A Dinner Party From the Past

October 27th, 2009

The above picture appeared in our newspaper back in 1975. It is so funny to look at this again. I was so skinny and David had lots of hair! That is the kitchen in the first house that we bought. It was this sunny kitchen that sold me on the beautiful old house. Our friends Jim and Janice were the first people that we met in Greensboro. They lived next door to us in our first apartment and Janice and I took cooking classes together. They later moved away from Greensboro, raised a family and we lost touch. Recently we have reconnected and Jim and Janice just moved to Black Mountain, just over the ridge from us. We decided that it would be fun to get together and cook again. Janice and I recreated the menu from 1975. The recipes all came from our cooking instructor Irena ( Kirshman ) Chalmer’s cookbooks published by Potpourri Press.









Here we all are, a little older but still having lots of fun, the girls taking their positions behind the counter and the guys pouring wine and setting the table. Since Jim was pouring in the old picture he is doing the honors again.

The first course for our dinner party is Coquilles Saint-Jacques Nantaise or Scallops with shallots, butter and breadcrumbs. I have to warn you, this is rich with lots of butter even though I cut back some, but it was delicious. Click on the name for the recipe.


The entree was Tournedos Henry IV with Artichoke Bottoms and Sauce Bearnaise. There is more butter in this, but the bearnaise sauce is worth it. It took the two of us to make the bearnaise. The filets are flattened, cooked in clarified butter and then flamed in brandy. They are topped with the artichoke bottom holding the bearnaise sauce. This dish was sublime.

We served simple roasted potatoes and asparagus with this. We roasted the halved potatoes drizzled with olive oil and rosemary skin side down for about 20 minutes. We then added the asparagus tossed in oil to the pan and continued roasting until done.

After all that decadence we decided that we wanted something light and easy for dessert. We made a Raspberry Whip. This is nothing more than whipped egg whites to which you add a little sugar, raspberry preserves and framboise or raspberry liqueur. What is so great about this dessert is that you can adapt it to many flavors; perhaps orange marmalade with Grand Marnier.

We had such a good time doing this meal. It is not often that we eat like this anymore but it was well worth it to bring back some of these classic recipes. Cooking together with friends is one of the joys of life.

21 responses to “A Dinner Party From the Past”

  1. Mary says:

    Who said “You can’t go home again”? I think you just proved them wrong. This must have been such fun. It sounds like you had a wonderful night.

  2. What incredible fun! This is such a great idea. So, where is this ridge, and is the house next to you for sale???

    And love the flaming in brandy idea for the steaks!

  3. BMK says:

    How fun to recreate the dinner! The dishes you prepared look fabulous. Looks like a wonderful evening.

  4. Katy ~ says:

    Looks like a wonderful evening of rekindling old friendships and revisiting fond food memories!

  5. Susan says:

    I love, love, love this posting. That is what it is all about!!! Enjoying food with friends. I am so happy you reconnected, and especially happy you shared with us.

  6. toni says:

    What a great post, Penny! I love the old photo and the fact that you re-created that evening. Thanks for sharing this. And yes, cooking together with friends IS one of life’s great joys!

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  8. What a great story, and it looks like a phenomenal dinner! I could practically smell its wonderful aroma as I was reading! Now, you’ve inspired me to step up my Halloween game plan for this weekend! Can’t wait to see you both! Love -K

  9. Penny thanks for a look down memory lane ~ after all, age is in the mind and it looks like you all are staying well ahead of its affects.

    As for this dinner, magnificent! There is nothing better than friends getting together and celebrating good times.

  10. Penny says:

    Mary, We are lucky to be re-connecting with many of our old friends.

    Dave, For real, the house next door is for sale! I can just see you and David grilling together.

    BMK, Thanks. I see you have been catching up with Ina dishes. Love your blog.

    Katy, We had fun. It would be fun to have you over too.

    Susan, Maybe we will see you in Florida this winter. David would love to fish with the Trout.

    Toni, Love your comments. Glad to have you around. My connections to your site are not working.

    Kristen, We are so exicited about the weekend. I am sure Rachel will be the most beautiful princess. Looking forward to Halloween with you.
    Love, Penny, Mimi and Mom (All Me!)

    George, What can I say? You have a great blog and I am hooked.

  11. How wonderful that you reconnected with friends and that they live so close! The meal looks delicious and worth every calorie!

  12. What a great post. Amazing that you have reconnected with long-time friends and found that magic again.
    Beautiful dinner.

  13. girlichef says:

    What a fun post!! I love that old newspaper photo…how great 🙂 And me and my Spartans are having a decent season…not our best, but not our worst, either, LOL!!! Yes, it is craziness around these parts this time of year, you are right about that!! Thanks for thinking of me, Penny 🙂 Hope all is well on your end, too!!

  14. Velva says:

    So nice! You all look fabulous! What a great journey down memory lane. Food always has a way of bringing people back together again.
    I really enjoyed this post.

  15. What a great post. Such a wonderful thing it is to reconnect with friends and/or family through cooking, food and fun. Beautiful photos too.

  16. Jann says:

    How much fun could that have been! I am impressed~great food and so good to get together again after a long period of time!

  17. Kate says:

    Your post brought tears! How wonderful to be able to reconnect and find that you still enjoy the same things! Great food, great company!

  18. Karen says:

    What a fun thing to do! Your menu is so elegant… I bet it was wonderful!

  19. Julie says:

    I have come back to this page again and again through the years, and it is so comforting to find it still.
    When I was a teenager I found a little book published by Potpourri Press (I thought it was titled “Sauces” by Irena Chalmers) but alas, I can neither find the book or such a reference. However, in that little paperback book was a recipe for Bearnaise Sauce (by Irena Chalmers). The only recipe I ever made or needed for that wonderful sauce. Since I’ve lost it I’ve been winging it…Is the one you’ve published here the one and same Irena Chalmers Bearnaise Sauce?

    The ingredients look to be so…I just didn’t remember swirling in the final 2Tbs of butter. At any rate, what a thrill to find, what I believe, is the motherlode. A blast from my past…acutely felt! Thank you.

    • Penny says:

      This is indeed Irena Chalmers recipe for Bearnaise Sauce Julie. She may have changed it a bit in the other cookbook. So pleased that you have been coming here over the years. Sometimes I question continuing my blog, but people like you make it all worthwhile. Love this blast from the past too. Glad we could share it.

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