Saturday, September 06, 2008

Happy Birthday to UtHC and a Giveaway Present for You!

Today is our second birthday here at Under the High Chair and I am celebrating by giving you a present! Find out at the end of the post how you can win this world-class spice kit for your own cooking pleasure!

Today we are celebrating two years of blogging! Hip hip hooray! Go ahead, give us a pat on the back. I'm so excited about this post! Don't go anywhere!

I was thinking last night about how I wanted to sum up this past year of blogging. I was imagining how I would go on and on about how busy the year was, how I wasn't sure how we would get over the hump (sorry, bad pun) of having a baby and how that would affect my blogging time, but shucks, who wants to read about all that?The bottom line is: I'm still here and more importantly, so are you!

I want to say a big 'thank you' to my readers, both those of you who have been with me since day one and the new arrivals; you guys are the best!

There are two things I would like to do for you to show my appreciation, one is a virtual dinner party that you are all invited to (also to showcase a few dishes from this past year) and second, a fantastic giveaway that I intend to ship anywhere in the world (or deliver in person if the lucky winner is local)!! So, hurry, cancel whatever you were doing tonight, and get over here!

First up: Dinner Party

I've said before, picking a favorite dish or post on Under the High Chair is like being asked who I love more, Noah or Mateo: completely impossible to answer. So don't consider these dishes to be my final word on my ultimate best dish, but more like recipes I can't get enough of, my fall-back dishes for entertaining and food that is just so good you forget all your troubles.

So come on in and kick your shoes off!

I would love to wake up your palate with my most seductive amuse bouche, Foie Gras Sushi with Pears and Ice Cider Reduction. Enjoy it while you are curled up on the sofa or perched on my piano bench; it's a perfect way to start the evening.
A glass of chilled ice cider goes with it and a few napkins; it's pretty messy and meant to be eaten in two big bites. No nibbling here! It's important to get all the components - nori, rice, wasabi, pear, seared foie gras and ice cider reduction - in your mouth at the same time. Cheers!

Leave your glass at the sink and please take a place at the table!
If you found the sushi very rich, you were absolutely right, but now here is a crisp, fresh appetizer with enough acidity to make your taste buds pucker: Winter Salad of Russet Apple, Pomegranate and Toasted Pecans with a Picked Shallot and Apple Cider Vinaigrette. Here's a reminder that fall is just around the corner!
Russet apples happen to be my favorite, but any kind of apple would be lovely in this salad. Cipollini onions are also great instead of shallots, thinly sliced into pretty half moon wedges.

Excuse me for a moment, while I take this focaccia out of the oven. It's best served piping hot, and so easy to make, I whipped it up during the boys' nap time so we could enjoy it with our pasta.
Yeah, there's a story to go along with it about how I got started in professional cooking over ten years ago.
What? You can't believe I had time to make bread? For you, anything!

As a rule I don't usually make pasta for guests--it's so weekday dinner, but, mama mia, this recipe for Seafood Creole Tagliatelle is unlike any pasta you have ever tasted. I should have been grilling all summer long, but instead I found myself, night after night, grinding spices, peeling shrimp and stirring together this decadent dish. Many guests partook of it at my table, and although I tried every time to make extra so we could have leftovers, there was never one noodle left. Even my not-so-adventurous father-in-law (love ya, B!) had third helpings and when offered my famous Caesar salad, said "No thanks, I'm just going to eat pasta until I explode."
'Nuff said. Enjoy!

Well, I hope you still have some room left. Let me just warm up my espresso machine. Since this is a virtual dinner party anyway, we'll pretend I have that $6000 Jura X9 I was drooling over the other day at my fave kitchen store. Espresso or chai latte? The latter would go better with our dessert.
I love pairing spices with chocolate, and this decadent Chocolate Chai Cheesecake is a perfect example. Not a very glamorous dessert (cheesecakes always seem kind of stodgy to me) but you'll be won over with the first bite.

You can undo the button on your jeans if you have to, I won't tell anyone; I know, I'm stuffed too!
Don't worry about the dishes, I never let my guests do them. Shoo.

Thanks for joining me for this birthday dinner! Cheers!

And now for the giveaway!

I wanted to do this for my birthday, but for one reason or another, it didn't happen; fortunately this is the perfect opportunity to make your day and introduce you to some products from my friend, Philippe de Vienne. I've talked about him enough around here so he really doesn't need an introduction.
Longtime staples in my kitchen-- and in professional gourmet kitchens around town--this spice kit will leave you begging for more! This little package contains staples like cumin and cardamom, but also includes some more exotic spices such as long pepper, which is a stunning addition to this Milk Chocolate Pudding-- but there I go again with my chocolate and spice fad.

To win this "Kitchen 101-Base Spices" starter kit all you have to do is leave a comment between today, Saturday, September 6 and Saturday, September 13.
I will do a random draw of your names and notify the winner here on Sunday. As I said before, I'll ship anywhere in the world, and if the lucky winner is local, I will deliver it in person if you wish.
Please no anonymous comments, that's so boring. Good luck!

Ed Note: If you missed the first year of Under the High Chair, this post sums it up for you in a nutshell. There's even a fancy-shmancy slide show for your viewing pleasure!


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Anonymous said...


Foie Gras sushi?!? That would have been banned in Chicago just a couple months ago!!

Great blog! Glad I found it!

Cheers from Chicago,

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