French Themed Tasting Brunch

I hosted a tasting for 6 guests today.  It was offered up at an Arthritis Foundation Raffle as a favor to my friend Kim.  I love cooking for tasting parties because you can try multiple recipes and often step out of your comfort zone.  The smaller portions make cooking the dish so much less intimidating.

Planning is key

When planning a tasting menu, it is important to theme it to help guide your recipe selection. Always confirm the number of people attending and also if anyone has any food allergies. I knew today’s group had 6 people, all women and one of them a vegetarian which really helped me select the recipes. I want my guests to enjoy the courses and it helps to know the type of food they like.

Seasonal Ingredients

I love cooking with seasonal, fresh ingredients. I love coming back from the Farmers Market and seeing the wonderful mix of colors of all my vegetables. I chose today, to focus on Fall tastes, ideal to usher in the season. Here is the menu – the Purist will tell you it is not completely French. I totally agree. I was cooking for the party in between multiple soccer games (my son was playing in a Tournament) so I planned around items that were familiar to me. A truer statement would be that it was French-inspired.

Table Setting

I kept the table setting tight and intimate to give it a cozy Paris bistro atmosphere. Simple but elegant roses were the centerpieces. Thanks to my dear friend Christa Sprouse who came over last night to do the flowers. There were beautiful and definitely set the mood for the afternoon. I focused in on early Fall colors for the setting – deep reds and some touches of yellow.

The 6 Courses

Here is what I served the lovely ladies.

Warm Mushroom Salad

Pumpkin Soup

Mango Yogurt Smoothie

Vegetable Tian

MAIN COURSE

Chicken Stuffed with Spinach & Cheese served with Roasted Vegetable

DESSERT

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Banana Nutella Crepes

Here are a few of the recipes from today:

WARM MUSHROOM SALAD

This mushroom salad is so easy to make and it kicked our party off to a great and easy start. Guests loved the combination of flavors.  The perfect bite of this salad is quite delicious, so load your fork carefully. It is also unexpected to be served a warm salad – a nice treat on a rather cool day. Here is the recipe. https://cookingmalaysiagirl.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/warm-mushroom-salad/ 

VEGETABLE TIAN

This is an easy dish since you just have to assemble the ingredients and let it roast in the oven. Always nice to include the fresh thyme as a garnish for this dish. My guests LOVED the vegetables and the burst of flavors and colors makes it a wonderful dish to serve.

Here is a quick recipe for my version of this dish. https://cookingmalaysiagirl.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/vegetable-tian/

PUMPKIN PIE OATMEAL

I know this is a breakfast dish but I served it today as a dessert course. It was a hit with my guests. It was totally unexpected and a delightful little dish after the main course. I drizzled it with pure maple syrup and some heavy cream (just a tad) and topped it with pecans. Yum!

Here if the complete recipe.

https://cookingmalaysiagirl.wordpress.com/2011/11/12/pumpkin-pie-oatmeal/

All is all, a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Good food, great friends and lively conversation. All of us sharing life!

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