Here's what we ate:
Some Artisanal Cheeses
Robiola Rocchetta: cow, sheep, goat, a welcome guest at any party
La Peral: cow--pungent, like a bleu, enhanced by a drizzle of black truffle honey
La Tur: Cow, Sheep, Goat--the ice cream of cheeses! We're really dealing with 3 cheeses in 1 here: the savory rind, the gooey under belly and the stiff cream in the middle. Absolutely gorgeous!
A chicory Salad with lemon anchovy vinaigrette further sent the ball rolling but cut the suggested amount of lemon juice in half, and double the anchovies at least (and by all means use fresh white anchovies if you can), or use anchovy paste and definitely add some sugar to taste. Also, I didn't know that escarole and radicchio were considered chicories--and our market was out of escarole so I subbed slightly bitter red leaf lettuce for escarole.
We soaked our Chicken Livers in buttermilk to remove the bitterness and finished them in a 100 degree oven before our guests arrived. I don't know that I've ever been so prepared for a dinner before anybody's even showed up! We made the Polenta with bacon and sage ahead of time too, as a luscious pillow on which our main dish would rest.
More cheese! Roasted Pears with carmelized sugar and brandy called for thick slices of Pecorino Romano but we opted for a Majorero Pimenton goat cheese to add a little spice to our dessert instead.
What an enjoyable evening we had!
Soundtrack: Dinah Washington, the Dinah Washington Story, disc 2; Charles Mingus, Mingus Three; Bird, The Original Recordings of Charlie Parker; Atlantic Jazz, Best of the '50s; The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Time Out