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Saturday, January 29, 2011

I've Been To A Marvelous Party

Sherry's Salmon and Scallops in Clementine Glaze
"I went to a marvelous party..." wrote Noel Coward in 1938, speaking of a bohemian bacchanal on the French Riviera.  I could say the same, with equal conviction, in 2011; last Saturday night, I went to my own birthday party, in my own home: didn't have to lift a finger to have the most delicious, intriguing meal, and an utterly fabulous time! (Click here to see more photos of the event.)
Izabel and Sherry Prep for Dinner
My friend Sherry Moore (click here for Sherry's bio) who, as I've often said, is an extraordinary human being in many, many ways, threw a party for me the like of which has not been known before—at least not in this neck of the woods.  She planned for weeks, she invited the guests, she arranged flowers and set a gorgeous table—the last with the invaluable assistance of our friend and household angel, Izabel B.  On the day, Sherry and Izabel cooked and served what Sherry modestly described as a 'tapas style dinner:' a series of mini-courses each more elegant and inviting than the last.

Baby Artichokes Going Fast
First came hors d'oeuvres: crudités, baby artichokes and dips, and heavenly, smoky, homemade baba ghanouj; then salad alongside a series of hot tapas: Middle Eastern vegetable roll-ups, felafel served with yogurt sauce, and curried carrot chutney.  Finally, the entrées came to a crescendo with piquant red-lentil-tapenade-stuffed endive leaves, and a combination of clementine-sauced salmon and bay scallops that had to be among the tenderest and sweetest seafood preparations I've ever eaten.  These last two dishes were both artistically arranged and garnished with edible flowers: those platters were positively the most beautiful I have yet seen. 

Lentil-Tapenade-Filled Endive Leaves

There was a break after this—for a delightful slide show of Anne's old family photos, found and digitized by Sherry: more about that later, elsewhere, maybe...
And then came dessert.  What could possibly top what we'd just eaten?  Well, how about scrumptious blueberry crumble, made by Doris Tennant with blueberries she'd picked herself from her parents' garden in Georgia?  What about three different kinds of cookies—macadamia nut, molasses, and double chocolate—made by our friend and fabulous baker, Diane Kline?  And then the pièce de résistance, Diane's gorgeous 4-layer lemon cake
Diane's Fabulous Lemon Cake
 with homemade lemon curd and exquisitely tart lemon icing: how about that, folks?  "It was the most fabulous excitement," Coward wrote, "I've never seen such a carry-on."  After cake, with ice cream, and coffee—and, in some cases second, or even third helpings of dessert—we all were sated, enervated, nearly comatose with bliss.
How wonderful it was to have so many people I'm very fond of around me, amid so much beauty, fun, and such incredible delicacies!  As Noel Coward said—over and over—in I've Been To A Marvelous Party, "I couldn't have liked it more."
Indeed: truer words were never spoken.

If any of the exceptional culinary artists who cooked for the party can be persuaded to part with recipes, I will post them here.  In the meantime, let's enjoy the feast with our eyes.

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  1. I loved preparing this meal to honor Anne's birthday. After all, it's a really wonderful thing to have a friend who will let you have 2 pieces of the most amazing birthday cake EVER. Lucky me!!!

    I will post a recipe or two soon.

  2. I loved consuming these delectable goodies in honor of Anne's Birthday...I wish she had one every day of the year. It's an awesome gift to know and have so many stellar peeps in my life and I loved meeting the new ones too. Nothin says Lovin like someting yummy from Sherry's oven.
    -blissful yummies from paul


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