Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Revolutionary Repast

Even after  half-dozen Geekquinox dinners, Peter Harris' inspired feasts continue to stun his friends into gastronomical submission, our groans of sated delight the conclusion to each of these wonderful evenings. Last night Pete treated us to French cuisine with a twist - a meal based on the French Republican calendar, with a course or drink for every month. Here are some selected highlights:

Ventose ("windy"), one of the winter months, here captured as a deliciously light and puffy pastry of wheat and roasted red pepper. We inhaled these as if they were air itself.
Ellen serves up a tray of ventosian delight.
For the wintry month of Nivose ("snowy"), Pete warmed us with raw oysters on a bed of snow.
Oyster sauces.
Bottoms up! Before this moment I'd never had oysters, let alone raw. Drowned in hot sauce and lemon juice, I found them quite appealing.
The chef and his assistant present the oysters. Ellen wounded herself several times while prying the shells open.
Pluviose ("rainy"), the final winter month, here symbolized by escargots in mushroom caps with buttery garlic sauce, served alongside...
...bread, a French staple.
Germinal ("germination"), a spring month, a time when there can still be a chill in the air to be warmed by French onion soup. Pete bought sixteen French onion soup bowls for this meal, and filled ours with roughly one onion each, along with the bread and cheese that make this soup a favourite.
For Prairial ("pasture"), another spring month, Pete served flame-broiled steak in a cream sauce with mushrooms. Things were beginning to heat up...
Flames of the revolutions.
And finally, the piece de resistance, lobster Thermidor ("heat") served alongside green beans and bacon (Messidor, "harvest") a summery dish to sum up the evening.
And here we are, a thoroughly filled-up and satisfied group of culinary revolutionaries, French for the evening. Thanks again to Pete and Ellen for yet another superb dining experience, and to everyone for an important night of fellowship. Even fighting off our various colds and flus (poor Scott had to put up with my constant hacking), it was another memorable, can't-miss occasion. 

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