We had a fantastic meal at our friend’s house not too long ago.You’ll remember Linda and Hal. She’s the gourmet cook and he knows everything about pairing wines/champagnes/after dinner drinks with her food.

The menu this evening was pesto cheesecake, fresh corn and tomato stacked salad, home smoked black cod, pasta in lemon sauce, and roasted asparagus with sliced fennel and onion. We completed the evening with homemade chocolate sorbet and cookies. Absolutely delicious.

We started out with an appetizer of homemade  pesto cheesecake. This was served in the wine cellar.


Then we gathered around the kitchen as Linda unmolded a stacked fresh corn and tomato salad with a reduction of balsamic vinegar. This was our first sit down course. Then it was back to the kitchen to see what was next on the menu.


Linda started  preparing the Croxette pasta to serve with a light lemon sauce.  I was fascinated by the Croxetti pasta, which I had never seen. Hal had purchased the pasta from an Italian specialty market. Croxetti is a pasta that was made by local peasants in the middle ages and used by aristocrats as a display of wealth. The stamp was usually a family’s coat of arms.  Today, it’s made in small batches near Genova, Italy. Stamped and cut approximately 1.75 inches in diameter from pasta sheets with a mold, often by hand, the shape is distinctive and the ridges hold in the pasta sauce.


I fell in love with the cheese grater, as Hal grated some fresh Parmesano Regianno into a handmade wooden box. Of course, Hal had to coordinate getting me a dozen of these for holiday gifts.Don’t you sometimes need a perfect gift for someone who loves to cook- especially around the holidays? This cheese grater was it for me.


Not much room left now, but we managed to finish dessert. Homemade chocolate sorbet with thin, crisp wafers. Now you know why my husband and I barely rolled home at the end of the evening. Of course,  I couldn’t resist taking a few photographs!


Thank you for another great culinary treat, Linda and Hal!


– The Gourmet Review







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