This may have been the biggest crowd. It's getting hard to tell. Maybe I should judge the night on the number of wine bottles we went through? 15 bottles this week! Holy Shit!
15 bottles of wine, and 15 kids. Was it a full moon or something? Because the children were especially nutty this week. I couldn't even open the oven door without almost smacking a kid in the head. Usually we don't put on the TV until after dinner, but this was an exception. Also an exception in that it didn't work to quiet them down. Our biggest mistake this week? Not having enough popsicles! Definitely not going to let that happen again.
But it was so much fun! All my favorite people, including Chad, my old high school buddy, who drove up from the south bay with his lovely wife and a bottle of his just-bottled Kronick Hot Sauce. My lawyer, my first employee, my favorite neighbor. My friends. My family.
Radiatori with roasted chicken, carrots, shallots, pine nuts and sage
That chicken, holy moly! After roasting the chickens I shredded them and reserved all the juices and all the skin. I spread the shredded chicken out on a baking sheet, doused it with olive oil and lemon juice, and broiled it for a few minutes, getting it nice and crispy. I also broiled the chicken skin, making it crispy like bacon, and crumbled it up for guests to sprinkle on like cheese.
After cooking the Radiatori and mixing it with shallots, carrots, pine nuts, sage and toasted panko, I stirred in all those reserved chicken juices. Have you ever tasted bread toasted with chicken juices? This was better. No joke. Better. The pasta was HEARTY. Hard to tell where the chicken ended and the pasta began. All the goodness melded together, all being held together with citrus and chicken fat.
Mixed roasted potatoes with fresh lettuces, black olives, dried cranberries and ricotta salata
Once again, the salad was no afterthought. I sliced and roasted firm yellow and purple potatoes, and mixed them with cured black olives, tart cranberries, lots of mild and creamy ricotta salata and just olive oil. I didn't think it needed a full-on dressing. Each ingredient on its own was so tasty, I didn't want to dilute any of them with a strong dressing.
I can eat this stuff with a spoon. I usually make it with Laotian sticky rice, but I thought the bright freshness would pair well with the hearty pasta. I roast up some jalapeno peppers and scallions, and blend them together with loads of cilantro, parsley, lemon juice, pounded garlic, olive oil and salt. I really really really wish we had some left over.
Wines of the Night:
I don't get to try even half of the wines, so I can only report on those I do try. We had a malbec from Livermore that was fantastic, as was the Carignane from Santa Ynez. I also tried a red blend from Tamber Bey in Calistoga that was super tasty. I need to start paying more attention to the wines. Stay tuned for next week, I promise to give this section more love!