In my last post, we visited the gardens of Southern Exposure on a rainy, late September evening. Imagine how nice it was to step inside, be dry and see this lovely table!
Or this vignette.
It was cool but cozy on the patio as Angie prepared a wonderful blood orange mimosa for us.
So pretty! And with lots of garnishes -- raspberries, candied ginger, orange, even gummy bears!
Then inside for a fabulous dinner. Chef Elsie prepared duck with ratatouille, roasted potatoes and salad, to go with our wine and bread. Note the pretty garnish of rosemary and mums on the plate. It's little touches like this that make Southern Exposure so special. Our dessert was pumpkin creme brulee!
While Kate was chatting with the other ladies at our table, Jan and I had to toast the evening!
Instead of doing a take-home project, tonight was a "food night." We started by going to the main house where the owners of Southern Exposure live. Kevin, who makes the garnishes for our meals, led us through a look at herbs -- growing them, mincing, and making herb butters. Of course when I got home, I immediately wanted to strip my garden of all herbs and make butters. And you know I'm going to.
Then we moved to the next building, the Hog House, where Elizabeth shared a recipe for delicious brownies. (And I know they are delicious because we each had one!) She also talked about using chocolate in cooking and a bit of the history of it. Cocoa beans were considered a marketable item for bartering with the Spanish explorers of the 1600s and from there it went to Spain and into Europe, primarily as a liquid. But I never knew that in England there used to be hot chocolate shops everywhere and that it was there that they developed the process of turning cocoa as a liquid or powder into a solid.
Then it was on to...
Yes, Chef Elsie's kitchen! She shared with us the recipes from our wonderful dinner along with a few prep tips.
Everyone in our group was eager to find out how she prepared the duck so it didn't taste fatty or too gamey. Slitting the skin, dusting with salt, pepper and paprika and doing a five minute skin-side-down cook in a hot skillet before transferring to the oven is the secret.
Angie was back when we went to the Corn Crib for look (and recipes) of several winter drinks, including a delicious mulled wine, the mimosa we had earlier and the recipe for a hibiscus sugar syrup. Elizabeth of Brownie Fame earlier in the evening made wonderful truffles to go with our wine. Of course, the table looked so pretty!
We hated to leave! But we know we'll be back.
Although, I'm not so sure the view outside the window will look this green when we come! But I bet there will be sparkly lights on those little trees!
I'm sorry I won't be able to reply to comments or visit for a few weeks. I will be offline getting all sorts of great photos and inspiration for posts to come. But please do leave a comment if you like -- I read them all and they make me smile more than you know. We need all the smiles we can get!
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