Lemon bars with gold flecks served at Mickey's house
In our never-ending attempt to get everyone we like to move downtown, seven of us center city dwellers staged yet another in our series of progressive downtown dinners. Thanks to a previous progressive dinner, we successfully seduced Bruce and Monique Anderson into joining us in our downtown living adventure. (Click here for a story about that strategic dinner.) Bruce said it was that dinner that cinched the deal for them! (Score!)
So this time the Andersons joined Mickey Mallonee, Gay and Bill Lyons and Alan and me as we zeroed in on our next targets: Judith and Michael Foltz and the new big fish in our viewfinder: Mayor Madeline Rogero! We recruited two other downtowners to join our festive band of traveling merry-makers: Kim Henry, who lives at Fire Street Lofts, and Tim Young, who recently moved into The Gallery lofts above Mast General Store.
And off we went! Whereas we have in the past had themes for our progressive evenings that have included certain ethnic cuisines such as French or Greek, or even “main ingredients from the Market Square Farmers’ Market,” this past Saturday we decided to go with “small plates.” We planned to have three small plates offered at each of three stops, followed by dessert at our last stop. This turned out to be more food than we could comfortably consume. But we did give it the old college try.
Our first stop was at Kendrick Place at the home of Bill and Gay Lyons.
When we arrived at 6 p.m., Gay was just finishing cutting up the tart that would be one of our first small plates.
Kim Henry and Tim Young at stop number one
Gay said this dish was called "prosciutto filled with happiness!" The happiness apparently involves arugula, gorgonzola, dried cranberries and pine nuts. It was great!
These are cumin-roasted potatoes topped with creme fraiche and caviar. Yum.
Here's that honey caramelized onion tart. It was fabulous.
Caesar was looking on from his favorite spot on the landing.
Kim and the mayor enjoying the first nibbles of the evening.
Gay Henry Lyons and Kim Henry are researching just how they are cousins. They first met at a family reunion in 1986. They hope to find the answer in this book: "Descendants of James and Samuel Henry: Revolutionary War Soldiers"
I have to make a confession at this point. Since our condo was the next stop and two of my offerings had to be baked for 15 minutes, I left two ovens pre-heating while we were at the Lyons': one at 400 degrees and the other at 350. My mother told me a million times to NEVER do that! And my friend Jerry Harnish, the fire chief at Rural/Metro, would KILL me if he knew. But I couldn’t figure out any other way to have the food ready on time. Of course, I was worried sick the whole time. Bruce Anderson attempted to calm me (actually, I think he was just being a wise guy). “Don’t worry,” he said. “If nothing happens, it won’t be a big deal.” Thanks, Bruce.
We made it back in time to have the first course ready when our friends made it to Cherokee Lofts. (And, just to reassure my neighbors, I’m never going to do that oven-warming thing again! Not worth the worry.)
This bruschetta is made with merlot-laced artichokes, one of my favorite ingredients from Harry & David, topped with a shaving of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
I named this dish "Pain-in-the-Rear Shrimp." (Or something close to that!) They are a little time-consuming to make.
These prosciutto-wrapped scallops, which also have a sun-dried tomato tapenade inside, are from a favorite Giada DeLaurentiis recipe.
Here's what they look like inside.
It was such a pretty February night that we opened the windows. Here's Judith, one of our targets!
Monique Anderson, left, Alan Carmichael and Kim Henry
It is hard to make Bill Lyons quit checking his device.
And then we all headed to our third stop. It was a short walk east on Church Avenue. At State Street, we took a left.
Judith and Michael Foltz await us at the third stop.
It was 8:30, and we were pretty much on time. (Mayor Rogero patiently posed by the clock. Thanks!)
I get a serious case of kitchen envy when I see Bruce and Monique's great space at The Glencoe!
There is only one condo left at The Glencoe: the penthouse. It's 3,000 square feet, 4-bedroom, 4-bath and lists for about $750,000. We took a peek and kitchen envy struck again!
Back on the second floor, Monique had prepared a wonderful antipasto spread.
She is of French heritage and her mother's recipe for Quiche Lorraine is to die for.
Alan enjoying the third repast of the evening.
The Andersons had a vase of Alan's favorite flower, irises.
Gay and Michael
As we left The Glencoe, Michael stopped to check in with some of the neighbors. A quiet bunch.
It was 9:20 when we hit Gay Street headed north towards The Emporium -- and dessert.
Thank goodness we had a little stroll between each course.
I llove the decorative touches in the hallways of The Emporium.
We walked into Mickey's bedroom to deposit our coats and we almost lost Bill!
With the natural drama of the high arched windows and Mickey's flair for decorating in her favorite colors of red and purple, her condo is a show-stopper.
The food was pretty dramatic, too! Those gold-flecked lemon bars and a decadent Black Forest trifle.
Alan enjoying his favorite course
Mayor Madeline Rogero, center, flanked by two of Knoxville's best special events directors: Mickey, left, who has retired, and her successor, Judith, right.
MIchael in Mickey's kitchen. Mickey's condo is just so -- Mickey!
I mean, really, who else would think to put a streetlight inside the living room?
Relaxing at evening's end
A group shot to remember the night.
As we left, we noticed this furniture on Gay Street in the form of a conversation pit. So we tried it out.
And we even made it home at a decent time!
We will let you know how we do with our recruitment project!
16 Responses to “The progressive dinner strategy continues”
What a great idea for a progressive dinner; no one feels the pressure of the “main” course and there is such delicious variety! And I loved the visual tour of downtown living. I know half of us is convinced already:)
Ha! Thanks, Tami! You better watch out with those kinds of comments — you may find yourselves being our next targets
This was a great evening of fun with good friends and awesome food! I’m already looking forward to our next gathering featuring “decks, patios, and rooftops” in downtown living….and am already thinking of a special “guest/recruiting target” to join us. Stay tuned…..
Yes, we’re a cult. And we think you’ll like our Kool-Aid. It’s great fun to entertain with such great cooks. Hmm. Light bulb: The Downtown Progressive Cookbook.
Tami–We’d love to have you and Bruce as neighbors.
Great food – from beginning to end.
Cynthia, Gay, and Mickey’s food and homes are so great. It was tough act to follow. I had such a wonderful time!
Cynthia — you have got to stop this….what a beautiful meal! Actually, Cynthia — if you weren’t already so successful at MoxleyC — I’d recommend you become a downtown real estate lady and just plan progressive dinners for prospective clients to attend…..maybe in your retirement????
Here are my recipes. All came from epicurious.com. Having so many guinea pigs, I wanted to try new dishes.
Honey-Roasted Onion Tart
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
3 bacon slices, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 large sweet yellow onions (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
3/4 cup crème fraîche
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 375°F. Using lightly floured rolling pin, roll out puff pastry on lightly floured surface to 14×10-inch rectangle. Fold 1/2 inch of pastry edges in toward center on all sides, forming 13 x 9-inch rectangle. Transfer pastry to large rimmed baking sheet. Press firmly on pastry edges with fork to form rim. Chill crust. Cook bacon in small skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Reserve 1 tablespoon bacon drippings from skillet. Whisk honey, wine, and reserved 1 tablespoon bacon drippings in large bowl. Add onions; toss to coat. Coat another large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Spread onion mixture in even layer on sheet. Roast for 45 minutes or so, stirring periodically, until onions are caramelized. Remove from oven; cool onions slightly. Increase oven temperature to 400°F. Mix crème fraîche, sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and nutmeg in small bowl. Using offset spatula, spread crème fraîche over crust to folded edge. Arrange onions atop crème fraîche. Sprinkle with bacon. Bake tart until crust is light golden brown and topping is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with thyme and serve.
Prosciutto filled with Happiness
1/4 cup pine nuts
About 20 thin slices of good-quality prosciutto
1 small bunch arugula
1/4 pound gorgonzola
1/4 cup currants
Spread the pine nuts on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F until they turn golden brown. (I do mine in the toaster oven.) Transfer them to a small bowl and let them cool. Cut each slice of prosciutto in half, crosswise. Top each half-slice with a small piece of arugula, a dab of gorgonzola, a few pine nuts, and few currents. Then roll them into little mini horns.
Tip: Mix gorgonzola, pine nuts, and currants together for easier assembly.
Note: I couldn’t find currants, so I used dried cranberries.
Cumin-Roasted Potatoes with Caviar and Smoked Salmon
1/2 cup water
4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
1 teaspoon (packed) minced fresh dill
1 teaspoon (packed) minced fresh cilantro
3 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon, cut into 1/2-inch-by-2 1/2-inch strips
1 ounce salmon caviar
Small fresh dill sprigs
Using vegetable peeler, remove peel (yellow part only) from lemons. Simmer peel, 1/2 cup water, and 4 teaspoons kosher salt in heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat until salt dissolves. Reduce heat to low and simmer until liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons and peel is tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Transfer peel with liquid to jar. Add lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil. Refrigerate at least 1 day and up to 1 week. Drain peel; mince. Stir crème fraîche, minced dill, cilantro, and 1-2 tablespoons minced peel in small bowl. Cover and chill at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours. Set rack at lowest position in oven and preheat to 450°F. Brush nonstick baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil and cumin in large bowl. Add potatoes; toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange potatoes, cut side down, on baking sheet and roast until tender and cut sides are brown, about 12 minutes. Cool slightly. Arrange potato halves, cut side up, on platter. Top each with 1 teaspoon crème fraäche, 1 salmon strip, and 1/2 teaspoon caviar. Garnish with dill sprigs.
Note: I used small ruby gold potatoes.
Thanks to everyone who posted recipes and links! And to everyone who heaped praise on downtown living! We want you all to join us! Tim: Can’t wait to find out your mystery guest!
Who are these people posing on my soon-to-be porch at the Glencoe? Next time, when I have moved in, everyone will have to come inside!
What a great idea…I am loving being a newcomer to Knoxville. There are so many fun things to do with fun people,