It has become a tradition of sorts~~
Each spring we attend the Ronald McDonald charity gala (click to see that special post) with our friends. We all pool our money and purchase the "private dinner cooked by a personal Chef". Then later in the year (you would not believe how hard it is for us all to get our schedules together!) we meet at the home of our dear friends Bob and Jan to enjoy this wonderful and delectable experience.
Our beautiful table decorations (as created by our friend Bob) for our wonderful evening of fellowship with friends.
Our very special friends Bob and Jan. A joy in our lives~~
Another "Bob" and his lovely wife Brenda. Because we are all such "busy " people - we don't often get to visit - thus making this night all the more special.
Bob and Jan have a beautiful home that sits right on the banks of the Ohio River. I stepped out onto the porch shortly after we arrived for this stunning view.
Within minutes - the evening sun had cast an orange glow all over the world outside. The river and the sky shimmered with that special cast that you only see in the late days of fall, the colors of the trees reflecting beautifully in the slowly moving river~~
We all gathered around to watch as the evening progressed to a brief but stunning display of the sun's reflection against the trees.
This amazing display of colors lasted only a few minutes - but my always ready camera captured it forever.
Back inside Chef Mike Bowen was hard at work preparing the vegetables for roasting later. Mike always tries to incorporate ingredients that are local and fresh. The carrots and parsnips were a late harvest from Bob's garden. He also used fresh sage from Jan's herb garden for our delicious soup.
Waiting on the appetizers and conversing with friends. Constant chatter, wine, laughing, talking about our upcoming travels - (we are all cruising together in February), playing with my new IPAD - looking at travel photos, (me taking more pictures!) - it was a wonderful evening.~~~
Let the eating begin - Chef Mike serves the appetizers. Leek and goat cheese stuffed mushrooms and also a wonderful platter of prosciutto and rosemary wrapped shrimp with lemon caper sauce. (how long do you think these lasted?)
That lemon caper sauce was to die for!
Preparing for the next course - Butternut squash sage and Parmesan soup.
Oh my gosh - this was the most wonderful soup ever. We all agreed - we had eaten butternut squash soup in many varieties BUT this WAS the BEST ever. More savory than sweet - this is the one recipe that I have been searching for ! We asked for the recipe and Mike is such a sweetie - he gave it to us ! (I will share it with you at the end of this post~~)
Pistachio crusted chicken with fig sauce, risotto cakes and roasted root vegetables. The Gardener said this was the best chicken dish he had ever eaten. The fig sauce was out of this world and those roasted root veggies - oh my!
Can't you just tell that we are having a wonderful evening among friends!
Our friends are all "wine snobs". They have immense knowledge about wines and have a true appreciation for great wines. (Me - I by wine that has a pretty label.) BUT this wine was one that we all agreed on - it was wonderful - and quite possibly the best I have ever had. Bob and Brenda brought the wine - selected it from their endless wine cellar - the last bottle they had, (can't remember where it came from !!!) a french wine that now we are all in search of!
And dessert of course~~ a chocolate pecan pie with cinnamon whipped cream - can we just all say ahhh!
I love this guy - for more reasons than I can ever share here. A true friend to me - this man's faith and courage through his battle with cancer has been an inspiration for all of us who know and love him. A true survivor - we are so blessed by his determination and his love of life. He knows I love him - I tell him every time we are together.
Butternut Squash and Parmesan Soup
1 medium onion - diced
2 stalks celery - diced
1 large butternut squash - chopped into small pieces
3 cloves fresh roasted garlic
4 cups chicken broth
2 T cream
Parmesan cheese - fresh grated - to taste
dried sage for garnish
Saute onions, celery and carrots in oil - saute until clear. Add butternut squash and saute for about 10 - 15 minutes longer. Add chicken stock, roasted garlic, and cook covered for about 15-20 minutes. Puree all ingredients then return to pot - add cream. Add grated Parmesan and sage when serving. (Mike says that he prepares the soup the night before so that the flavours mingle together - so you might want to consider that when you make the soup.)
Coming up soon - the Gardener's family recipe for Butternut squash souffle. (It's not really a souffle - but we call it that anyway!) Our most favorite Holiday recipe - and requested every time we join friends and family for dinner. I will try to have this posted in time for your Holiday baking~~