Thursday, December 6, 2012


I learned a new word this week. Amuse. Not as in giggle like but as in food.

Our daughter-in-law Tab, wife of oldest son Colton, had her culinary school final two days ago and we were some of the tres' fortunate meal guests. A six course meal prepared and served by the graduating class, Keith and I were more than amused by the treat.

We were thrilled.

First, here is our family chef, Tab, explaining the entree. Is she not Executive Chef material ?

That's me in front of Tab barely able to close my mouth long enough to listen to her! And I definitely wasn't going to put my fork down in fear some other eager student think I was done and whisk my plate away before I could finish licking it.
The menu in it's entirety below:
The meal went like this. First the Amuse also known as the Amuse Bouche or a very literal translation "something to amuse the mouth" In this case it was a savory creme brulee' in a Parmesan crisp with balsamic syrup.
A sweet morsel with the tiniest little crunch that made your mouth scream MORE!! The joining of the sweet Brulee with the tang of the Balsamic vinegar was unexpected and totally amazing. Following it came:
sauteed flounder with flounder cake, wilted garlic spinach with roasted cherry tomatoes and Lemon caper sauce. The fish shocked me. It tasted like fish! Here in central Illinois I rarely order fish as we are far away from many real water sources and fish in restaurants always taste just like rubber. Not so here. Perhaps the students had their own fish farm in the back of the school? Ditto for tomatoes. Not just brilliant color but a real tomato tang as well. When you took a bite of fish with a little of the spinach and tomato and closed your were transported to a seaside bistro. I should know, I'm genetically a Galway  Girl you know .
Soon after came the pumpkin soap. Twice , a young man tried to take my bowl before I was done. I hope the bite marks on his arm heal in a timely fashion

The candy like cranberry relish was so much FUN!  At this point I was very happy, but even more deliciousness kept appearing. Like this salad with it's goat cheese balls.

Saddened by the sacrifice the male goat had to make, yet not so sad I couldn't consume the greens plate. What? oh, goat CHEESE balls.  Never mind.
Lets move on. The entree was another shocker.

Chicken that tasted like chicken is supposed to. Keith and I rarely order chicken when we go out because it always tastes like sawdust. No excuse for that as the midwest has plenty of room to rise foul outdoors but less than 1% of all chicken farmers do so.

This heavenly hunk, lightly crusted along with a parsnip puree that was more like delightful veggie pudding was over the top. Now don't be making jokes about the portion size. Over several plates it added up very nicely. Finally the fabulous dessert:

Ah yes, the gingerbread tart with caramelized apples. Fresh crisp and so memorable I'm thinking of changing my name. From Midlife Farmwife to Gingerbread Tart. It fits, no?
Yeah. No. Tarts don't have grey hair.
Special thanks to our son Colton for taking all the pics of the food since his mother the professional blogger forget to charge the battery in her phone. Like they say "If it's not one thing, it's a mother"



  1. Oh my God (hate using OMG)!

    That looks like one wonderful meal. I am a true country girl at heart (love me some collard greens, pork chops, fried fish & grits, etc.).

    But, through my work I have been exposed to many such meals in my life & can say I have absolutely loved each & every one of them.

    It's a hellava lot of work but it's worth it to make some type of meal like this about once a year. Or, at the very least make at least one thing (like the creme brulee, or the chicken or the ... you get my point) every now & then.

    I want some foie gras w/balsamic reduction right now!

  2. Forgot to say ... You are one lucky Lady to have that Chef in your family.

  3. I hope Tab passed with flying colors. Everything looks yummy!

  4. WOW, that all looks amazing. You are so lucky to have a chef in the family.


  5. I see a future of a great organic farm serving delightful meals created by the best chef in the midwest to groups of guests and newlyweds!

  6. Thanks Donna! So glad you enjoyed it.

  7. BLIMEY; that gal has a future! I can't remember why, but I was once invited to a similar event at an English cookery school. It was probably the best meal I've ever eaten.

  8. Was hungry and wanting my breakfast before I read this, now I am starving! Jam on toast does feel quite so appealing after seeing all those tasty dishes!

  9. The presentation is wonderful! It all looks too good to eat (almost)!

  10. That looks totally delicious. What a fun treat and I learned something new today.

  11. Oh how I would have absolutely loved being beside you. I love, love, love, good food. Congradulations to your daughter in law.

  12. Okay, Donna did I miss something? What school is your chef in training going to? The reason I ask is that my middle sister is a professional Chef who is married to a professional Chef. They both trained at Johnson and Wales in the Boston Area. Her husband was a head Chef instructor at the New England Culinary Institute and is now working at Kansas State in some sort of Chef training job. Not to be out forgotten - one of my nephews has trained in Europe as a Chef and last week just opened his own Cafe/Bar in Verbier, Switzerland. I can assure that it is wonderful to have a Chef in the family - the more the merrier as they say! Bon Appetiet or however you spell it. ;-)

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  14. For those who asked: Tab attended Joliet Junior College, Joliet Illinois and gradutes from their culinary school. She has for the last few years worked as cook in a local nursing home. The residents there will miss her cooking terribly but she is ready to move into the restaurant arena and hopefully will own her own restaurant one day.