Thursday, December 18, 2008
Let me set the stage—or should I say table? It’s December, work is hectic as always and the schedule is jam-packed with holiday prep and activities for kids and adults. In the midst of all this craziness, a dear friend treated Darrell, Nicki and me to an unforgettable evening of total indulgence: she sent a chef to prepare a meal just for us!
Aline Steiner of A Table Hawaii came over to discuss the menu and scope out our kitchen, and then she was off. Meanwhile, because we were eating outside, I kept things simple. I cut some monstera leaves and areca palm fronds, and our centerpiece was a candle Nicki had made atop a ceramic plate she made four Christmases ago.
The Mediterranean feast that Aline cooked up in our kitchen that evening was amazing. Words simply cannot do it justice, so I’ll keep them to a minimum and let the photos do most of the talking.
Caption1: Trio of bruschetta, perfectly crisped, with shaved parmeggiano, yellow cherry tomato and mozzarella cheese. This was just the beginning!
Caption2: Fresh salad of market greens with fennel, slivered apples and pecans in a shallot vinaigrette—sweet, tart, crisp and so refreshing!
Caption3: Herb-crusted lamb chops. As Aline made the rub, she left a lot of fresh basil leaves on the side—if it was bruised or damaged, it didn’t go in. Also a vegetable Provencale, ratatouille style, with drizzles of syrupy balsamic. Darrell was sucking on the bones, it was so good!
Caption4: Mushroom risotto—moist and cheesy, mushrooms perfectly cooked. Exactly what a risotto should be.
Caption5: Homemade vanilla and rosewater-scented crème brulee. Nicki licked her bowl clean, then finished what was left in mine.
Aline was great—she let Nicki help her with dessert (now my daughter wants to be a sous chef!) and served us each course. It felt like an evening of fine dining right in our back yard!
It was over the top, a wonderful way to spend great family time at home—having someone else come and cook (and not even let me in the kitchen) and then clean up afterward!If you want to experience this indulgence, you can contact Aline at atablehawaii.com. Your tummy will thank you!