Monthly Archives: August 2009

Oh yes, it’s ladies night

So the Thursday morning after the Top Chef Masters finale, I was a little bummed because Hubert Keller lost, but I wasn’t down for too long because I had dinner at my friend Ellen’s house to look forward to. As I wrote a few months ago, every Thursday Ellen hosts a “Girls Night” at her home.

Ellen is a fabulous cook and host. She usually prepares an entree and then the rest of us sign up to bring salad, bread, wine or dessert. Along with Ellen, my weekly dining companions are Mahnaz, Tara, Jill, Lynn and Michelle. Although it’s “Girls Night,” men are welcome so Ellen’s husband, Jeff, is also at the table and other spouses make frequent appearances. Half of us are new moms so there are also a few babies in the mix as well as Jeff and Ellen’s dachsund, Chaplin.

This past Thursday, we celebrated the return of Project Runway with an all-appetizers menu.

Jill made garam masala deviled eggs and ham tartines.

Garam masala deviled eggs

Ham tartines

Tara brought a fancy cheese plate and a not-so-fancy, but delicious, sweet dip for strawberries made with cream cheese and marshmallow fluff.

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Strawberries and dip

Ellen prepared Italian meatballs and Jamaican chicken bites.

Meat balls

Jamaican chicken bites

Mahnaz roasted an assortment of vegetables dusted with curry powder.

Roasted vegetables

And I attempted to recreate a Tom Douglas appetizer I had tasted at an event. It was a thin slice of granny smith apple topped with smoked salmon, creme fraiche and dill. I couldn’t find any creme fraiche at the grocery store so I used sour cream instead. They turned out surprisingly well!

Apples with salmon and dill

Lynn rounded out things with amazing chocolate and peanut butter brownie bites.

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Tara and Mahnaz dressed up for Project Runway viewing and looked fierce. (I wore sweats.)

Tara and Mahnaz

The lone male that evening was Ellen’s baby boy, Jonah.

Ellen and Jonah

The food was awesome, the company divine. And Project Runway? I enjoyed the All-Stars edition much more than the season 6 premiere, although there was way too much Santino for my taste. Season 6 has way too many designers to keep track of, and I thought the challenge of creating an outfit for a “red carpet event” was pretty dull.

Speaking of fashion, who designed the outfit for the lead singer in this video? If your client says, “I’d like a floor length jacket that looks like a brick wall,” you should say no.

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Head Master

Tonight is a TV food competition feast with the finale of Top Chef Masters followed by a supersized season premiere of Top Chef Las Vegas. I’ve really been enjoying watching world-class chefs (and in many cases, former Top Chef judges) duke it out. It’s been fun to see which classic quickfire challenges get brought back too. My favorite was the mise en place relay race. From the very start, I wanted Hubert Keller to win, and I hope he takes the title tonight. He totally rocked the dorm room challenge. Although I wouldn’t mind if Rick Bayless won either. I think I have a celebrity crush on him. (This has never happened before with a chef.) I think he’s really hot! I’ve always enjoyed Michael Chiarello’s cooking shows, but I don’t like him on Top Chef Masters. He has come off as an arrogant jerk. I wonder if the producers were looking for a villain and decided he should be the one. In any case, his neediness to win has really turned me off. Go Hubert!

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