Supper Club

A "Supper Club" is an 'underground club' often with a 'roving premises'.  Well, I can't really call the three other couples that we rotate dinner parties with 'underground' but we certainly have the 'roving premises' down.  We've done everything from handmade italian pasta to fried chicken to a mexican fiesta and each time we get together is a highlight of the year.  This Christmas Peter and I volunteered to host the holiday edition.  We wanted a menu that was easy to prepare, traditional and delicious.  With lots of champagne!

Over the past couple of years I've learned that the most successful dinner party is one that can prepared mostly in advance.  We don't have a dishwasher (the horror!) so I need enough time to wash, dry and put away any of the dishes and tools I use for preparation.  About a half an hour before our guests arrive each menu item should be in a baking dish ready to pop into the oven during cocktail hour.  Then I can get dressed and pour myself my first drink!  When we set the menu for this dinner party we tried to limit the amount of prep needed, and I think we succeeded.  We served a filet mignon roast, heirloom carrots roasted with spices and cinnamon sticks and rosemary garlic whipped potatoes (recipe below!).  Each item only takes one dish (plus an electric beater for the potatoes) so it was wonderfully easy to stay neat and organized.

We wanted a table that looked simple and festive without much fuss.  I purchased a bundle of winterberry branches in the flower district for thirty dollars that produced two full vases and a small arrangement for the bathroom and lasted three weeks.  Talk about value!  The branches were festive and tall but not obtrusive.  We'd been snacking on clementines from a William Yeoward crystal cake plate all week, so I left them on the table as a lower, colorful, counterpoint to the winterberries.  We even munched on them as we finished our wine after dessert!  We set each placesetting with our favorite Anna Weatherly wedding china and tied a linen napkin at each seat with a tartan ribbon.  They looked beautiful with gold laurel placecards from Mr. Boddington's.

Dessert was a homemade flourless chocolate cake piled with blackberries and served alongside pistachio ice cream.  I would have snapped a picture, but we gobbled it up too fast!  Peter interrupted everyone's dessert just to make sure they knew that I had made it (albeit with a recipe from Gourmet), which I promise he has never done before.  So I'd say it was a success!

Annie's Rosemary Garlic Whipped Potatoes:

Peel 5 lbs of idaho or yukon gold potatoes
Cut into 1 inch cubes
Cover potatoes with 2 inches of water in a heavy-bottomed pot; add 1 1/2 t. salt
Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender (10-15 m)
Drain potatoes in a colander
Return potatoes to pot over low heat, shaking occasionally, to dry out

Simmer 1T. of butter with 2 cloves minced garlic, 1-2 minutes
Add small handful of chopped fresh rosemary, 1-2 minutes
Add 1 c. whole milk and bring just to a boil
Remove from heat and add to potatoes
Using electric beater, whip potatoes until soft
Add 1/2 c. sour cream, whip or stir until combined

"Chocolate Decadence" from Gourmet is posted here.
I recommend lightly dusting the top of the cake with confectioner's sugar and then piling on blackberries for a rustic feel.
Pistachio gelato made by Ciao Bella is available at your local grocery store and makes for a delicious flavor combination.  

There's nothing more fun than hosting at home and being hosted at friends' homes.  It's so much more personal and intimate than heading out to a restaurant.  Give it a try!  And let us know if you are inspired to start a supper club with your friends!


PS - Look at Rosie giving out kisses!  I don't blame her.  They are quite a dashing couple.