Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summer Dinner Under The Pergola


Saturday was a lovely summer day.  The  heat of the past weeks had subsided and there was a gentle breeze in the air.  I was thankful for the cooler weather, because we were having company for dinner and we wanted to cook outside and spend the evening dining under the pergola.

Dinner was Spanish themed, so the menu called for Gazpacho, Paella and Crema Catalana. I started in the morning making the dessert (I love my cookbook stand!).

Once our company arrived, we began with Manchego cheese, Marcona Almonds, Spanish Olives and the Gazpacho (sprinkled with fresh tomato, croutons and chopped hard boiled egg).



Then Mr. Comforts of Home started the Paella on the grill, beginning with browning the Chorizo sausage.

As our guests, Penny and David, from Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen, patiently waited...

The Paella, slowly built up bit by bit, starting with the sofrito of tomatoes, onions, garlic and sweet red bell pepper.

Next came the broth, saffron and rice...

Looking good already!!


Finally, the Chorizo was added back in, along with the lobster tails, shrimp, white fish and mussels.  Peas were scattered across the top.  The rice formed a crusty bottom called a Socarrat - just perfect!


The dessert I had made earlier in the day, Crema Catalana, is similar to Creme Brulee', but not quite as firm.  I had bought a "chef's torch" to caramelize the sugar on top, but it didn't work.  So luckily, amongst much laughter, Mr. Comforts of Home brought in his torch from the workshop and it did a beautiful job!

After dinner, it cooled off enough that we were able to sit by the fire pit and enjoy an almost full moon.

This was the first time we tried cooking Paella outside on a grill.  Normally we cook it on our stove top.  Thank you David and Penny, for letting us experiment on you!

If you want the recipes for this meal, including the Gazpacho, Paella and Creme Catalana, click the "Recipe" tab under my header.

Welcome Home,
Penny 

36 comments:

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Perfect setting and how wonderful that you were able to be outside. Dinner looks amazing. Your tablescape is fabulous. Wish I had been there too. Hugs, Marty

Pondside said...

How lovely to see those smiling, familiar faces on your post. It's great to have a connection and to remember a visit with such an interesting and vibrant couple.
We love paella, but have never made it on the grill. I'm going to send this post to The Great Dane and ask him to make this his project for next week.

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

That looks so delicious, Penny! I guess sometimes you gotta let the "big boys" do the job! ; ) Your dessert looks just as delicious.

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

What a beautiful setting Penny and the food looked amazing!! Dinner with friends is the best! Martina

Donna said...

Penny, what a wonderful evening you must have had with your friends. Your pergola is the perfect place for dining out and your dinner looks delish! Love the sunflowers!

Jojo said...

A perfect summer evening and the dinner looks amazing!

Stacey said...

Penny, you make the best meals. It looks so wonderful under your pergola. :)

Michele Smith said...

Beautiful setting for any meal. I'd say it looks delicious but I don't eat any seafood LOL
I do love your cookbook stand. I have one very similar!

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Penny, what a fun evening. So glad you had good weather for it. Love your table setting.

Penny said...

Penny, You and Mr. C are the best and you can experiment on us anytime you want. I have to tell all of your followers that your dinner was the very best meal I have ever eaten. Not only are you a talented designer and house remodeler, you are a world class cook. It was a perfect evening. Thank you both!

Cindy said...

you've got one of the prettiest backyards ever. such a nice job you do on all your surroundings!

Martina said...

Penny, qué ilusión me ha hecho ver esos maravillosos platos de mi país!! Qué buen aspecto tenía cada plato!!
Y qué mesa tan preciosa!

Enhorabuena!!!
Thank you!!
Hugs from Spain,

Martina.

Maria said...

Paella and Crema Catalana are two of my favorite dishes. and yours look so wonderful! Looks like you all had a great time.

Maria @ Linen & Verbena

ReFresh ReStyle said...

OH, I love everything...the setting the food! You are good!
Thanks,
Debbie

Annie Joy said...

Everything looks delicious! I love your cookbook stand, also. It can serve a double purpose, also as an easel for "kitchen art" (those beautiful photos of food in the cookbooks; very easily changed out for the seasons)!

Melanie said...

Looks and sounds like a lovely dinner! Too funny that your husband used the torch from the garage to brown your dessert. :-)

Adrienne said...

What a delicious dinner under the pergola! I'm so glad you were able to eat outside. Finally!
~Adrienne~

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What a wonderful evening with friends! The food looks fabulous and I know the weather was perfect! It was COOL last night! Feels great, doesn't it? Enjoy your week! ♥

Tales From My Empty Nest said...

Penny, your pergola turned out so nice. I love the hanging lanterns. I know you all have really enjoyed it. Your backyard was so pretty before, but with that finished, is even more beautiful now! Glad you had a wonderful evening with Penny and her husband. The meal looked amazing and what fun to cook it on the grill. Hope you have had a nice summer. Love & blessings from NC!

Sherri said...

Penny, dinner in the pergola was just gorgeous!! It looks like everyone had a wonderful time. The paella look yummy!!

Amy @MaisonDecor said...

That looks like it was a great dinner and a nice setting! I bet you were thrilled to use your pergola and outdoor setup.

Kathleen Grace said...

Oh my gosh, this sounds heavenly! I would have never tried paella on the grill but why not? It looks like it works perfectly. It sounds like the perfect evening:>)

see you there! said...

Looks like a terrific dinner in a beautiful setting. Love your paella pan, I have my eye on one at our local Spanish kitchen store.

Darla

Pat said...

The pergola is such a beautiful setting Penny!! I know you are very happy you added it. The meal looks wonderful!

Vee said...

Your friends look perfectly content to be experimented upon in this way. What a wonderful evening you all enjoyed! A perfect summer's eve...

Look beyond the picket fence said...

What a beautiful setting and the dinner well, yum!
denise

bj said...

Your menu sounds and looks beautiful. So tasty, I'm sure.
Your table outside looks wonderful as well as your beautiful back yard and gardens.

Shannon said...

Penny, every time I visit your blog I get inspired. Thank you! (now I'm hungry, lol)
Shannon

The Cutest Cottage Lamps said...

Hi Penny, the dinner looks fabulous! I had to laugh about the torch! The same thing happened when my sister brought a creme brulee for dessert one night; she brought a store-bought torch and it didn't work either - my honey went to the garage and did the same thing your husband did! Aren't men resourseful!
xoxo
Marilyn

Janet said...

Oh yum, makes me want to go back to Barcelona!

Beverly said...

Penny, you've got me drooling over here. I love paella, but I have to omit the lobster if I want to be able to breathe. ;-)

Your evening looks like bliss.♥

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Penny, This menu sounds wonderful. Paella is one of my favorite dishes and yours looks delicious. Your table and garden are also beautiful.
xo,
Sherry

Ginger~~Enchanting Cottage said...

OH~~How beautiful! What a perfect outside dinner.
Ginger

debi said...

Okay, I'm really serious you need to do a coffee table book!!

Hugs!

Maryjane-The Beehive Cottage said...

Oh yum and what a beautiful evening! You sure know how to make your guest feel special!

Sarah said...

Penny, this all looks yummy! The pergola is perfect for alfresco dining. Glad it has cooled so you can enjoy it once again. We are still waiting. ;-)