Sunday, February 26, 2012


We've done it for a year now: gathered, eaten, drank, laughed and learned more than we ever thought we wanted to know about brewing beer.

Along with my husband and me, three other couples get together once a quarter to "break bread." We're not talking your run-of-the-mill grocery store Wonder bread. We're talking artisan, crusty sourdough or a brioche. And, it's not a quick trip to Panera before we gather to pick up those breads; it's a labor in the kitchen for hours to make those breads from scratch kind of group.

Most of the participants in this group, what I affectionately call "foodies", are food enthusiasts. We not only love to eat, but we love to cook and bake and try new flavor combinations. There are a few exceptions, but those are the unfortunate spouse or two who graciously come along for the ride (and free food). Overall, though, we all enjoy learning and talking about food and drinks.

Care to know some of the fine food and drink of which we've partaken? Some of my favorites have been dry rubbed ribs, pureed cauliflower, Mississippi Buck, and creme brulee.

Sometimes a theme shapes the food and drink we all contribute, and whoever hosts decides on that theme. This past Saturday Lawrence and I hosted and asked everyone to bring something red in honor of Valentine's Day. We decided on veal/chicken parmesan for the entree and sangria for a red drink.

I tried my hand at Emeril's Veal Parmesan along with his Sangria, and Giada's Chicken Parmesan. Sadly, I was not impressed with the Sangria; it was not bubbly or sweet enough as far as Sangrias go. I loved that Giada's Chicken Parmesan was not breaded or fried but used fresh herbs instead to acquire flavor. It was good and I think would have been better had I not overcooked the chicken or served it next to Emeril's Veal. Where his Sangria lacked in flavor, his veal parmesan well made up for it.

I became an Emeril fan last night. He had me at "BAM". Actually, it was his own version of Creole Seasoning which he calls Essence that made the dish so spectacular. Reading through the recipe, I was nervous about the direction he took it in, that of spicy with kicks of red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper. But, the heat is what absolutely made this dish. The pancetta in the sauce probably didn't hurt either. YUM!

We started our evening with amazing bruschetta, what my son would call "world famous", at least the world of Sovereign Grace Church of Joppa (my local church). It is a Doug Shriner recipe, and anyone who's had the privilege of eating food that Doug's made knows that it's always good. His bruschetta recipe never disappoints.

Following our appetizer, we enjoyed something new for all of us, Borscht, a Russian red beet based soup. Served with one's choice of sour cream, mayonnaise or apple cider vinegar, it was surprisingly better than its name sounds. I enjoyed mine with the tang of apple cider vinegar.

By far we left the best for last, red velvet cake. For me who tries too hard to "healthify" even the desserts we eat here at the Almengor's, the taste of good old refined white sugar, white flour and full fat cream cheese was just to die for. And, I likely would if I ate regularly as much of that cake as I did last night! Oh my!

Here are some rather fuzzy pictures of our enjoyable evening in red:

February 26, 2012 Foodies


Danielle said...

I think each one is more fun! And the place looked so great!

Zoanna said...

What a fun tradition. I might start up something like that for people in my age group:) teehee. The painted wineglasses are adorable and so is your decor. I really like Emeril's essence; I've been a fan of his for so long because he just loves what he does and is so personable. He is even a gracious judge, unlike some of Food Network's many critics. Oh, well, didn't mean to post such a long comment. You can sort of tell this is a topic that whets my appetite!

krista said...

I so want to do this at some point.

Question: I noticed your lovely tea/coffee crafts in the pictures--would you recommend them and say where you got them? Those I currently own are pitiful because the top either threatens to fall off once it's unscrewed to pour or they don't allow the liquid to flow out in a predictable fashion.

krista said...

Oh, and my mother-in-law's borsch is so yummy! Sweet and spicy.

Mandie said...

This unfortunate non-foody spouse had a blast! Thanks for hosting in spite of busy season. I've enjoyed all the food we've had over the past year. But yeah, I'm definately not one who loves to cook :)

Briana Almengor said...

Krista, One of my carafe's is from Pampered Chef, but it's the old model. The one they make now is stainless steel I think and over $60. I'm sure it works well, but I wouldn't pay that much money unless I was in catoring. ;)
I have no idea where the other one came from, but it has worked well for me for a long time. Sorry to not be very helpful. Hope you find something that works well for you w/out spending an arm and a leg.

A girl who sees said...

That is so super fun!! I might have to try and set up something like this out here, although I'm not sure what we would all do with our monkeys!

lac said...

Looks like a blast! I wish I lived near you all- I love food and I love cooking!! Maybe I'll have to use your group as a model and try to start my own here :)