Early Harvest Dinner for 12

Of course while planning the menu for this dinner party, the client was more interested in “Fall-like” food so I presented my fall menus for her perusal, the temps were making us all feel like Fall was upon us.  We worked on several ideas and ended up with a very rich and comforting menu.  As I mentioned this planning took place while our unseasonable weather was pleasantly cool and created the cravings for “Fall Food!”

Then today, Saturday September 16th happened.  As we were loading the car it was 82 with 90% humidity, cloudy yet the bright sunrays were piercing through the gray and black clouds, with a promise of rain showers somewhere in our near future.

Next the highways to Long Island were jammed, where’s everyone going @3 p.m.? Too late for the beach, really!  False alarm just slowness as people never prepare for the narrowing and forced merge from 5 lanes to 3!

Meanwhile on the drive we’re seeing real rain clouds and raindrops on the windshield. We planned a stop @Whole Foods for the last minute ingredients like salad greens and ice cream.  As we pulled off the highway and headed to the Whole Foods parking lot the blackest cloud opened up and let the downpour loose! It took 10 minutes to drop my Sous Chef at the door and meander around the parking lot looking for an available space.  Used an umbrella to enter the store and spent some time shopping and perusing as we were early and 8 minutes away from our destination.  Also, hoping the deluge would pass and we could resume our trip without pouring rain!  Unloading our kit/equipment/groceries and flowers for the hostess in pouring rain is never a desirable experience.

When we arrived at our client’s home it was bone dry like it hadn’t even sprinkled there!

Here’s a shout out to acknowledge my greatest asset as a Personal Chef:  My Sous Chef Wife, Kathy O’Connor Huff, who continues to make me look good at these and other events.  I pride myself in believing that clients genuinely like me, but they are truly smitten with Nana.  She can schmooze Hosts & Hostesses into losing their nervous anticipation and enjoying being a guest at their own events!  All the while being prep cook, bottle washer, server, all the while nagging me to stay focused and anticipating my next move!

Without further adieu here’s the menu and pics:

Amuse Bouche:  Smokey Roasted Garlic Shrimp with Guacamole on tasting spoon!


Appetizer:  Endive Petals with Garlic & Herbed Cheese, Marinated Multicolored Little Tomatoes and Bacon


Salad:  Mesclun w/Dried Cranberries & Toasted Walnuts with Balsamic Vinaigrette


Entree:  Red Wine Braised Boneless Short Ribs with a very rich reduced and thickened gravy, over Cauliflower & Leek Puree (thank you fellow Chef extraordinaire Carol Borchardt of From A Chef’s Kitchen) with a side of Lemony Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Shallots.  Carol’s recipe for the shortribs looks amazing as does the puree.  I resorted to my own recipe for Red Wine Braised Boneless Short Ribs that I make in the pressure cooker to expedite the cooking, then created an awesome gravy by  de-fatting, reducing and thickening before pureeing the the aromatic vegetables!


Dessert:  Our Signature JKM Frozen Brownie Bites with Raspberry Coulis and Vanilla Gelato.


I have to honestly say that I have never experienced such clean plates! I think that despite the “heat wave” a great time was had by all!

Happy Clients=Happy Chefs!

Eat Well….Be Well!!


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2 Responses to Early Harvest Dinner for 12

  1. Kathy says:

    Isn’t it great that your soulmate is also your prepper schlepper! Will have to try the purée

    Liked by 1 person

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