Let’s Hear it for the Boys!

    It’s not everyday that a girl has four fabulous boys prepare her an unbelievably delicious, multi-course  dinner, but last night, I was the very lucky recipient of that exact phenomenon! Most of my friends say they feel intimidated to invite me over for dinner ( as if I’d ever turn down home cooking!!), but last night my good buddy Jimmy rounded a few friends together, andalong with Rafael, Ritchie and Tim, prepared an enchanting meal which we shared amidst much fun and laughter.


    I was met at he door with a traditional Pisco Sour topped with a fluffy, creamy merengue drizzled with a splash of Angostura Bitters. I’ve had Pisco Sours before, but this one differed in that the head of the cocktail was a true merengue prepared by our head Chef for the evening, Rafael. Tart and tangy, the drink was the perfect counterbalance to a quick and easy, but intensely flavorful dip Rafael put out with cheese, crackers and nuts to hold the hungry crowd over while he put the finishing touches on our dinner. The dip consisted of a seasoning called Mapuche seasoning, a  pre-Columbian condiment  made from salt, ground black pepper, ground coriander seed,  and ground Cacho de Cabra chile, which is then smoked. The flavor is incredible, and when stirred into  1/4 cup of olive oil, makes a perfect casual  dip for crackers, cheese or even grilled chicken or fish. In addition, it can be used as a dry rub for roasts, producing a flavorful crust which is superb!

Cheese Board with Mapuche seasoning Dip

     The Mapuche seasoning thing caught me completely by surprise. Rafael is of Northern Italian and Spanish descent, and he was raised in Argentina, so when this boy walks into the kitchen he brings a plethora of food memories in with him! Our first course was a Boned Roasted Cornish Game Hen stuffed with a brunoise of mire poix,  wrapped in pancetta and served on Fried Polenta Triangles served alongside a delicately dressed Watercress Salad. The Cornish hens were perfectly seasoned and perfumed by the aromatic celery, onion, and carrots which contrasted daintily on the sweet corn polenta. The peppery, crisp watercress was an unexpected treat (why don’t we see more watercress on our menus?), and oh-so-good with the juicy, sagey roasted hens.

Roasted Boned Cornish Hens with Pancetta and Aromatics served on Fried Polenta Triangles with Watercress Salad

    Okay, boys, you have my undivided attention! With Ritchie and Tim toiling beside him in Jimmy’s kitchen, and Jimmy keeping  our glasses full, Rafael puts together an eye-poppingly gorgeous plate of freshly made Red Beet Ravioli in Butter Sauce garnished with Poppy Seeds and curls of salty, nutty Parmigiano Reggiano…GULP!!! The earthy sweetness of the beets was encased in a thin fresh pasta dough and laced with a hint of anise seed. The poppy seed added a cruchy finish that was unexpected but playful in texture. Rafael shared that this was his grandmother’s recipe, which his sister had written in Italian, and he had translated for his “sous chefs”. I vaguely remember thinking that (in the words of Bugs Bunny) this was starting to look like the beginning of a bee-yooo-tee-ful friendship!

Red Beet Ravioli with Poppy Seed Butter Sauce

     When Rafael leaked that the next course was a Panna Cotta all’arancia I’m sure I swooned. I’m a lover of all things panna cotta, and I try it whenever I have an opportunity, but given even my extensive love affair with this concoction, I was not ready for our  first dessert. Panna Cotta means “cooked cream” and it is a sweet that is bound by gelatin, but sadly, too often there is so much gelatin used in a recipe that the panna cotta reaches super-ball status! This dessert, (another of Rafael’s nonna’s recipes) on the other hand, was almost ethereal. It barely held together and was silk-like on the tongue. My kitchen demigods had coated the ramekins with caramel, and so the panna cotta had a lovely touch of sweetness and pretty flecks of vanilla, which balanced the slight bitter of the syrup poached kumquats  he used to garnish the plate. Whew!!

  Panna Cotta all’arancia

     I could have died right after eating that dessert, but these boys were not quite through with me yet. Tim and Rafael had made a heartbreakingly beautiful Quince Crostata with a melt in your mouth shortbread crust which was prettily latticed on top. Jimmy and Ritchie, who had shopped for ingredients, had been instructed by Rafael to buy European butter, because of its superior flavor. I don’t know if it was the butter, but that was the most delicious tart I have ever eaten. The crust was absolutely scrumptious, and the quince filling  chunky and tart…I think I just gave myself goosebumps!

Quince Crostata

     What an unbelievable evening, and what a lucky girl I am to have such sweet, thoughtful and generous friends! They are certainly among the blessings I thank God for every night before I go to sleep. Did I mention I’m using a couple of those recipes in my new book? Let’s hear it for the boys!!

Jimmy, Tim, Daisy, Rafael, and Ritchie


44 Responses to “Let’s Hear it for the Boys!”

  1. 1 Cindy February 13, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    All these pics have made me hungry!Ahi va la dieta

  2. 2 Sandra February 13, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Everything looks DELICIOSO!!! 🙂

  3. 3 Sandra February 13, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Panna Cotta all’arancia…

    What is the filling on that? It looks so yummy!!

    Que rico! I am going to have to try that!

  4. 4 Brandie February 13, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Everything looks so good. I really miss your show.

  5. 6 sandi connor February 13, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Sounds absolutely amazing. You are welcome for dinner at my house anytime!

  6. 7 Kathi February 13, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    All looks DElish and that was a thoughtful gesture!

  7. 8 Rosie February 13, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Sounds and looks amazing! I wish I were in your shoes!

  8. 9 Inge February 13, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Wow! What a treat for a lovely lady – the food and the company. Would have been many new flavors for me, I can tell you.

  9. 10 jody February 13, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Lovely Stuff!


  10. 11 Norma February 13, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Wow, everything look amazingly yummie!

  11. 12 lori February 13, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    All of those yummy pics have me heading to the kitchen :)))

    Thank you for sharing your evening with us.

  12. 13 Mayra February 13, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Love these.. I just watched Julie & Julia and want to cook all Your recipes like the girl in the movie LOL

  13. 14 Aristides February 13, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    The guys did a great job! Thanks for sharing.

  14. 15 BIGKEN February 13, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Hey Daisy, big fan!! It’s about time someone gives us men some credit! I do 95% of the cooking in my house! Go guys and show these women we can get down too!!

  15. 16 Miriam February 13, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Wow Daisy I say you are a lucky girl…those boys are worth their weight in gold..they really cooked what looks and sounds like an amazing dinner….hooray for the boys….

  16. 18 caren gittleman February 13, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    OMG Daisy the food looks so terrific and I bet you were beyond tickled to have someone cook for YOU!!!
    Not to mention it is even nicer when it is GUYS doing the cooking! The pictures made me salivate (thank goodness I just ate dinner!!!)
    I am so happy you were treated like a Queen!

  17. 19 Katy February 13, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Hey boys, you are more than welcome to come to my place 🙂 Everything looks so good and fresh. Can I be your little sister?

  18. 20 Mary Rios February 13, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Hi Daisy! I am a big fan also and hope you can make it to Chicago for a book signing!

  19. 21 Jennifer February 13, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Yummy I sooo want to get to this point of cooking my husband would
    looooooove it

  20. 22 Melissa February 13, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    OMG! Daisy that sounds and looks amazing! Way to go guys!


  21. 23 Gina February 13, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    HI Daisy – finally found the Blog – just beautiful – love your cooking shows!

  22. 24 Tammy February 13, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    Red Beet Ravioli, thats a new one!….hmmmmm

  23. 25 BIGKEN February 13, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Everything looks great you have to post some recipes.

  24. 26 Cristal February 13, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    That Panna Cotta all’arancia looks DELICIOUS!!!!!

  25. 27 Cathy Billelo February 13, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Not only does the food sound fab but your descriptions are colorful and perfect. Can I come next time! Happy V day love u

  26. 28 Giselle Gonzalez February 13, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Ok I hope I’m commenting on the right thread!!
    Hope to win. Oh and have a fantastic Valentines Day

  27. 29 Arlene February 13, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Sounds like a perfect evening!!! Great job guys! 🙂

  28. 30 Darcy Ysseldyke February 13, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    I have always been a big fan of cornish hens and the picture of the boned hens is amazing!!

  29. 31 Christina Raimondi February 13, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Wow, everything looks delicious!

  30. 32 Debi Genovese February 13, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Great dinner – Fabulous guys – I wanna be friends with them… and too late for the contest… dang massage… lol

  31. 33 Denise Spencer February 13, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    You are one lucky lady! The beet ravoli was a shock to see–I’ve never heard of it. I am glad you enjoyed….Denise

    p.s. Happy V-Day and thanks for all your great recipes! I made the best spanish rice thanks to you!!!!

  32. 34 Jessica February 13, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Oh my god evrything looks so yummy !!!!

  33. 35 susie February 13, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    Wow! Can you give us the recipe for the crostata to hold us over until the new book comes out??

  34. 36 Lomna February 13, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Yes you are one VERY lucky girl!

  35. 37 mimi February 13, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    PICK ME ! PICK ME!!!
    I can’t wait for the new book. Best of luck. Everything looks delish!

  36. 38 connie February 13, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    i cant wait till march 28 The “D” rocks

  37. 39 Lauren February 13, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    My mouth is dripping on my keys!

  38. 40 angels February 13, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    ok, I found now where I’m supposed to post my feelings about this, I love Daisy, have an autographed book, Dasy Cooks, which my mother and I used to watch all the time….once she got sick, well I put it on for her anyway, and we watched all of the cooking shows, from Daisy to lidia, to colameco. thanks Daisy for being a part of ‘our’ lives, and keep up the good work

  39. 41 Michael February 13, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    I finally found the site and I’m not the 25th comment. =(
    The pics and description of your meal were perfect. Thanks.

  40. 42 Mauricio February 14, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Great Blog, subtle and very entertaining!

  41. 43 Amy Buckner Reichbind February 15, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Beautiful, inventive food. I especailly like the beet ravioli. All of the dishes looked magical.

  42. 44 Dora April 8, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Everything look delicious .

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