Wily downtown dwellers use progressive dinner to recruit others to the downtown “cult”

Mickey Mallonee tosses the salad for the middle stop of our downtown progressive dinner.

Mickey Mallonee tosses the salad for the middle stop of our downtown progressive dinner.

Here’s the thing about downtown dwellers: we are on a mission to get all our friends to move downtown, too! Our latest targets are Monique and Bruce Anderson and Judith and Michael Foltz. Monique and Bruce are temporarily living downtown since their Sequoyah Hills home was destroyed by a tree falling on it during a storm earlier this year. (Click here for the News Sentinel coverage of that.) Alan and I know from experience that a temporary move downtown can easily turn into a permanent one. (Click here for the story of what happened to us.)

Judith and Michael Foltz are good targets because, although they live in Westmoreland Hills, Judith’s job as director of special events for the city of Knoxville requires her to be downtown at all hours during evenings and weekends. Having a little condo downtown would make her life so much easier — even if they didn’t move downtown full time.

So, as part of our recruitment effort, the group of us downtowners who have periodic progressive dinners invited those two couples to join us this past weekend. (Unfortunately, Michael had to be out of town and couldn’t come. So we’ll have to do it again, I guess!)

The theme this time: French. Come along! Maybe you’ll be recruited, too!

Alan and I started in the morning at the Market Square Farmers’ Market, seeking ingredients for our appetizer courses.

Heirloom cherry tomatoes would make a good -- an unique -- addition to our tuna appetizer.

Heirloom cherry tomatoes would make a good -- and unique -- addition to our tuna appetizer. Alan makes the selection.

Next stop was Downtown Wine + Spirits where manager Shane Pack helped us select two French wines to accompany the first course. We got a 2009 Pinot Noir from Provence and this 2009 Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie.

Two of our three appetizers contained seafood and Shane said this muscadet would be a great compliment, which it was.

Two of our three appetizers contained seafood and Shane said this muscadet would be a great compliment, which it was.

The party started at 6 p.m. at our condo in Cherokee Lofts.

Gay Lyons, left, and Monique Anderson at Cherokee Lofts.

Gay Lyons, left, and Monique Anderson at Cherokee Lofts.

Our appetizers were something we call Tuna Le Dauphin (because we first had it at Le Dauphin restaurant in Paris), caviar dip from a Barefoot Contessa recipe (click here for that great recipe), and baked brie topped with strawberry-rhubarb jelly from the Market Square Farmers’ Market and sliced almonds.

Tuna Le Dauphin, top, baked brie, right, and caviar dip which is great with gourmet potato chips. The linens came from an open market in Provence. It was fun using them!

Tuna Le Dauphin, top, baked brie, right, and caviar dip which is great with gourmet potato chips. The linens came from a little open market in Provence. It was fun getting a chance to use them!

Judith. She talks with her hands a lot!

Judith. She talks with her hands a lot!

Then it was time to move on to our next stop: Mickey Mallonee’s condo at The Emporium.

Off we go!

Off we go!

Mickey has the most fantastic flair for decorating! Her condo totally reflects her outgoing personality.

This happy fellow is in the entry way. He sits on seats rescued from the old Billy Meyer Stadium in East Knoxville.

This happy fellow is in the entry way. He sits on seats rescued from the old Billy Meyer Stadium in East Knoxville.

Mickey and Judith pose by a "parade route" sign Mickey retrieved. Very appropriate since Judity succeeded Mickey in the city's top special events post.

Mickey and Judith pose by a "parade route" sign Mickey retrieved. Very appropriate since Judith succeeded Mickey in the city's top special events post.

Look at this fabulous wall in Mickey's guest room!

Look at this fabulous wall in Mickey's guest room!

Bill Lyons, left, and Bruce Anderson check out the view from the Emporium's stunning arched windows.

Bill Lyons, left, and Bruce Anderson check out the view from the Emporium's stunning arched windows.

Mickey set up two pretty tables of four for the main course.

Mickey set up two pretty tables of four for the main course.

Delicious coq au vin, chicken in red wine. Classic.

Delicious coq au vin, chicken in red wine. Classic.

Hahaha! These were the PAPER cocktail napkins Mickey used! Love!

Hahaha! These were the PAPER cocktail napkins Mickey used! Love!

After an hour or so, it was on to Kendrick Place over by Chesapeake’s restaurant to the home of Bill and Gay Lyons.

This is Caesar. He's not in jail, but on the landing, one of his favorite places from which to observe everything.

This is Caesar. He's not in jail, but on the landing, one of his favorite places from which to observe everything.

Bill got the decaf ready.

Bill got the decaf ready.

Best dessert ever! Gateaux meringues. Wow!

Best dessert ever! Gateaux meringues. Wow!

Bruce digs in.

Bruce digs in.

Gay serves amaretto with dessert and coffee. Who cares if it's Italian?

Gay serves amaretto with dessert and coffee. Who cares if it's Italian?

I loved this simple centerpiece reflecting the garnish on the dessert plates.

I loved this simple centerpiece reflecting the garnish on the dessert plates.

As Judith, Monique and Bruce walked with Alan and me after the party, I decided to “take their temperature” about possibly moving to downtown. Believe it or not, I think we are making headway with all of them! Stand by for progress reports.

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14 Responses to Wily downtown dwellers use progressive dinner to recruit others to the downtown “cult”

  1. Bill Lyons, on July 11th, 2011 at 11:44 am said:

    Thanks Cynthia for again capturing the evening. It was lots of fun and it was great to get to spend some time with Mickey. I agree that we made progress in our recruiting mission.

  2. Cynthia Moxley, on July 11th, 2011 at 11:49 am said:

    Time will tell, Bill!

  3. Rosa Mar, on July 11th, 2011 at 11:55 am said:

    Everything looked yummy even the guests!!!

  4. Gay Lyons, on July 11th, 2011 at 12:42 pm said:

    I’ll trade the Gateaux Meringues recipe for the one for Tuna le Dauphin. Great photos–everything looked as good as it tasted.

  5. monique anderson, on July 11th, 2011 at 3:02 pm said:

    It was a wonderful evening. Thank you so much. We were honored to be included. Downtown dwellers are the best!
    Monique

  6. Hannah Parker, on July 11th, 2011 at 4:52 pm said:

    The title of this post alone makes my day!

    Miss being in Knoxville to attend and see firsthand, but so very thankful for the Streak as my lifeline to home! 🙂

  7. Jennifer Holder, on July 11th, 2011 at 10:57 pm said:

    This sounds like a fun feast! Next time I’ll be happy to include a stop at the highest peak in downtown Knoxville if you all are willing to scale the hill. We need to get Bruce and Monique downtown for good!

  8. cmmoxley, on July 12th, 2011 at 12:24 pm said:

    Jennifer: Count yourself in! We are thinking the next one will be a tapas evening, with more stops but no main course. What do you think of that? Hannah: Maybe you’ll be in town for it! Rosa, you cracked me up with that comment! (You better not be talking about my husband! Ha!) Gay: Let’s trade those recipes!

  9. Gay Lyons, on July 13th, 2011 at 2:15 pm said:

    OK–fork over that tuna recipe.

    Gateaux Meringues

    4 egg whites
    pinch of tartar
    ¾ c. sugar
    1 c. confectioners sugar
    2 ½ c. heavy cream
    1 ½ lb. bittersweet chocolate
    2 tsp. vanilla extract
    Berries
    Mint sprigs

    Preheat oven to 200. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar on high speed until stiff, about 1 ½ minutes. Add sugar and beat 45 seconds more until whites are stiff and shiny. Work confectioners sugar through a strainer over the whites and fold, by hand, into the whites until smooth.

    With a pencil draw eight 3 ½ inch circles on each of two sheets of parchment paper just large enough to fit into 12 x 18 sheet pans. Put the paper, drawing side down, into the sheet pans. Fit pastry bag with ¼ inch tip and load with meringue. Pipe out the meringue, starting in the center of a penciled ring, and forming a spiral until you get to the outside line. Continue until you’ve made all 16 disks. Bake disks for 3 hours. Remove from oven and let cool. Gently remove from paper and store in airtight container.

    Bring 1 cup cream to simmer in a saucepan and pour it into the bowl of an electric mixer. While the cream is coming to simmer, break half the chocolate into pieces the size of hazelnuts. Put the chocolate into the hot cream and let it sit for 5 minutes. Add 1 tsp. vanilla and gently stir mixture with a whisk until it’s perfectly smooth. Put the mixture in the refrigerator for about an hour. Then beat the mixture on high speed until it looks whipped and gets paler, about 3 minutes. Put it back in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to stiffen.

    Fit a pastry bag with a ½ inch tip. Put the whipped chocolate into the bag and pipe it in a spiral pattern along the top of 8 of the disks. Place another disk on top on top of each chocolate-topped disk. Refrigerate. Can make ahead to this point.

    Bring the rest of the cream to simmer in a saucepan. While the cream is coming to a simmer, break the rest of the chocolate into pieces about the size of hazelnuts. Put the chocolate into the cream and let sit, off the heat, for 5 minutes. Add 1 tsp. vanilla and gently stir with a whisk until perfectly smooth. Put the chocolate into the refrigerator until it stiffens slightly, about 20 minutes. Refrigerate less if you want a thinner sauce.

    Put each meringue stack on a plate. Ladle 2 tablespoons of sauce over each. Spread with a knife. Garnish with berries and mint sprig.

    Source: Glorious French Food, James Peterson

  10. Melinda Meador, on July 13th, 2011 at 4:00 pm said:

    Cynthia, I’m dying for that Tuna Le Dauphin recipe. Mickey, love, love, love the guest bedroom wall! And Gay, what a fab centerpiece. You all make me want to move downtown, too!

  11. Cynthia Moxley, on July 13th, 2011 at 4:04 pm said:

    Wow, Gay! Complicated. The Tuna Le Dauphin is easy by comparison. It’s one of those recipes our friend Dawn calls “dump” recipes. You just dump everything in. Since we made it up trying to match the restaurant’s dish, it is not extremely precise. But here’s what’s in it.

    2 cans of imported Italian tuna in olive oil, lightly drained. (We get the Cento brand at Fresh Market)
    2 small jars or 1 large jar marinated artichoke hearts, lightly drained. (We get the kind that are quartered, but I then cut each of them in half again.)
    Roasted red pepper. (I use about half of an 8-oz. jar. Coarsely chop.)
    Grape or cherry tomatoes. Cut small ones in half; larger ones in quarters. About half a container.
    Imported black olives. (Use the kind in a jar with olive oil. You need to pit them. Just press them with the flat of a knife onto a cutting board and then push the pits out.) Use your judgment on amount. 15 or so, I’d say. Cut them in half.
    Capers to taste. I like them, so I use quite a few.
    Thyme to taste. Fresh is best, but dried will do in a pinch. I like thyme, so I use quite a bit. (Basically until I run out of patience pulling those tiny leaves off the stems!)
    Lemon juice from one or two lemons.
    Add extra olive oil, salt and pepper. Just adjust for taste. I like to have quite a bit of moisture for the bread to absorb.

    Serve with sliced baguette.

  12. Cynthia Moxley, on July 13th, 2011 at 4:07 pm said:

    Melinda: Consider yourself our next target!

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