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Dinner Party – Good Wine & Food, Good Friends, Good Times

March 13, 2010

I’ve come to realize the best moments in life occur when you’re sitting around a table with good friends and a bottle of wine. There really is nothing better.

Last weekend, I had one of these moments with 5 friends – a group we have since dubbed “The Potato Ball Crew” (i.e. “the PBC”). The rain may have been pouring last Saturday, but our wine may have been pouring harder. Six people, nine bottles of wine and a lot of good food…Safe to say, it was a good night.

(These wines paired well with our saliva.)

Our hostess for the night, Shelley (of Vinovents, who is now posting on CitySipper), was gracious enough to let us use her beautiful home for these festivities. Our dinner was rather hearty considering it was completely vegetarian; I might have I filled myself up on our delicious cheese platter with its chunks of brie and Stilton.

Although all the food was fantastic (minus my contribution to this classy potluck of Trader Joe’s frozen foods – I didn’t have time to cook!), my favorite dishes of the night were a unique edamame hummus (for which I think I’ll have to steal the recipe in the near future) and Shelley’s delicious farro salad. The fresh green beans and toasted hazelnuts were reminiscent of the green beans and walnuts at Petrossian, and the fried shallots were a savory addition to the dish. I enjoyed that salad so much, I’ve included the recipe below. I was told the total prep time of 45 minutes was misleading, but I personally think I was worth the effort.

To end: Thanks to my fellow Potato Ballers for a great night. I had a fantastically glorious time, and can’t wait for the next round!

Eat our balls!


Farro and Green Bean Salad
From: Food & Wine Magazine, May 2006



* 1 cup farro (7 ounces)
* Water
* Salt
* 6 ounces thin green beans
* 1 cup pure olive oil, for frying
* 4 large shallots—3 thinly sliced, 1 minced
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 3 cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
* 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
* 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
* 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 3 tablespoons salted toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
* Freshly ground pepper


  1. In a medium saucepan, cover the farro with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover, remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain the farro and return it to the pan. Add 2 more cups of water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cook the farro over high heat until al dente, about 10 minutes; drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the green beans until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes; drain. Rinse the beans under cold water and pat dry.
  3. Heat the pure olive oil in a medium saucepan. In a small bowl, toss the sliced shallots with the flour, separating them into rings. Transfer the shallots to a strainer and tap off the excess flour. Add the shallots to the hot oil and fry over high heat, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried shallots to paper towels to drain thoroughly; season lightly with salt.
  4. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil from the saucepan. Add the mushrooms and cook over high heat, stirring, until browned. Transfer to a plate.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk the sherry and balsamic vinegars with the minced shallot, garlic and thyme. Whisk in the extra-virgin olive oil. Add the farro, green beans, hazelnuts and three-fourths of the fried shallots and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a platter or shallow bowl. Garnish with the remaining fried shallots and serve.

Yield: 6 servings

2 Comments on “Dinner Party – Good Wine & Food, Good Friends, Good Times”

  • Edgar C.

    Edamame Hummus

    1 bag of Trader Joe’s edamame
    2 tablespoons of tahini
    3 cloves of garlic
    salt and pepper
    some water to taste

    Zap the edamame in the microwave for 2 minutes
    Shell the edamame
    Puree edamame and garlic in a blender
    Thin the hummus to a consistency of your liking
    Salt & Pepper


    March 14, 2010 » 4:49 AM »

  • fel

    Yay! Thank you Edgar, I’m gonna whip this up during my next free moment 🙂

    March 16, 2010 » 9:17 AM »

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