Saturday, April 3, 2010

Luncheon de Triomphe

With the spring sun high in the sky, how could a luncheon go wrong?  Throw in severe lack of sleep, grid lock traffic, and yet another construction issue and it seemed possible.  Once again we pulled through.  The secret?  Early prep.   
I will back up to the day before the luncheon.  In a time crunch, Food Intolerance called in the services of the Whole Foods personal shopper; a service I highly recommend to those who want fresh foods on a tight schedule. With all the supplies safely packaged in my SUV, I headed to luncheon headquarters for an afternoon of prep, a glass or two of wine, and a fantastic lunch prepared by Food Intolerance herself. 
As I organized the work to be done, and my two year old ripped off pieces of an antique dresser, I lost whatever sense I had left and literally made the wrong bread.  Our Fresh bread with dill became buttermilk cheddar biscuits. Are those French?  On to the coq au vin.... time to cook with fire.  After simmering and chopping, searing and sautéing, it was time to add cognac and light.  With visions of the kitchen going up in flame I lit my pot of soup on fire and enjoyed the whoosh of heat and gorgeous blaze of gourmet cooking.  Must have the camera closer next time.   With the coq au vin simmering happily, the creme brulee was prepped and the day was called a success.  The following morning, Food Intolerance and I were a mere salad prep, scorched creme brulee top, and gentle reheat away from a beautiful lunch.  
Dressed in their luncheon best, each lady arrived toting wine or flowers looking every bit the part.  Gathered around the table we munched, reminisced and proposed a trip to Costa Rica.  This was what lunch was meant to be; an hour to stop the routine of your day and catch up with friends over good food. After one guest returned to work, and the others lounged in the living room with their feet up and heel cast aside, each felt like she had taken a little vacation.  No time for a girls trip this year?  Host a luncheon! The memories are great, the time is relaxing, and the jet lag is much more manageable.  
Cooking Notes:
Coq Au Vin: This was nothing short of amazing.  Ina Garten describes this recipe as beef stew with chicken.  Next time you are feeding a crowd this is your entree; fancy enough to serve company, rustic enough to keep everyone at ease. 
Biscuits: Plain heaven and easy to assemble with the KitchenAid mixer.  When was the last time enjoyed a homemade biscuit?  Add them to your Easter table. 
Wine: You will regret drinking a glass at lunch during a hot yoga class that afternoon. Namaste. 
The Party in Numbers:
Parties completed: 29
Weeks before deadline: 22 
Bottles consumed: 1
Justified Purchases: none! 

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