Mid 2010, I discovered and fell in love with a cookbook, Cowgirl Cuisine by Paula Disbrowe, (also an accomplished food and travel writer and editor.) The book was not only filled with recipes for great food, but pictures and stories about a ranch resort lifestyle that sounded like utopia to me. I wrote about it here:
A year or two after writing that review, I gushingly introduced myself to Paula at a Les Dames d’Escoffier event, and have gotten acquainted with David Norman (artisan bread baker extraordinaire, for Easy Tiger and 24 Diner) through Slow Food Austin and other events. I remain a gushing fangirl of them both.
So, when the couple donated a Pink Wine and Tapenade Dinner for 8, to the Les Dames online charity auction last year, I made sure I was the high bidder, which required staying up well into the morning hours with my finger on my computer keyboard, lest someone outbid me. Les Dames does good work and I was happy to contribute, and super excited to have this experience.
It took some finagling to get schedules cleared, but we picked a date, early last month.
The wines, all donated by Glazer Distributing, showed up the day before our dinner.
On the day of the dinner, David showed up first, with loaf after loaf of gorgeous bread, French Bread, a Boutard, and this amazingly beautiful Fougasse.
Out came the knives, which meant things were about to get serious in my kitchen. My guests all arrived early, out of sheer excitement for the evening, and we crowded in the kitchen sipping on bubbles and trying to stay out of the way, but wanting to be in on, and close to the cooking action, and our esteemed chefs.
Paula chopped the herbs that would go into the various courses.
Since we were all in the kitchen anyway, they decided to pass around the first course, a duo of tapenades, one with roasted beets, and the other a classic olive blend, as they told us of the travels to France, the inspiration for these dishes. The wine pairing for this dish was the Albrecht Cremant Rose NV, Alsace, France. Bubbles and tapenade = perfect.
We vacated the kitchen for the next dish, which was as delicious as it was stunning to look at. Thinly sliced zucchini, watermelon radish, ricotta salata, pistachios, salt and a drizzle of olive oil and lemon. (I think) It was amazing. With this dish, we poured the Domain OTT Domaniers Rose 2011 – Cotes De Provence.
After this dish, came a delicious salad of mixed greens, for which I have no photo.
The main course was oven roasted Twin County Dorper Lamb leg, roasted baby carrots, celery root puree, and a Provencal tomato with herbs and bread crumbs. Each course was inspired by the couple’s travels to southern France. Everything on the plate was expertly prepared and absolutely fabulous!
The wine pairing for the lamb was the Paul Mas Clos D Savignac – Southern France. Not only was the pairing wonderful, the wine was so delicious, I purchased some the following day at the Austin Wine Merchant.
There was a beautiful tart for desert, I believe pear, but I was so full of David’s delicious breads (which we slathered with goat butter) and the couples’ gorgeous food, that I only took a bite. It too, was amazing.
If dinner, wine and company weren’t enough to make for a perfect evening, they brought with them goodie bags of David’s croissants and chocolate bread for everyone to take home for breakfast.
As I mentioned above, ever the gushing fangirl, I didn’t let Paula leave my house without getting her autograph in my copy of her cookbook.