The first dinner party is in the works! My general goal is to host two of these a month, we'll see how that goes. I've chose the first menu – picking recipes that are seemingly a bit less complicated.
Seemingly. But finding all of the ingredients has been the most ridiculous thing. Fruitwood smoked salmon? No where in any local stores, even the fancy-schmancy Whole Foods in La Jolla. Near impossible to find on the internet (and the company recommended in the book doesn't seem to be working for me). I got excited when I found someone who sells smoked salmon fillets in the farmer's market, but when I asked what kind of wood was used for smoking, she said it was 'heat processed.' 'Ok,' I said, 'then how does it get the 'smoked' flavor in that makes it 'smoked salmon'?' 'Its heat processed with a little brown sugar and no artificial additives' she repeated. I think she doesn't know what she is talking about, so I discarded that potential idea. So, long story short, I'm going to be sure and include resources for all of the recipes – in hopes that others that try and make it don't spend hours looking for things!
And in other French Laundry prep, I've "discovered" the local restaurant supply store. Best. Thing. Ever. And one day when I'm in LA, I'm going to go to the Culver City one, which I'm sure will be the Bestest thing ever.
Cheese course: Whipped Brie de Meaux en fuillete
"Main" (really a "first" course in the book): Fruitwood Smoked Salmon with Gnocchi
Dessert: Cream of Walnut Soup