What happens when two Le Cordon Bleu graduates entertain one snap-happy food blogger? A whole lot of good food, more than a little catching up, and a photographic record of the event. What you see above are just the appetizers.
(You already witnessed the Father's Day dessert.)
I first met Denise in 2006 at the annual meeting of the International Association of Culinary Professionals in Seattle. Both conference newbies, we started chatting at the Food Expo, a cavernous hall filled with food samples, gadgets, giveaways, and culinary paraphernalia. I made her, a total stranger, tell me if I had food stuck in my teeth, and an instant friendship was born.
The following year in Chicago, she brought Karri, her friend and former Cordon Bleu classmate, and we traipsed through the Windy City, arms linked. I visited them both last summer in Victoria.
This summer I returned yet again. If you've ever been to Victoria, you'll instantly relate to the pull of this small, glorious island, one of the most beautiful, light-filled places I've ever been.
To jumpstart our dinner, Karri brought an exquisitely cut platter of crudites, pictured above with fruit kabobs she prepared for the kids. Denise made the Vietnamese salad rolls, along with a halibut ceviche she adapted from this Rick Bayless recipe in Food & Wine.
(Be advised that Denise omitted the orange juice, sugar, and olives from the recipe, and substituted grape seed oil for the olive oil. She also added the tomatoes, cilantro, and chilies just before serving.)
Yes, you read that right.
(It deserves its own post so be patient.)
(Seriously, back off about the pie.)
The best part? I contributed absolutely nothing to the meal but ate better than I have in a long, long time.