The Swans and a Birthday Party

We still have a large flock of swans on Hook pond. For some reason they’ve chosen a shallow area around the bridge between the fourth tee box and green to congregate. Every day they skate back and forth in the breeze, one signette remains among them and I‘ve yet to see it fly.

On Saturday night we celebrated Roxanne Briggs, it was her 50th birthday. Ten couples in attendance at 20 Dunemere in the living room. She wanted everyone in the same room and it was accomplished with 4 round tables, the 4th table was occupied by our children, the 6 girls not only served a handpicked salad of greens, roasted beets, carrots and radishes in a mustard soy vinaigrette, they also wrote and delivered 2 excellent toasts. First the Ambrose girls followed by the Briggs children and then just about everyone else in the room. A highlight of the evening was a rousing card game of BS lead by Johnny Muse and his pal Mark Consualo’s. It was a special treat to have Mark and his lovely wife Kelly Ripa with us as Jess and I had never met them before.The evenings menu featured a simple butternut squash puree prepared by Lyman. The squash was roasted sliced in half and seeded with skin on in a shallow water bath. After an hour in the oven @ 350 degrees they were cooled and then pressed through a mesh strainer and are warmed in a pyrex baking dish just prior to service.

We also served green broad beans mixed with yellow string beans a real treasure for this time of the year. As a rule the temperature has grown too cold for beans but this year we’ve been lucky. After snapping the ends off and slicing the beans I dropped them in a pot of water at a rolling boil for about 1 minute, then transferred them directly to a bowl of ice water. Just before service Mansell sautéed a cup of chopped shallots with a ¼ stick of unsalted butter followed by the blanched beans and about 1 teaspoon of salt.

The potatoes were gathered from a tilled field at Quail Hill then sliced and roasted with olive oil, sliced red and yellow peppers and a sprinkle of salt. Tossed in a large roasting pan and then roasted in a 425 degree oven for an hour, stirring often. The cauliflower at Quail hill’s farm stand were green and purple, unfortunately they don’t keep the purple color when cooked but Whittier and the guests loved them any way. We steamed them after slicing into pieces and they were tossed with about 3 tablespoons of honey and a pinch of salt. Steamed in chicken stock they tasted delicious.

For protein 2 pismos (filet mignon) were grilled and (4) 3.5 pound Chickens were stuffed with parsley, thyme, rosemary and red onion and roasted for 1:15 hour at 375 degrees. The chicken was cut into pieces and served with a drizzle of reduced chicken stock. The filet was cooked to medium well per Roxanne’s request and sliced.

For dessert the children helped me make a pink raspberry mousse cake and we served it with 50 candles and a decoration of handpicked raspberries that said “ROXY”.

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