In my quest to live my life like a French girl this post on Design Sponge about a French themed dinner party to celebrate the release of the American version of Little Paris Kitchen, which to be fair I have not read yet, but there are at least 3 other cookbooks on my to-get list, caused me to immediately email the usual suspects for a Saturday night dinner party.
I choose to tweak the menu laid out in the post, as I wanted an excuse to eat a bunch of cheese, therefore a cheese course was added, as was a simple salad so that I could use up the thick cut bacon I found at the Harvey’s Market stand at Union Market.
I started the dinner with Palmieres, which were served to everyone straight off the cookie sheet while they stood in the kitchen with me, they could not be simpler if they wanted to be, you just roll out puff pastry, cover with a layer of nice Dijon mustard, and then roll the long ends toward the middle (you do this on both sides so you end up with what looks like elephant ears). Then you wrap them in plastic and pop into the freezer to make them easier to slice. After about 10 minutes pull them back out of the freezer slice and line up on a cookie sheet then pop into the oven (I think I set mine at 400 degrees) and bake till they are golden and puffy. They store nicely and are excellent as a snack the next day, perhaps to nibble on while writing a blog post!
The moules were about as simple of a dish as you can make. Saute some thinly sliced onions, I used two as they were small, in butter, with a few shakes of dried Thyme, and a bay leaf, you can either use a dutch oven or a large drying pan. Once the onions are nice and carmely add about 2/3 cup of white wine (although I think a nice Belgian beer would work too), and then quickly add 4 pounds of mussels (after having cleaned them including pulling off any beards, discard any that are cracked). Then just turn up the heat and cover, either shaking the pan occasionally, or stir a few times, for about 4 minutes until the mussels open. From there the pan went directly to the table (on top of a wooden cutting board to protect the table) and let everyone serve the moules and tasty broth into their own bowls and eat with lots of crusty bread to soak up the sauce. The 4 pounds of mussels easily served 5 people.
The salad could not be easier if it tried. I bought beautiful butter lettuce that I washed and cut into smaller pieces (don’t tell the French, apparently they do not allow lettuce to be cut). To that I added the thick cut bacon, which I cut into small pieces, cooked, and drained, as well as two hard boiled eggs which were also cut up. The dressing was the end of a jar of Dijon, with maybe 2 tablespoons in the bottom, about 1/4 cup of olive oil, and a few dashes of red wine vinegar (to taste), then shake it up and pour it over the whole thing and eat.
The beauty of the whole menu was that it was all very simple and could be tossed onto the table quickly to give us all lots of time to drink bottles of wine and talk about all sorts of inane things until we all got so tired that the mess had to be left until the next morning!