Saturday, January 29, 2011

Guest Chef Night ... Creating the Menu

With less than a month to go before both Clare's father, Frank Savage and I will be guest chefs at Rag's Italian Bistro, we have been busily working on creating our menu.  I have to say that designing a menu of several courses for thirty or more people is a rather difficult task.  Some of the guests are vegetarians and do not eat meat; some eat seafood while others do not.  So, Frank and I have to design a menu that will appeal to a large group of people with diverse preferences. With all of in mind, Frank and I have put a lot of thought into each dish to ensure that the meal as a whole will be a great success.

And, with all of our planning, we are proud to announce our menu.  With Italy being our inspiration, we have designed a traditional meal beginning with an appetizer, a "prima" or first course, followed by a "secondo" or second course with a side, and finish with a light dessert. Although still subject to change, we will be serving the following menu at Rags Italian Bistro for the Guest Chef Night on Monday, February 21, 2011:

Antipasta: Mushroom Gratinate
Based on a recipe from Lidia Bastianich, this is not just your ordinary crostini.  A slice of fresh, lightly toasted bread that is smothered with mushrooms, garlic, and fresh herbs, and then topped with grated Parmigano Reggiano cheese. 

Prima: Chickpea and Escarole Soup
This Sicilian soup combines a lot of healthy and tasty ingredients together for a great experience.  Chickpeas and escarole cooked in vegetable broth with the rinds of Parmigiano Reggiano rounds.  This soup will provide a lot of flavor without filling you up. 

Secondo: Couscous alla Trampanese con il Pollo o i Pesci
This is a dish from the Sicilian town of Trampani, that brings together all of the culinary influences that have enriched the island of Siciliy. Frank and I will be making two versions of this couscous and offering guests a choice of the couscous with fish or couscous with chicken.

Contorno: Green Beans with a Cherry Tomato Salad
This is a cold side dish featuring cooked green bean with a cherry tomato salad tossed with a lemon vinaigrette dressing.  This side dish is based upon a recipe from Julia Child.

Dolce: Ricotta Cheese with Honey and Toasted Walnuts  
Fresh ricotta cheese, drizzled with honey and toasted walnuts.  A light way to end the meal.

Now, I'll turn my attention to possible wine pairings for this meal.  More to come ...



Lauren said...

Oh my goodness, I am so jealous of all the people who get to eat all of that. It sounds wonderful!!!

Keith Bolek said...

Thanks Lauren!

Frank Savage said...

Gerianne and I made the green beans and tomato side dish last night. It was very good but I think it needs a few tweaks. Today I am cooking the chickpea and escarole soup using homemade vegetable broth.

Anonymous said...

We hope the weather will cooperate and we can make it to this event of the year. We decided to skip the trip to the Superbowl and make a trip to B'ham instead.

Keith Bolek said...


I have to say I feel honored that you skipped the Super Bowl to come to our Guest Chef Night.

I am hoping that you and Jane can come so that we can catch up. I will also work especially hard so as to make sure that your trip to B'ham was will worth it.

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