A French Dinner Party in My Southern Home

Every year, the Arts Council in Alamance County has a fund raiser called Alamance a la Carté.  Chefs, or home cooks volunteer their time to prepare a meal to help raise money to support the arts council.  This was the third time that I was asked to participate and I was very honored that they asked me again!  My menu this year was called Dinner in France and was inspired by one of my favorite cookbooks, A Kitchen in France by Mimi Thorisson.

Menu

Roquefort Gougères

Onion Tart

Seared Chicken Breasts with Spring Onions

Roasted Asparagus with Prosciutto

New Potatoes

Cheeses Course with French Cheeses and Assorted Crackers

Chocolate Orange Mousse

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Dining Room table set for Spring

The table was set with gold chargers, gold rimmed Lenox china, and vintage salad plates.  The flowers were done by my Lyn Moser of Special Arrangements and they couldn't have been more beautiful.  I asked for something that felt like spring and she certainly delivered with a combination of roses, hydrangeas and greenery. 

Dinner in my Southern Home
Spring place setting and silver coffee service in my dining room
Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto ready to bake

The asparagus was wrapped with prosciutto and roasted, then sprinkled with chervil and parmesan cheese before serving.

Recipe

Onion Tart and Asparagus wrapped with prosciutto

The onion tart was served as a first course.

Spring roasted tri color potatoes

I used tri-color baby potatoes to add interest on the plate.

Roasted potatoes on the stove with my All-Clad copper pot
Making sauce for Pan Seared Chicken Breasts with Spring Onions

After the chicken breasts were seared, I made a sauce with butter, dry sherry and chicken broth.  It was so delicious!

Preparing for a dinner party with Britt

My friend and partner in crime, Britt Stadler helped me and I couldn't have done it without her.  Garrick also pitched in by greeting guests and helping with the serving!

Pan Seared Chicken Breasts with Spring Onions

I had the butcher at Whole Foods bone the chicken breasts for me.  It's nearly impossible to find boneless chicken breasts with the skin on.  Leaving the skin on kept the chicken incredibly moist and the sauce very flavorful.

Recipe

A Kitchen In France by Mimi Thorisson
Wine selection for a French menu with chicken and asparagus

I asked my friend Michelle at Cork and Cow in Burlington to help me with the wine pairings.  All of the wine was from France and paired beautifully with each course.  The guests started with a sparkling wine with the Roquefort Gougères as they arrived.  The onion tart was served with an unoaked chardonnay, the chicken was served with a beautiful, dry rosé, the cheese course was paired with a red wine from Burgundy and dessert was served with a choice of Sauternes or a pink sparking wine.

Flowers on my dining table set for a spring dinner party with a French theme
Great way to display hors d'oeuvres
French cheeses for a cheese course
French cheese for a cheese course

I served five french cheeses, along with a small green salad after the main course.  The cheese included Comté, St. Andre, Roquefort, and two others (I can't remember what they were)!

Onion tart ready to be served

The onion tart, ready to be served.

Recipe

Whipping cream for chocolate mousse

I whipped the cream for the chocolate mousse right before the guests came.  This chocolate mousse is one of the most decadent desserts I've ever made.  It was so delicious!

Chocolate Mousse
Chocolate mousse for dessert!
Dinner guests having sparkling wine before dinner

I believe that everyone enjoyed their dinner and I certainly enjoyed preparing and serving it!

Alamance a la Carté participants

I hope you'll be inspired to try this menu.  I made the onion tart, the gougères and the chocolate mousse ahead of time and everything else was prepared the day of the party.  It's not a difficult menu, but if you prepare everything, it does take some time.  The chicken and asparagus together would make a very special and easy to prepare dinner.

Thanks so much for reading about my cooking adventure!  I hope you all have a great day!