Dinner and dancing — the french way

We don’t have fancy dinner parties, but because I have been on a cooking jag, it is always good when we can cajole friends and relatives into coming to sample whatever new recipe I’ve decided to try. I know that I should test run the recipes before foisting them on unsuspecting visitors, but when it’s AD and HE, somehow it seems that the food is always good AND they are so hungry that I could put some old shoes with butter in front of them and they’d eat.

I’ve been wanting to try a beef dish, so when I read Dorie’s Greenspan’s “beef cheek daube with carrots and elbow macaroni” recipe in Around My French Table, I was hooked (in part because the recipe called for two cups red wine and finely chopped dark chocolate. However, I did not use beef cheeks, just regular chuck, maybe next time cheeks). See how lovely and dark the gravy is? The gravy cooked up thick and the chocolate wasn’t obvious, but it did give the dish depth, as Hanna noted.

I paired the beef with sweet potato and kale gratin (this recipe used regular spuds, but I wanted more color and flavor, so followed the recipe but swapped in sweet potatoes), too, since I didn’t want us to overdose on meat. Of course, there was a pear and cranberry galette with homemade vanilla ice cream for dessert. The galette wasn’t too sweet, but it might have been without the cranberries that gave it a good wallop of tang. Look at those flecks of vanilla bean in the ice cream.

I suppose the dancing before dinner was a good idea. We didn’t have the energy for it after dinner. Just because we didn’t dance the night away, I’ll end with yet another dancing photograph.  Dancing first, dinner later — that’s my version of the french way! Those kids sure can groove!

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