had filled with a homemade vanilla ice cream mixture, a project that started out with a bang and was eventually abandoned, resulting in a very soft style of ice cream with a sweet and spicy kick.
Perfectly paired white wines enjoyed with each of the courses made the meal that much more enjoyable throughout the evening gathering of the garage gang. Lots of laughs, humorous tablecloth signatures and yes, even a little dancing in the “dining room” made for a memorable evening we won’t soon forget.
(And just think of the possibilities when it comes to interesting venues for hosting a Have Table, Will Travel dinner. Stay tuned for the next installment…)
Grab a table, gather some goods at Wines by Wednesday and get the party started with make-ahead recipes you can tote practically anywhere! This week’s Special of the day: Have Table, Will Travel, Light Summer Supper with Wonderful Ingredients from Wines by Wednesday and recipes for Chilled Melon and Riesling Soup with Crispy Prosciutto, Lightly Dressed Mixed Greens with Fresh Cherries, Point Reyes Blue Cheese and Candied Walnuts, Artichoke and Lemon Ravioli with Lemon-Tarragon Hollandaise and Shake, Rattle and Roll-Your-Own Ice Cream with Super Chili Toffee Bits. Enjoy!
Wines by Wednesday
Located at 214 5th Street South
Check out the new location with a wider selection of specialty wines, meats, cheeses and gourmet food items.
Chilled Melon and Riesling Soup with Crispy Prosciutto
Make the soup:
1 cup Riesling wine
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup lemon juice
1 medium honeydew melon, peeled and cubed (about 3 cups)
2 tbsp. honey
¼ tsp. salt
Puree all soup ingredients in blender until smooth. Strain into a pitcher and refrigerate until ready to serve. If soup separates, give it a good stir before serving.
Make the Crispy Prosciutto:
4 thin slices prosciutto (available at Wines by Wednesday)
Slice prosciutto into thin ribbons.
Heat small sauté pan over medium high heat. When pan is hot, add prosciutto ribbons.
Cook, stirring frequently, until prosciutto is crisped, 7-9 minutes.
Transfer to paper towel to drain.
Divide soup among serving bowls. Add a dollop of sour cream to each bowl. Top with a generous sprinkling of crispy prosciutto.
Lightly Dressed Mixed Greens with Fresh Cherries, Point Reyes Blue Cheese and Candied Walnuts
Make the candied walnuts:
1 cup walnut pieces
½ cup sugar
Heat pan to medium.
When pan is hot, sprinkle sugar over pan in thin layer.
Let sugar melt.
Stir to coat.
Transfer to parchment to cool.
Break candied nuts up into bite-sized pieces.
3 cups mixed greens, washed and dried
¼ pound Point Reyes blue cheese (available at Wines by Wednesday)
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and sliced in half
Make the dressing:
3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. heavy cream
1 tsp. honey
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine all dressing ingredients in small jar. Cover and shake until well-mixed.
When ready to serve:
Toss greens and cherries with dressing. Distribute along salad plates.
Arrange thin slices of blue cheese atop salads. Sprinkle candied walnuts on top of salads.
Artichoke and Lemon Ravioli
with Lemon-Tarragon Hollandaise
2 packages Artichoke and Lemon Ravioli (available at Wines by Wednesday)
Make the Hollandaise sauce (based on Chef Richard Schafer’s recipe)
3 egg yolks at room temperature
8 ounces butter at room temperature.
Whisk 3 egg yolks over a water bath until thickened.
Whisk in 8 ounces unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time until completely incorporated. Stir every possible area in.
Add the juice of ½ lemon and whisk in thoroughly.
Add 5 drops Tabasco, 1 tablespoon hot water, a dash of Kosher salt and whisk until completely incorporated.
Squeeze a bit more lemon juice in at the end and whisk thoroughly.
Keep sauce warm on the back of the stove.
Warm a thermos by filling it with hot water. Pour water out. Fill warm thermos with Hollandaise.
Hollandaise will keep warm for a few hours in the thermos.
When ready to serve:
Cook ravioli in a large pot of salted simmering water according to package directions.
Remove from pot with slotted spoon and arrange on serving plates.
Drizzle warm Hollandaise over the top of the Artichoke and Lemon Ravioli.
Garnish with fresh tarragon and lemon zest.
Shake, Rattle and Roll-Your-Own Ice Cream
with Super Chili Toffee Bits
3 cups heavy cream
¾ cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. vanilla extract
Whisk together ice cream mixture ahead of time and refrigerate.
1 package Super Chili Toffee, crushed (available at Wines by Wednesday)
When ready to shake, rattle and roll:
Pour chilled ice cream mixture into smaller can with lid.
Seal and tape with duct tape.
Place smaller can in 3 lb. coffee can with lid.
Fill gap between cans with ½ cup ice cream salt and ice to fill.
Seal and tape with duct tape.
Shake, rattle and roll.
Replace ice and salt when ice melts.
Outside can will frost and get very cold.
Keep shaking, rattling and rolling as long as time allows.
Disassemble cans and open ice cream can.
Add crushed toffee to ice cream and stir to combine.
Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at email@example.com . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.