Sunday, June 28, 2009

Auction Dinner Two - The Giving Back Continues

The annual auction dinner is here again! Four couples combined bidding forces to win the eight course small plate and wine paring dinner at our house. We helped to raise $1,300 to benefit our nephew’s school.

Planning for the dinner began a month ago, with mapping out the menu and selecting the wines. Since the auction had an Italian theme, I put a twist on the dinner by having Italian foods pared with California wines, with the exception of the Muscato d’Asti for dessert.

Everyone arrived around 6:30pm with their appetites ready. Since it was near 100 degrees outside, we stayed inside for appetizers and prosecco. Everyone enjoyed the lemon and thyme fava bean crostini along with the parmesan and pecan dip with endive leaves.

About 7:15 everyone adjourned to the dining room, to enjoy the eight course dinner. Each person had a copy of the menu and a tasting notes book for the wines. The tasting notes book, discusses the art of how to taste wine, a list of the wines on the menu with a space to add their personal tasting notes followed by tasting note highlights from established wine experts. These are special touches I created to have each guests leave with a keepsake from this special dinner.

Caprese Napoleon
Tiny Heirloom Tomatoes, Buffalo Mozzarella, Basil, Aged Balsamic Vinegar, Pesto, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
(Imagery Estate – Sauvignon Blanc – 2008)

Herbed Fritters with Pesto Aioli
Fried Puffs of goodness with fresh herbs accented with Homemade Pesto Aioli
(Grgich Hills Estate – Chardonnay – Napa Valley – 2006)

Roasted Tomato Soup Shooter with Italian Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwich
Roasted Cherry Tomato Soup with Garlic and Harry’s Bar Famous Grilled Ham & Cheese
(Turnbull – Viognier – Napa Valley - 2004)

Handmade Ricotta Gnocchi with Wild Mushroom Ragu
Fluffy Ricotta Dumplings, Assorted Wild Mushrooms, Creamy Herb Sauce
(Silver Oak – Twomey Merlot – 2005)

Pan Seared Halibut
Salsa Puttanesca, Sauteed Asparagus and Leeks
(Acacia Pinot Noir – Napa Valley – 2002)

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
Creamy Parmesan Polenta, Roasted Carrots
(Textbook - Cabernet Sauvignon – 2006)

Palate Cleanser
Blood Orange and Lemon Sorbet with Prosecco

Layers of ladyfingers, Mascarpone Cheese, Kaluaha, Espresso, Cream
(Tintero – Muscato d’Asti)

A small, handmade gift for all of the guests was handed out when they finished dessert. It is to be enjoyed “tomorrow” and it was my famous Surprise English Toffee. Found a great little favor box, cute stickers and placed into a small plastic cookie bag with silver tie. It is just a unique touch to end your event, that your guests do not expect and will remember the dinner event.

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