Dark Days party time

Posted by Anita on 02.06.08 11:10 PM

(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**You’d be forgiven for thinking that locavore eating in the dead of winter means a limited palate of kale-green, potato-brown and cauliflower-beige. But, much to our very pleasant surprise, we’ve been cooking up a colorful assortment of oranges, pinks, purples… and even reds.

I’ve told you about two of the drinks at our cocktail soirée, but here’s a little secret about the nibbles we served: Everything was at least 90% local, and most of it came from entirely within our 100-mile radius.

The prettiest plate of the night was Cameron’s gorgeous tower of tiny Martha-inspired canapes: roast beef and horseradish on herb bread, and two different kinds of smoked salmon with mustard-fennel sauce on rye. An assorted platter of Fatted Calf pâtés and sausages took their place beside a trio of locally produced mustards. The crudite plate included too-cute-to-eat baby carrots, fractal-icious romanesco, and blushing breakfast radishes. A batch of pesto-filled pastry pinwheels, a spicy dip of Rancho Gordo black beans, and a platter of Northern California cheeses rounded out the savory stuff. On the sweet side, a batch of Earl Grey-scented tea cookies caused such a stir that three different guests asked for the (ridiculously easy) recipe.

Much as I adored the tea cookies, my favorite new party recipe isn’t a recipe at all. We cut a big bagful of Happy Quail piquillo peppers in half — yes, we had local peppers in January! — removed the seeds, and stuffed them with a mixture of Fatted Calf chorizo and Acme breadcrumbs. A few minutes under the broiler and we had the most popular hors d’oeuvre of the evening. I can hardly wait until next season to try it again!

After a party like that, that last thing we wanted to do was cook. As the month wound down, we hit up some of our favorite restaurants to see what their midwinter menus had in store. Nopa served us yet another scrumptious supper courtesy of our local farmers: we split an order of goat cheese fondue, followed by a grass-fed burger for Cameron and grass-fed shortribs for me. A few days later we ended up with friends at The Alembic, where we shared local lamb sliders and a sinful order of truffled mac-and-cheese made with Mt. Tam and Serena — two of our favorite Northern California cheeses.

With Dark Days like these, it’s hard to feel deprived.

(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**

Dark Days Ticker — January 16-30
- Dark Days dinners at home: 7 (out of 16), plus the party food
- Locavore dining-out: Alembic, Nopa, Range
- New recipes: Pesto pinwheels, chorizo-stuffed peppers, Earl Grey tea cookies
- Old faves: Mom’s quiche Lorraine, Julia Child’s beef stew
- Freezer fodder: Linguine Bolognese, chicken & dumplings

New (to us) local items
- Cap’n Mike’s smoked salmon — red and white varieties
- Piper-Sonoma Brut and Blanc de Noirs sparkling wine
- Capellino pesto in a tub (made in SF!)
- Bellwether Farms’ pecorino-style Pepato
- La Clarine Farm’s Sierra Mountain goat Tomme
- Eatwell Farm‘s romanesco
- Happy Quail Farms piquillo peppers (last of the season!)
- Local mustards from Made in Napa Valley, Mendocino Mustard and Narsai’s

Dark Days challenge, entertaining, locavore



Comment by clumsy

Local smoked salmon?!?! Oh my god, I need to move there!!

Your canapes look divine. I’m thrilled whenever I go to a party with such delightful little bites, and it can be a rare accomplishment!

Posted on 02.07.08 at 6:21AM

Comment by Jennifer Hess

Gorgeous. And I just ate lunch but now I’m hungry again!

Posted on 02.07.08 at 10:28AM

Comment by Us vs. Food

I’m salivating, and I just finished lunch (which I enjoyed!). I love the presentation on the multi-tiered platter.

I love the locavore idea and try to live it as much as possible, but sometimes I wish I lived just a little further south.


Us vs. Food

Posted on 02.07.08 at 10:44AM

Comment by Janna

Ohhh, delicious.

I commend your refusing to let eating local be a sacrifice.

Gorgeous photos too!

Posted on 02.07.08 at 12:01PM

Comment by Sean

Hmph — so much for my kale-potato-cauliflower surprise this Saturday!

Posted on 02.07.08 at 9:20PM

Comment by Rocky

I am so jealous of the seemingly eight harvests a year of everything down there.

Posted on 02.07.08 at 9:43PM

Comment by Hillary

That is a beautiful platter for some beautiful food!

Posted on 02.08.08 at 1:31PM

Pingback by Urban Hennery » Blog Archive » Dark Days 2008: Recap #3

[...] Continuing to wow me with her access to beautiful winter produce, Anita not only had a fabulous cocktail party with Mistral Mauves and Kir Royales, she served 90% local food at it. And what a spread it was. There was a Martha inspired tower of canapes. A platter of fattened calf pâtés and sausages. A crudite platter that included my favorite, Romanesco broccoli. Pesto filled pastry pinwheels. Earl Gray scented tea cookies. And piquillo peppers stuffed with chorizo and breadcrumbs. I would have taken a month off of cooking after that, not just the rest of the week… [...]

Posted on 02.11.08 at 9:43PM

Comment by Green Bean

Wow! What gorgeous photos, what a delectable meal! I’m on my way over. ;-)

Thanks for the Guisto’s suggestion on my blog. I’m on the Peninsula and have a local health food shop that stocks them. Thanks.

Posted on 02.12.08 at 8:33PM

Comment by alita

This 3-tier stand makes me hungry! There’s nothing better than colorful food to beat the winter depression :) !

Posted on 02.15.08 at 2:16AM

Comment by Denise

I just found this post while searching for a cocktail recipe. What a beautiful spread! Our holiday parties are usually a bunch of little bites, too, and this past one we tried to be as local as possible. Not as much fresh produce, but I think we did a good job. It’s nice to see what someone else is doing, as well!

Posted on 01.29.09 at 2:03PM

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