Ninth Month Menu

Last month for our Ninth Month anniversary meal I thought it would be a fun change of pace to go on a picnic. I would make one exception to have this monthly anniversary meal on our fine china since it was such a nice weekend and we would still be commemorating the monthly anniversary. Fate would just so have it that the picnic spot would fail and we would return home to have a picnic on our fine china! I'll include our recipes first and then the failed picnic story below!

Lobster potato salad
Pimento cheese sandwiches
Blueberry orange fruit salad
Apricot mascarpone tart
served with Seaglass Chardonnay

Ina Garten's Lobster potato salad
1 1/2 lbs unpeeled small Yukon Gold potatoes
Kosher salt
3 tbsp Champagne vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c good olive oil
1/4 c dry white wine
3 tbsp drained capers
1 c thinly sliced scallions
1/2 c diced celery
1/2 c diced red onion
1 1/2 lb cooked lobster meat, diced
1 lemon
3 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon  
   Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water by 1 inch. Add 1 tablespoon salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes, until just tender. (I use a small bamboo skewer to test them.) Drain in a colander, cover the colander with a clean kitchen towel, and allow the potatoes to steam for 5 to 10 minutes. Cut them in quarters or halves, depending on their size, and place them in a large bowl.
   Meanwhile, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, garlic, egg yolk, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. While whisking, slowly pour in the olive oil, making an emulsion. Stir in the wine and capers. While the potatoes are still very warm, pour half the vinaigrette on the potatoes and toss them gently, allowing them to soak up the vinaigrette. Stir in the scallions, celery, red onion and lobster and add enough vinaigrette to moisten. Reserve any remaining vinaigrette. Add the zest and juice of the lemon, the tarragon, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and toss carefully. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to blend. Taste for seasonings and add more vinaigrette, if necessary. Serve at room temperature.

Apricot mascarpone tart
For two 8 inch tarts or one 9 x 13 pan of bars (we made bars and cut the recipe in half)
   For the topping
1 1/2 lbs pitted apricots
1 1/2 c sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 orange peel
3 c dry white wine
   For the filling
1 lb mascarpone
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup reduced apricot liquid
   For the tart
2 c all-purpose flour
8 oz unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 c powdered sugar
pinch of salt
Pre Heat oven to 350F
   For the crust, work together the flour, butter, powdered sugar and salt until it forms a dough (I needed to add a little water to make the dough come together). If making tarts, divide the dough in half. Sprinkle your work area with flour and roll out each ball of dough to about 1/4 thick and 10 inches wide. Lay each dough over a fluted tart pan and press the dough in.  Add a piece of parchment to the bottom of each tart pan on top of the dough, and add pie weights or dried beans to keep everything in place. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes, remove the parchment and weights, and bake for another 10 minutes until lightly golden brown.  Remove and cool.
   If making bars, spread the dough on the bottom of a greased 9×13″ baking dish lined with parchment folded over the sides (this is for easy bar removal) and pat down so it’s evenly distributed. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden brown, remove, and cool.
   Combine apricots, sugar, cinnamon, orange peel and wine in a pot over medium-high heat. When mixture boils, reduce to simmer and cook for 45 to 50 minutes, until liquid has turned to syrup and the fruit is completely tender.  You should be able to cut and bite through it without much effort.  If it needs more time, cook it for another 5 minutes and test it again. Set aside a half cup of the liquid, and set aside the fruit until it cools to room temp (you don’t want it to melt the cheese when you combine everything).
   Whip the mascarpone with vanilla, sugar and liquid.  Spread over the shortbread crust. Top with apricots in a pretty pattern.  Brush with left over syrup to make it glisten.
   If you’re making this ahead, store it in the fridge and take it out about 20 minutes before serving to take the chill off.

Still smiling after our failed picnic! We're back home here and just finished setting up our outdoor table and chairs.

We had picnicked before at the Vineyards at Southpoint and loved it. The vineyard is a short drive away and gives us the opportunity to relax and leave behind all the major commotion of Durham. The vineyard is nestled in a lovely greenscape complete with grapevines, a pond that has a fountain, and lots of picnic tables. It was the perfect spot for an anniversary picnic! 

As you can see I planned us a nicer-than-average picnic for the special occasion. 
From top to bottom: Fruit salad, Apricot mascarpone tart, Pimento cheese sandwiches, Lobster potato salad

And then packed it all up

Well we get to the vineyard and it's closed for the season! I had looked them up before we left to verify their hours and it said open. It seems like the closing was very recent. They had an announcement on their facebook page that the winemakers have decided to focus on family even though the vineyard was doing well. Hopefully someone will open it back up! 

In the meantime we drove around to nearby parks to find a suitable replacement but I was being a bit picky and didn't want to settle for the sub par tables next to soccer fields (anniversary picnic, remember?!). We finally decided to go home, set up our outdoor dining set, and make a fancy picnic at home. Here's our tablescape complete with fine china and picnic food!

Even though I missed the winery picnic, it was nice to use our fine china and continue the monthly anniversary dinners!

1 comment:

  1. What a menu! Sounds delicious. Sorry you missed out on the winery but your backyard looked really nice too.