Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tasty Tuesdays: Citrus Inspired Supper Club Menu

       I have been in a supper club for about a year and a half now, and I still get very nervous about hosting!  I want everything to be just right.  I try to start off with a central theme.  So far, I have done a Tribute to New Orleans Seafood and a Thanksgiving feast.  This month, I thought it would be nice to play on the fresh bright flavors of citrus.  I wanted dishes that had lots of color and balanced complexity in preparation and dishes that were tied together by common ingredients - spring herbs and toasted nuts. 
        I sometimes end up getting in over my head by trying to make every dish the most complex dish ever prepared.  Having learned that the anxiety surrounding that doesn't make supper club fun, I have chosen one dish (the risotto) that takes a bit more preparation than the others.  The almonds and mini tomato pies will be prepared the night before and baked off before our guests arrive.  The pie must chill overnight, so it's the perfect dessert to serve since it requires no work during the course of the meal.  I plan to have all of the ingredients sliced/chopped/minced prior to our guests arrival so that all that needs to be done is a quick toss of the greens, the orange and fennel, and the dressing before serving.  Mark is taking care of the steak - from marinating it to grilling it - he's claimed that as his project.  That leaves me free to stir and stir and stir until my risotto comes out just perfectly.  As for the drinks, I'm going to be making those ahead of time and they will be served in a pretty pitcher surrounded by sugar rimmed glasses.  In my mind, our tablescape will look something like it does in the picture above.  I like the simplicity of the whole lemons in the vase.  Easy and very sophisticated.
Hors d'Oeuvres: Spicy Roasted Almonds w/ Rosemary; Mini Tomato Pies w/ fresh Basil
Dessert: Frozen Strawberry Lemonade Pie

4 tbsp. butter
1 scallion (white and light green parts only), 
   finely chopped
3 1⁄2 cups arborio rice
1 cup white wine
3⁄4 cup heavy cream
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons (about 1 
3⁄4 cup finely grated parmigiano-reggiano 
   (about 2 oz.)
Julienned zest of 1 lemon, for garnish
1. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil over high heat on a back burner. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. of the butter in a heavy-duty medium pot over medium heat. Add scallions and cook until softened and light golden, about 2 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until translucent, about 3–4 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until rice has absorbed most of the wine, about 1 minute.
2. Add 1 cup of the boiling water to rice, using a ladle, and cook, stirring constantly, until water has been absorbed, 2–3 minutes. Repeat this process 5–6 more times, until rice is al dente. (You'll have water left over.) Add cream and grated lemon zest and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat, stir in remaining butter and parmigiano-reggiano, and season to taste with salt. (If risotto seems too thick, add more water to adjust to desired consistency.)
3. Spoon risotto onto plates and garnish with julienned lemon zest. Serve immediately.

PS - I think I will use chicken broth instead of water.  What do you think?  Will it overpower the lemon flavor?

Also, are you in a supper club?  What's your go-to dish that you like to make when you host?


  1. Citrus sounds fun, and very different. Let me know how the Limoncello Champagne cocktails taste. They sounds yummy and refreshing!

    My go-to dish is always the appetizer. It's pretty simple, a block of cream cheese on the center of a decorative plate, top it with red or green pepper jelly, then surround it with crackers. It's delicious! And I always end up eating way too many.

    Have fun at your supper club, and hope it all goes well!

  2. Oh wow!!!! What great ideas you have! A supper club sounds like so much fun!! :)

    I definitely think you should go with the chicken broth. It adds a bit of extra flavor but I don't think it will overpower the lemon at all. Have fun and good luck!!!!

  3. I love the centerpiece in the first pic. Heidi has a lemon tree in her backyard & I am always telling her that she needs to find a bride that is doing a spring wedding & needs lemons for centerpieces. Or maybe I will get married in the spring some day & buy a crate of them from them for centerpieces.

    I am not in a supper club, but wish I was. Although I am kind of nervous about cooking for others as I am always afraid that it will be a total flop!

    My go-to dish these days is this beef in pomeganate sauce. It is not fancy & wouldn't 'present well' but it's delicious!!!

  4. Besides your pictures and the delicious recipe (thanks for that-I've been searching for a new side dish!) I just wanted to reach out and say hello!

    I'm a New Orleans gal myself, attended Sacred Heart, so it is so nice to see another local blogging out here.

    Thoroughly enjoyed your posts-can't wait to read more.



  5. This sounds wonderful! How fun! I wish I belonged to a Supper Club. I am reading a book right now where the characters have a supper club and it seems so fun! Have a great day! ~Andrea

  6. YUM! can I come?

    I would love to have some other friends who like to cook like me and do a supper club- but sadly all of our local friends are non-cooker types. Unless it's a crawfish boil. HA!

  7. OMGoodness...yummy menu and just beautiful tablescape inspiration! I know what you mean about risotto, it can be so difficult. Your lemon risotto sounds wonderful, I'm going to try it. We have done marinated flank steaks for years and years. So easy and always light. Your mini tomato pies with basil sound intriguing? Got that recipe?

    We were in a dinner club years back, it was so much fun. Most of those dear friends have moved away, so no clubs here any more. I do, however, love to entertain. It's so much more fun than the everyday "Got to fix dinner, I'm running out of healthy, low calorie ideas"!

    Wishing your lovely Supper Club dinner is perfect and delightful. You've put lots of thought into it, so I just know it will be a perfect evening!

  8. YUM!! Sign us up! This menu sounds fantastic and I love the tablescape! Gurrgess!

    For sure go with the chicken broth. Love to sub that when making these kinds of dishes. And flank steak is one of our all time go to's!

  9. Oh, that menu sounds wonderful right down to the cocktails! Just tell me where and when :)

  10. I misread the title and thought it said "circus" not "citrus" and immediately thought, then I could host supper club at our house! Peanuts, cotton candy, light up favors ... and then I read properly. Hehe. We love our supper club --- I wish we met more than once a month! Xoxo-BLC

  11. Citrus is a really creative way to go & I would definately use the chicken stock.. adds more of a full flavor than water.
    xo-Silvia :)

  12. Totally drooling over here! YUM!!! :)



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