24×24: “Showcasing posts from 24 Foodbuzz Featured Publisher bloggers, the monthly Foodbuzz 24 highlights unique meals occurring around the globe during a 24-hour period. “- Foodbuzz
A few months ago I had one of the best meals of my life. The only problem with the meal was that I happened to eat it all by myself, 1000 miles away from home.
I was in Chicago on business. I’d been told by a number of people that I had to eat at The Purple Pig. When I saw that the restaurant’s motto was ‘Cheese, Wine, and Swine, my mind was made up. I had to go.
Let me just say that I was not disappointed. I did dine at The Purple Pig and I enjoyed every morsel of my meal. There was cheese! There was swine! And, of course, there was wine. It was glorious. The menu was simple, yet unique. Every single dish was spot on. I loved it.
But with every bite came a twinge of sadness: I kept thinking how much my husband would have loved it. Don’t get me wrong – I thoroughly enjoyed the meal – but there is something so special about a great meal that is shared with loved ones. For me, dining is about the shared experience.
But when I got home from Chicago, I was struck with a brilliant idea. I knew that I couldn’t whisk all my friends and family away to the windy city, so I decided to make my own Purple Pig inspired meal (with a twist!). You see, the Northwest happens to have amazing wine, cheese, and pork. And thus, this little dinner party was born. I invited a few friends over and made a meal that paid tribute to The Purple Pig, while showcasing the cheese, wine, and pork (and charcuterie) of the Northwest.
I dreamed up the menu, which was loosely based on the original meal I had at the Purple Pig. I added a few courses, and used local pork, cheese, and (mostly) Northwest wines. I asked a few friends to come over and enjoy the feast – all of whom are wine savvy – and gave them the task of selecting wine pairings. We ended up with a beautiful selection of wines (mostly from the Northwest, but a few French wines snuck in there! :) )
I did a lot of my shopping for this meal at the Portland Farmer’s Market. I must say, I owe all the success of my meal to the fantastic offerings that Portland has to offer. If I’m being honest, my meal began as a tribute to the Purple Pig, but really…I think it ended up being more of tribute to the Pacific Northwest. I had absolutely beautiful products to work it, so it wasn’t hard to make them sing.
All that to say: I had a lovely time dreaming up, planning, prepping, cooking, and eating this meal. I am so glad I was able to be part of the Foodbuzz 24×24 for April!
Please see below for a full description and photos of the cheese, wine and swine dinner party. I will post recipes for these dishes throughout the week!
And now, the meal! In five acts.
Act 1. Melon skewers with home-cured duck breast prosciutto, Juniper Grove Redmondo aged goat’s milk cheese. Paired with The Babushka (A beet vodka & Prosecco cocktail).
Just for fun, I also decided to serve a Country Paté from Chop that I picked up at the farmer’s market that morning:
Act 2. Roasted Beet and Fennel Salad with Pistachio Vinaigrette and Whipped Goat Cheese (from Juniper Grove Goat Cheeses, Redmond, OR). Wine Pairing: Terrisey Gaillac 2009 Rosé
Act 3. Moules Frites. Mussels in Pancetta, Shallot and White Wine (Erath Pinot Blanc) sauce. Served with Belgian style twice fried fries and cremé fraiche. Wine pairing(s): Anne Amie Pinot Gris and a 2009 Domaine du Pas Saint Martin Saumur
Act 4. Potted Pork Rillettes (Basque Farms & Carlton Farms pork) served on crusty bread with Apricot Mostarda. Served with a shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with pine nuts and lemon. Wine pairing(s): Anne Amie (Willamette Valley) Cuvée A Pinot Noir and Laura Volkman Vineyards St. James Estate 2008 Oregon Pinot Noir.
Act 5. Poached Pears with Raw Wildflower Honey and Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue Cheese Wine pairing: Erath 2009 Sweet Harvest Pinot Noir
As you can see: THIS MEAL WAS AWESOME.
Finally, I must thank my husband for all the work he put into the creation of this meal. He cured the duck breast prosciutto (which was fan-tastic). He cleaned and prepped the mussels. He made the twice fried Belgian fries. I love him for so many different reasons, but he is an amazing cook and his culinary perspective is so unique. He helps me think out of the box and he helps keep me sane in the kitchen. I couldn’t have done it without him. (Oh, and he did ALL the dishes. All of them! Best husband ever!)
Thanks to Mari, Dan, Noelle, Blake and Nicole for being the guests of honor. It was my pleasure to cook for you all.
And now I’ll leave you with photo of our tiny living room, transformed into a ‘formal’ dining room. (With my cat, Penelope, in the window):
Photo credits: Mari Yeckel & Lindsay Strannigan