Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Potluck Italiano #2

Longtime readers may remember an early post about a
potluck Italian dinner
. Well we got together again for another round but with a slightly different guest list.

We started off with an antipasto platter. Don't you love how easy these are to put together by opening a few jars of this and that, and then artfully arranging things on a nice platter. We had salami, cheese, marinated sundried tomatoes, olives, gherkins, baby peppers stuffed with feta and melon wrapped in proscuitto. My tip for the day: remember that prosciutto and melon should be a one bite portion. Having a long strip of prosciutto dangling down your chin is not an attractive look.

Our next course was baked portobello mushrooms with pesto, tomato and mozzarella. If you like the taste of insalata caprese you'll love this dish because of its similar flavour combination. It would be a good option for winter time when fresh basil isn't available.

My non-cooking husband was up next and was determined to make his newly learned signature dish - Tuna Pasta Bake. It's the only thing he knows how to do other than poached eggs on toast or spaghetti/baked beans on toast. Well that's not quite true, - he actually makes a very decent salad. To be fair to the guy I barely let him in the kitchen except for clean up duty so he doesn't really have a chance to get creative. Our guests gave him a hard time because this particular dish is... shock horror... am I actually admitting this in public?.... made with the assistance of a packet of Maggi sauce mix and is not from scratch.

For our main course we had hearty meatballs in tomato sauce with basil and mozzarella served over fettuccine. To complement the meatballs I made green beans with garlic and almonds as well as my Sicilian pepper dish.

The finale was Tiramisu which was made with Frangelico and Cointreau for the booze component - it was a lovely flavour combination. To offset the richness I made a winter fruit salad of oranges and green kiwifruit. Even though I knew how I needed to cut the oranges I decided to google the technique and I came across two interesting blogs, Coconut and Lime, and The Scent of Green Bananas. These days when I'm searching for culinary assistance on the net I usually add "blog" to my search. I guess because I know that people tend to write about recipes and techniques they've actually tried that I trust them a little more. Sometimes I learn something along the way - did you know when you cut an orange like this the resulting piece is called a "supreme".

And what did we drink with all this wonderful food? We started off with some bubbles. No prosecco this time but a French bubbly followed by good old "Lindy", New Zealand's favourite methode traditionelle. From there it was onto a red (or four including two Chiantis), and a Matua Savignon Blanc which we had with the tuna dish. You could say we had a good night!


Tammy said...

those beans look delicious! I love almonds with beans or asparagus!

Elle said...

What a feast! I'm going to try the Portobello mushrooms with pesto and cheese and tomatoes. Could they be grilled?

Morven said...

Elle - I don't know why you couldn't grill the mushrooms although they are quite "meaty" vegetables and probably benefit from the longer cooking that baking allows.

Satsuki Rebel said...

What a fun idea! I must've lead a sheltered life because this is the first I've having a potluck theme. Isn't it amazing what you can find in the blog-world?

Satsuki Rebel said...

They need to put edit options on these comments. Being the stickler that I am I had to go back and fix my error:

"What a fun idea! I must've lead a sheltered life because this is the first I've 'heard of' having a potluck theme. Isn't it amazing what you can find in the blog-world?"