( if you will recall,....or even if not) In addition, the featured guest at this cooking demo was slated to be a local woman who is very nearly almost rather famous! She's been on the Hell's Kitchen show! She learned to know and worked with Gordon Ramsey!
I didn't really know what to expect of the evening, but I told The Yard Man he'd have to fend for himself regarding supper, and I went out the door, hungry.
When I got to Olio, there was a small group waiting to occupy the seven or eight card tables set up in the shop, and a big guy with a ponytail was hauling in loads of equipment and supplies.
After while the shop owner told the gathered assembly we could all choose seats, so another woman and her teenaged son and I maneuvered our way to a table just a few feet from the presentation area. I could tell we were in an ideal spot, but I still couldn't identify the chef from among the cluster of folks who were busy getting things set up. Not to fear, the woman who was my table-mate quickly pointed her out. "There she is!" she said. "That's Barbie! She made it all the way to the fourth-from-the-final competition on the show!"
Then, Dear Reader, I had to sheepishly admit that I'd never actually watched the show! Of course, it didn't really matter. Barbie introduced herself, and she told us all about her six weeks in Hell's Kitchen.
Meanwhile, she prepared dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped with bacon, drizzled with fig balsamic and served on a platter lined with a banana leaf from her pony-tailed husband's very own full-grown banana tree! Whew, and that was just the beginning!
Barbie told us all kinds of stories, at the same time making Mushroom Crostini and Chicken Spiedini. (If you think it's nice how they rhyme, Reader Dear, it was even better how they tasted!) The owners of the store proffered a variety of beverages--sparkling lemon water, coffee, and three kinds of wine were among my choices!
Barbie kept on talking and made Bagna Cauda.
I can't quite tell you what it is, even now. But here's how you make it:
3/4 Cup Olio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon Anchovy Paste (more, she said, if you want)
1/4 crushed pepper flakes
6 large garlic cloves, finely crushed
Combine ingredients over medium-low heat whisking to mix. Pour into a fondue pot to keep warm.
Serve with bread cubes and assorted vegetables.
Won't you try it, Reader Dear. I want you then to tell me how many nights you dream about fields of garlic.
Barbie passed around the dates again, this time without the bacon. And that brought us to...(drum roll, please)...THE BREAD!
The bread was sliced and brought in slabs to the tables with..(.take a wild guess) ..olive oil for dipping.
Okay, Reader Dear, by this point (as my dear father used to indelicately express it) I'd lost my appetite!
Nevertheless, along came Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake, topped with raspberries and whipped cream, and I managed to eat it with gusto. Ditto with the tiny dish of vanilla ice cream drizzled with flavored olive oil.
But THEN, it was with mixed emotions I gazed upon the platter full of Miesse Chocolates extended my way. "Depending on what you like,..." the woman from this local chocolate company pointed out, "These are the raspberry creams, and here are the nougats..."
I chose a dark-chocolate-covered homemade marshmallow. And later, another. And when they passed the platter yet again, I dropped two chocolates in my take-home bag. Half of me was groaning and preaching myself a sermon, while the other half was doing the Devil-be-Damned-Cha-Cha-Cha-Zip-Boom-Bah-High-Sugar dance and marveling at this fantastic finale!!