As Elizabeth and Patrick O’Connell both said, the dinner was elegant and refined. I think it’s important to stress that we used two different books by Patrick O’Connell. Patrick O’Connell’s Refined American Cuisine: The Inn at Little Washington and The Inn at Little Washington. Both books have beautiful photos and while the latter focuses on the region, the restaurant and the food, the former is pure food.

Renee did not come through on the chintz decor that should have been  mandatory for this particular dinner party. Having eaten at The Inn, I must say that I prefer the larger portion sizes that we had at Renee’s to the tiny portions that we had at the Inn. Tasty, but tiny…

Elizabeth’s pasta dish was not tiny. It was big and bold and delicious, the tomato paste and mushrooms combined to make it velvety. I’ve never seen Aveline eat so much.

In the photos below you can see Renee’s baby bok choy. The sauce that Elizabeth was referring to was a caramelized rice vinegar sauce that was absolutely wonderful with the crispy rockfish and bok choy. Julie did a fantastic job on the soufflés and I was surprised at how tasty the corn salsa was with the fish. I love the other picture as Renee’s potholder matches the puffed up grit cakes.

As for the Rutabega-Apple Soup that Alayne made, it was tasty, creamy and smooth with a bit of a tang from the rutabega, sweetness from the maple syrup, sweet potato and butternut squash, and had just the right hint of spiciness with the addition of the cayenne. It was so good I made it for dinner again last night.

I must say I was a bit disappointed with the grapefruit tart (not that I didn’t finish my piece). It was very astringent and acidic, though it looked pretty.  I had thought the sugar and cream would tone it down but I think the grapefruit to orange juice ratio was too high, if I made it again I believe I’d either do 3/4 orange to 1/4 grapefruit juice or maybe just use 1/2 of the rind from the grapefruit, that may have been where the astringent taste came from. Sorry Alayne.

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