Salty Dog Palate Cleanser + Dinner Party Highlights

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I absolutely LOVE a great dinner party!  The idea of planning a dinner party exhilarates
me beyond my imagination.  Making people
happy through my food and entertaining prowess, is one of the great pleasures I
have to share.  The idea of great friends
gathering around the table to break bread, savor wine, share stories, laugh a
lot and leave feeling better than when they arrived through our front door
simply makes me blissful.

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Back in December, I know, it was a while ago – I threw a
wine pairing dinner party for a long time friend Helen.  Helen had a milestone birthday and I wanted
to give her a gift that was an event rather than an object.  An event would provide lifetime memories and
I believe means so much more than an expensive candle or keep sake.  Don’t hear me wrong, those things are nice
but an event of sorts is just something out of the ordinary and bordering on
the extraordinary in my mind.

I shared in my dinner certificate gift with Helen that she
could invite two other couples and we would make it a dinner party.  She invited Meg and Alex from our book club
along with their hubbies and hers.  It
made for a fun night with many laughs. 
Alex’s hubby brought a game that he had created.  It was on a large white board with photos of
famous people and our job was to guess who they all were.  We laughed and laughed and thought it was so
cleaver for him to create and share with all of us.  We then played table topics – the dinner
party version and it created great conversation and more laughs.

Since Helen and her hubby Phil have been long time friends,
I wanted to also incorporate one of Phil’s favorites – The Salty Dog!  Instead of a cocktail, I made a palate
cleanser from a handmade Grapefruit Sorbet. 
Let’s just say, this was the star of the dinner party.  We then moved into the main course with my
infamous Asian Braised Short ribs with Orange Hoisin Glaze with Sour Cream
Mashed Potatoes and Haricot Verts.  This
course we enjoyed a 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon from Faust.  It was simply perfect with this dish.
Instead of a fancy dessert, I wanted to go classic and make
a handmade chocolate cake that would be the final touch to this brilliant
dinner.  The key to this cake is the
coffee that is added to the cake and espresso powder to the chocolate
frosting.  Happy, Happy Birthday my dear
friend Helen – may you have a fantastic year ahead!

Salty Dog Palate Cleanser

Himalayan Salt

Favorite Vodka

Grapefruit Sorbet

To make the Salty Dog Sorbet Palate Cleansers, take a shot
glass and dip a bit into water and then into a bowl of Himalayan pink
salt.  Use a very small ice cream scooper
to pop two scoops into the shot glass and drizzle a touch of your favorite
vodka on top.  Repeat until you have made
as many as you need for your dinner party guests.  Serve immediately with a small spoon to
cleanse the palate before your next course. 
It is best to be served right before the main course.

Grapefruit Sorbet

3 Cups Pink Grapefruit Juice

3 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice

½ Cup Light Corn Syrup

2/3 Cup Sugar

Combine the grapefruit juice, lemon juice, corn syrup and
sugar in a 4 quart saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heart,
stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Place
the sorbet base in the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours and overnight
is best.

Remove the sorbet base from the refrigerator.  Next, process in your ice cream maker according
to the manufacturers directions.  It
should be the consistency of very softly whipped cream.  Transfer to an airtight storage container and
chill in the freezer for at least 4 hours until firm.  Makes about 1 quart.

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