Monday, September 22, 2014

A Summer-Like Weekend and an Amazing Wine-Tasting Dinner

A beautiful setting for a wonderful evening with friends
This past weekend in Montana, the weather could not have been better. It was truly a couple of “Indian summer” days. Happily, it sounds like we may be having this summer-like weather for a while!

Saturday, we traveled the same distance (130 miles each way) that we had on Thursday, for another of my son’s high school soccer games.  Fall colors were at their peak, and the sky was blue - so the miles flew by! Sunday, I volunteered at a school fundraiser - and enjoyed soaking up the sun during this outdoor event.

I haven’t mentioned this before, but my husband and I belong to a “wine group.”  A while back, friends of ours purchased “The Everyday Guide to Wine” video lecture series by Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, offered by The Great Courses. They invited us and another couple to join them in this effort to learn more about wine.  The six of us get together every few months to watch a chapter of the video, and sample the wines of the region being discussed.  We take turns hosting, and the host-couple provides a meal.  Although I still am a long way from becoming a knowledgeable wine connoisseur, we have had a lot of fun.

This weekend it was time to study California wines, and it had been decided that hearty appetizers would go well with these. Typically the host provides all of the food, but this time we broke tradition, and decided it would be fun if we all contributed to the buffet.

Indian Six-layer Dip, Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Pumpkin Hummus, & Mushroom Pate were only a few of the delectable dishes on this buffet.

We arrived at our friend’s beautiful Arts and Crafts designed home, and realized we were in for a magical evening.  They had set a table and buffet in one of their lovely gardens, overlooking their beautiful rural property.  The evening was warm enough for summer clothing, with a need for just a sweater when the sun set. What could be better than amazing food, interesting wines, great friends, and even some entertainment by the horses in the pasture across from our table. The horse and mule frolicked - chasing each other, jumping a small hill, bucking with joy, and rolling in the dirt.  We stayed long after the sun went down, and it was just a perfect evening.

Taking appetizers to this dinner gave me the opportunity to make two recipes I have been wanting to try.  They were both amazing. You can find them here:

Mushroom pâté from Culinary Ginger
Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Pumpkin Hummus from Pinch of Yum.

Our host made an Indian Six-Layer Dip, and I just had to have the recipe.  To my surprise, he told me he got it from a cookbook I already own, Perfect ONE-DISH Dinners by Pam Anderson. The recipe is on page 248.  Google Books actually includes this recipe in their preview of this cookbook, so you can find it here.  I would really recommend purchasing the cookbook though - as it contains many wonderful recipes!

Our friends graciously agreed that I could include a few photos of them in this blog post.  Here is a glimpse of the fun we had.

We sipped wine in our friends enchanted garden, while we listened to the video lecture on California wines.

A perfect evening with great friends, delicious food, interesting wine and some friendly horses. 

Before dinner, I just had to pick a few carrots from the garden, to give the horse and mule a treat!

Top left: Indian Six-layer dip and Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Pumpkin Hummus
Top Right: A colorful plate!
Bottom left: Mushroom Pate
Bottom Right: Homemade vanilla ice cream with fresh raspberries and homemade chocolate fudge sauce.

This is not the last post I will write about our Wine Group adventures.  Last spring my husband and I hosted a Spanish-themed dinner, when it was time to study Spanish wines.  I am planning a series of posts with tutorials of how to prepare some of the recipes we made.  Look for them this fall.

Have you ever belonged to a dinner or wine group that meets regularly?  I highly recommend it!

All of the opinions expressed here are entirely my own and I received no compensation for any of the content provided in this post.

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  1. Glad you had such great weather this weekend! Our was also wonderful, but today it is raining - boo! What a fun dinner with friends. We used to do something similar, but it's been a while since we all got together. Thanks for the yummy recipes and fun pictures!

    1. Sorry to hear about your weather. Too bad for the cross country meet. It is a fun way to socialize with friends, isn't it?

  2. i would love to be part of your friends, if that is how well you eat

    1. It was a feast! This particular group all likes to cook - so we do have some fun meals :)

  3. It looks like you had a fun time and I enjoyed reading all about it. Thank you so much for featuring my mushroom pâté recipe, I hope it was enjoyed.

  4. Sounds like a lot of fun. I've just returned home after 5 days of being back in our hometown sk nice to be back in my own bed.I miss everybody so much I've been getting caught up! I am at a loss when it comes to wibes. I definitely need that series!

  5. It sounds like a lovely evening, and perfect weather for an outdoor party. I love the pic of you offering the carrot. :)
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. It was a perfect evening - and being able to say hi to some friendly horses made it even more so!

  6. It looks absolutely delightful. The sort of evening to swell your memory banks with...

    1. We always have fun with these two other couples. And their is always amazing food :)
      "Swell your memory banks" - what a lovely description!

  7. What a lovely setting.

    1. An engineer married to an artist. The entire house and grounds are absolutely beautiful!


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