Viva Italia – Clan Gordon Family Dinner 2012

Every year the young members of the Gordon family, K and her siblings and all the significant others, eagerly await Christmas time. Not only do we get to spend a lot of time together during the holidays, we also have the Clan Gordon dinner to look forward to. K’s dad and stepmom schedule a serious family dinner within a week or so of Christmas, so that we can have a big event for a small group of family. It really is one of the highlights of the year.

If you’d like a primer on why it has been so awesome in the past, take a look at the last couple of Clan Gordons:

2010 – The Clan Gordon English Dinner

2011 – The New Orleans Clan Gordon Dinner

Enough with the past, let’s get on with it.

CG 1 aprons

Preppy Kitchen

Clan Gordon officially started on Christmas morning when everyone got their own custom family aprons with the really awesome Gordon family crest. Since K’s dad really goes to extreme lengths to make this incredible dinner, the kids will try to get over to his house to serve as line chefs during the process. K and I went over early on the afternoon of the dinner to lend a couple of hands.

CG 1 bechemal sauce

We jumped right in by helping with the stuffed mushrooms with the bechamel sauce.

CG 1 bechemal sauce 2

Smooth, slow stirring as it thickens up.

CG 4 Cooking

Team work.

CG 1 Mushrooms

Almost ready. Check out that bechamel now mixed with all the delicious chopped prosciutto.

CG 1 Mushrooms 2

Here they are, ready to go into the oven. We helped out with a few other final details before heading home.

CG 2 cannelloni

Cannelloni waiting to go into the oven. This would turn out amazing, more details when we get to dinner…

CG 3 Quail

The stuffed quail wrapped in speck waiting for cooking. Beautiful.

CG 5 cheesecake

Here’s Ks stepmom’s amazing cheesecake hot right out of the oven. I will explain later, but I’m normally not a huge cheesecake guy, but I guess that is just because I have never had a cheesecake that was this good. It was light, airy and amazing.

CG 6

Table is set and ready for action.

Dinner Time

Later that evening, we all arrived at the Gordon house and got started.

Cocktail, Canapes, and Company

For these family dinners, we go back to dressing up for dinner and starting the evening with a cocktail hour. Every course during dinner would have a dedicated wine pairing, but this was a good chance for people to start with some sparkling wine or cocktails of their choosing.

cg 6 2

 

Always room for for a White Russian, even during the Italian dinner. If you’re wondering, bydand is the Gordon clan motto, meaning steadfast. Party cup roadies elevate any party, just sayin’.

CG Meal Course 1

During cocktail hour, we got the first taste of K’s dad’s masterpiece dinner. He baked some fresh tuscan bread and made two variations of this amazing liver pate. I could have eaten all of it. It was insanely rich and awesome. The only thing holding me back from killing the whole ramikan was my experience at previous Clan Gordon dinners. One must pace oneself, lest he run out of room before the end of the meal.

Belly in our Bellies

The antipasti course at the table was the product of a serious long-term planning. In February of 2012, we all went over to the Gordon house to make homemade bacon, and while doing that K’s dad started some pork belly confit, so after 10 months it was time to bust it out.

cg 7

 

Here’s the belly out of the skillet before getting plated. So good.

CG meal course 2

Here it is served up with polenta and a cherry reduction. This combination of sweet and salty was awesome with the polenta. Also, it was pretty darn awesome to eat something that we had put together so long ago.

Primi – Can I Canneloni

Next up was a serious Italian masterclass. While researching the menu, K’s dad found this recipe, and it was described as only being made on the most special family occasions, so it was perfect for this event. After hearing about how much work it takes to make the cannelloni and then to make the tortellini that goes inside it, I can see why it is such a rare treat.

cg meal course 3

Here it is baked up after being covered in more bechamel sauce. Inside is the tortellini and prosciutto. This was unreal.

cg meal course3 2

Look at that. Tortellini stuffed with spiced chicken in side a prosciutto wrap inside a spinach cannelloni topped with bechamel. Gimme a break.

Secondi – Stuffed Quail Stuffed Me

So, after the pasta course, you naturally have a meat course. This one was incredible. K’s younger brother delivered the speck from a recent trip to New York, and it served as the outer layer around some de-boned quail and provolone cheese. It was topped with a little honey, and it was insane. The quail was so tender. I know it is related to chicken, but it had so much flavor. Really speaks to the benefits of branching out in the poultry family.

CG meal course 4

 

Plated up with them were the decadent stuffed mushrooms that we had worked on earlier in the afternoon. Find a recipe for them online and make them, serve them at a party or at lunch or whenever. Dang Gina.

Just Desserts

 

Every dinner must come to a close at some point, and this one closed with the light, airy ricotta cheesecake that you saw come out of the oven earlier. So many cheesecakes seem too dense and too smooth, and it is like they loose something in the translation.

CG meal course 4 2

This was cheesecake like you would imagine it should be. Served with this potent raspberry vinegar, which was so good that you could probably have sipped on a shots worth, it was a delightful end to such an awesome dinner.

Bydand

So, I mentioned that the clan motto meant steadfast earlier. What I like so much about these dinners is the coming together of a family that holds on to that ideally dearly. They are steadfast and supportive of each other, and it is truly a blessing to be involved with such a good group. That each year that passes ends in an amazing dinner is a bonus, like a celebration that this family is and will continue to be. Cheers to Clan Gordon and here’s to an awesome 2013 for the whole family. And cheers to you and your family in 2013. Hope it is an awesome one. See you out there!

-Thomas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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