Those of us who love to cook can often find no greater pleasure than hanging out in the kitchen with friends who are just as passionate about good food and the joy of cooking as we are. So, when my great and oh so talented food writer friend Brandon Hernandez and his wife Heather invited me over for dinner recently -- and then put me to work -- we were all blissed out. It was the best possible way to unwind from a busy weekday of work.
Now, first, get a load of the menu he sent me in advance:
Fennel pollen-dusted scallops over zuchinni and summer squash angel hair with toasted garlic shingles, and Berliner wieze Sauce Grenoble, paired with Lightning Brewery Sauerstrom Ale
Dual pork tenderloin - rosemary-crusted and cinnamon-spiced with bacon-infused sweet corn grits and truffled grilled asparagus, paired with Green Flash Treasure Chest Belgian Pale Ale
Oy! What in the world would I bring for dessert? (And could I ever invite him over for dinner in turn?) I settled on David Lebovitz's Red Wine and Raspberry Sorbet, which I made with a rosé, along with Chocolate Heath Bar Cookies and I brought along some fresh raspberries.
There's an art to having people over and feel welcomed and wanted. Here's Brandon's first gesture:
The second was to hand me a knife and ask me to slice garlic cloves verrrry thin. My second job was to sear the scallops while Heather created the "pasta" with the squash using a mandoline. This truly was an act of friendship since I can't eat much regular grain pasta these days.
Dinner, of course, was stunning. The pork duo was tender, with just the right amount of herbs and spices to complement the meat. The grits were creamy, but I loved the addition of fresh corn kernels, which added sweetness to the smoky essence of bacon and a nice bite of texture. Here's the pork and grits course:
And, I was so taken with the bright flavors of the pasta and scallops that I asked Brandon if I could share the recipe here. Trust me, he has many magazine outlets where this could go, so this was another act of friendship. Thanks, Brandon -- and Heather -- for a perfect evening of food with good friends!