Monday, May 22, 2006

The Scotsman's Birthday

My friends and I will use any opportunity to cook. Paula and Doug came in town from Louisville to visit; and it just so happened to be Doug's birthday. So Kristi, Jeff and I decided to prepare a birthday meal for Doug. We got together to brainstorm over coffee. Halfway through our discussion, two men sitting near us told us to keep it down. We thought at first that they were being rude, but it turned out that we were just making them hungry. We had the menu planned and our courses assigned. Off we went.

At 5 on Sunday Phil, Jeff, Paula, Doug, Kristi and Warner arrived and the feast began. I asked that everyone bring rose wine. Rose, I felt, would best pair with the spicy flavors on this menu. I also prepared a fresh pitcher of mojitos to start off the dinner.

Jeff prepared some incredible mini tostadas with spiced refried black beans topped with a mango-jicama slaw and queso fresco, puff pastries stuffed with chorizo and manchego cheese, and chipotle cheddar mashed potatoes stuffed inside a grilled red pepper.

Kristi prepared crispy jalapeno peppers stuffed with cheddar, roasted root vegetables, grilled bbq shrimp, spiced brownies and cinnamon ice cream.

I cooked grilled corn salad with avocado and red pepper in a cumin-orange vinaigrette, and a spice crusted grilled london broil.

Accompanying this spice-laden meal were some lovely wines. Rose is a perfect partner to spice. The full fruit and refreshing quality of rose complements and contrasts spicy flavors in food. The Vision Cellars Rose was full bodied and packed with cherry and berry fruit with a crisp dry finish. The Remy Pannier Rose d'Anjou had light hints of watermelon with a slight off-dry quality. Toad Hollow Eye of The Toad Rose of Pinot Noir was light, refreshing, and full of bright fruit.

Anytime is a good time to prepare a wonderful meal, but food and wine always taste better when you surround yourself with loved ones. Happy Birthday Doug!

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