GIRL’S NIGHT WITH A GREAT PERSONAL CHEF
A couple of weeks ago, I had the very great pleasure of spending a girl’s night with a great personal chef. My dear friend, Ruth, invited 10 of her closest girlfriends to enjoy a crisp fall evening in her home. It turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and memorable evenings I have spent with a bunch of girlfriends, probably since college.
In fact, four of the girls were Ruth’s friends from college whom I had never met before. They were in town for the weekend, having flown in from San Diego and San Francisco. One of Ruth’s San Francisco friends was a woman I had long heard about and looked forward to meeting, as she just happens to be the Vice President of Marketing for one of my favorite stores: Williams-Sonoma.
It was an evening spent laughing…
and drinking wine…
and watching a cute young chef prepare a fantastic meal for us.
His name is Chef Julian Huntley Hagood. He’s a CIA trained chef from Seattle known as the Who’s Who of Personal Chefs in the Pacific Northwest. Chef to the likes of such notables as the Nordstrom family, but more importantly a friend of Ruth’s, Julian was in California to visit family in The OC. So Ruth asked him if he wouldn’t come on up to our mountain top and cook for some of her friends.
We were all very delighted that he agreed! Not only was Julian cute, and funny, and entertaining, he also prepared some very good food for us! Plus, he shared his recipes with us, giving me permission to publish them here, so you too will be able to enjoy them.
He started by preparing one of my favorite things: GRUYÈRE GOUGÈRES.
These are small, savory French pastries that are made with a Choux pastry dough that is mixed with cheese. In many cases, the cheese used is Gruyère, which is a hard yellow cheese, named after the town of Gruyères, Switzerland. French Gruyère style cheeses include Comté and Beaufort.
The next appetizer we enjoyed was called MARKET CEVICHE ON CORN CHIPS WITH AVOCADO & RED ONION. That’s a mouth full!
These little bites of goodness were unique and delicious.
Julian then prepared what he called PIZZA BIANCA.
It was made by toasting raw flour tortillas that had been spread with fig jam and topped with mozzarella and goat cheese.
After the tortillas were baked to a bubbly golden brown, Julian added thin slices of apple and baby arugula that had been tossed in truffle oil and salt. The combination was outstanding!
The 4th and final appetizer was SCALLOP BOUND DUNGENESS CRAB CAKES WITH SAFFRON AIOLI. Incredible!!
Next, Julian got Linda involved in the making of FRESH SEMOLINA TAGLIATELLE.
It was made extra delicious with the addition of William-Sonoma Australian Pink Salt, a gift from MaryAnn, our William-Sonoma friend.
Linda surprised everyone with her skills at pasta making.
Julian prepared a wonderful pasta sauce for the fresh made pasta. He calls his recipe FRESH & CANNED TOMATO MARINARA.
He used an array of multi colored heirloom fresh and canned tomatoes to make some of the best tasting pasta sauce I’ve ever had.
A lot of effort went into making the pasta, but in the end it was enjoyed by all, including Chef Julian.
For his main course, Chef Julian prepared 2 VADOUVAN PORK TENDERLOINS. Vadouvan is a ready-to-use blend of spices that is similar to an Indian Curry Blend, but with a French influence.
He first seared the pork in avocado oil on a cast iron pan, then finished it in the oven.
To accompany the pork, he roasted these tri-colored baby carrots…
and prepared two sauces: ROASTED RED PEPPER & GARLIC PUREE…
and a PARSNIP PUREE. Both were outstanding with the pork tenderloin.
Next, he added a FENNEL, CORN & SHALLOT RELISH…
and plated the lovely little roasted carrots.
Julian sliced the perfectly prepared VADOUVAN PORK TENDERLOIN…
and then added my favorite dish of the night: an APPLE HERB SALAD. I don’t know why, but those apples, seared in the pork drippings and tossed in olive oil and lemon juice with fresh chervil, chives and parsley was just so refreshing. I am craving it just talking about it!
Finally, Julian dolloped on some goat milk yogurt, topped it with roasted garlic and voila, dinner was served.
As we sat down to enjoy this delicious wine, a round of applauses was offered to our charming and talented chef.
But the grand finale was a wonderful VALRHONA CHOCOLATE COULANT WITH CARAMEL GELATO AND TOASTED HAZELNUTS. Valrhona chocolate is a French luxury chocolate made in Hermitage, France. What a great way to end a very memorable evening!
So there you have it: GIRL’S NIGHT WITH A GREAT PERSONAL CHEF
Please stay tuned and in the next few days I’ll be sharing all of these fantastic recipes!
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