For starter we had grilled shrimp with homemade pesto & garlic butter dipping sauces. Garlic butter is always a plus, but man, that pesto was out of this world. I love good pesto, and this had the right balance (of basic leaves? heh, private joke) of flavors. It was also great on the bread that we picked up at Jewel.
Next came the gingered butternut squash soup. I got to see Elsa prepare some of this when I was staying at her place Tuesday night. Ginger, squash & apples, along with sherry made for an excellent soup. And I'm not really fond of squash. We ate it all up.
The salad was a refreshing mixed greens with apples, toasted walnuts, and dried cherries. The maple syrup-based dressing added just the right amount of sweetness to the already sweet & tart salad.
The main course was duck l'orange. I'd never had it before. And haven't had a lot of duck in my life at that. But the dish was superb. I really liked the orange sauce, and duck has a great flavor. Hell of a lot of fat in it, but Elsa got rid of a lot of the fat before we ever saw the duck. I'm impressed all around.
The dessert was Elsa's fabulous cheesecake with rum & honey roasted pineapples topping it. I really do prefer my cheesecake nekkid, but if I had to have a topping, the pineapple & rum topping was primo. Despite being full already, we all had generous helpings of the cheesecake at dessert time.
The after glow had to wait awhile since we were completely stuffed from the luxurious feast we'd enjoyed. But while The Manchurian Candidate was playing (HUGE screen - yay!) we had port derby & 5 counties cheeses, plus mixed nuts & a beverage of choice. (Judi went with spumante & I had an amaretto sour. Elsa stuck with Diet Coke, I believe.) A wonderful way to end the evening, I felt.
It's truly wonderful having friends who live in 9th floor apartments in Chicago and friends who can cook up a storm. I enjoyed the dinner so much, I decided to clean the kitchen. Wow! Me cleaning the kitchen voluntarily! Took me ages to do it (cuz I'm slow at kitchen cleaning), but the meal was worth it.