Chef Marcia Willsie works with each host to craft a unique menu that serves the party’s tastes and skill levels. Below you’ll see some sample menus from past parties. You’re more than welcome to select one of these pre-crafted menus or to work with Marcia to design something unique just for your party!

This Month’s Featured Menu:

Beef Bourguignon

This is one of those beautiful old classics that can take a lot of time, but not necessarily a lot of work. If you really want to do it right however, it will become a lifestyle. Learning the art of the slow braise and the making of a beautiful bone stock has uses with every type of meat. This technique makes even the cheapest cut of meat a masterpiece. Spaetzle or potatoes and greens, with a seasonal salad and tangy lemon bars or sorbet completes the menu.

SAMPLE MENUS

You can select one of the menus below, or work with Marcia to design something just for your gathering. All menus include an appetizer (made before you arrive), a soup/salad course, main course, and dessert. There will be adjustments to the menu based on seasonal availability of some items, the size of the party, and your tastes. Rather than holding strictly to traditional recipes in my international and historical menus, I do my best to play with the elements and create the best tasting dishes possible, that will be fun to cook together.

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NORTHWEST

A celebration of Northwest native fished, grown, and foraged flavors–a mixture of ocean fresh, herbal, and earthy. Seasonal salad followed by Cedar-Plank Salmon, Wild Rice and Wild Mushrooms, Skillet Cornbread, and plum upside-down cake.
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PHEASANT

This menu highlights some foods you often don’t see from a home cook…Griggstown pheasant breasts with a beurre blanc pan sauce made from Chartreuse, beer braised Belgian endives, pumpkin ice cream and tuiles. Plus, you’ll learn to confit the legs and take them home. ($10 extra per person)
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BOUILLABAISSE

This is a different (and somewhat more complicated) version of the rustic seafood favorite. Don’t be fooled by all the steps, they are all easy, and great fun to do with a group of friends who each take a part. The result is sensational. At home, you can do many of the steps a day or two earlier, making the final production a breeze. I love to teach these fantastic multi-step recipes in class. On your own, you tend to overlook them; but once you actually try them, you will definitely do them again.
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MOROCCAN SKATE

This Moroccan-inspired meal is as good for the body as it is for the soul, and beautiful to boot! Skate looks so stunning on the plate, it’s easy to cook, and moderately priced, yet few people think of cooking it. Such an undiscovered treasure! Orange salad , Skate with preserved lemon, couscous done in a couscousier, vegetables and fava beans in a tagine, ending with exoticoil ice cream and pine nut shortbread.
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MAYAN-PERUVIAN

With a bent for the exotic, and a love of picante, this menu explores the many glorious uses for chilies. You will learn that their varied and vibrant personalities don’t have to overwhelm! From the crunchy poblano nixtamal fritters to smoky chipotle oyster mushroom nage, onto the herby banana leaf wrapped achiote chicken to the fruity guajillos tempered by chocolate cinnamon ice cream, you will leave with cuddly warm feelings for picante.
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BEEF TENDERLOIN + CAPER BERRY CREAM

This menu includes all my husband’s favorites… it honors the deep, rich, creamy flavors you crave in the dark of winter with a savory Caesar salad–’the real thing’ homemade croutons, peppered and seared rib eye with a sauce of mustard and caper berry cream, then finishing with a tangy lemon tart tempered with the sweet-essence-of-rose meringue.
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COFFEE-RUBBED BEEF TENDERLOIN

This menu is inspired by deep and earthy south-of-the-border flavors, but isn’t shy to depart the text. Beef tenderloin rubbed with the rich molé flavors of coffee, cocoa and spice, grilled to a smoky perfection, served with a creamy Pasilla chili sauce on a bed of crispy grits and greens, and finished with light and brightly flavored individual pineapple upside-down cakes.
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SALT-CRUSTED FISH

Easy to do, but a bit of a challenge to serve with aplomb. That’s why I love to do this menu because it is so easy, but it’s better ‘to be shown’ the first time. Once you have the technique down, you can experiment with all kinds of fish (branzino is my favorite), and sauces. I love to finish this menu with a luscious creamy chocolate molten chocolate cake with rose-petal gelato.
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PORK CHOPS AU POIVRE

Here is a new twist on an old classic. Switch out the beef in the steak au poivre, and you’ve got the most scrumptious pork chops imaginable. And if you are lucky enough to get the pork from whey-fed pigs like we do from Cherry Grove Farm, you will be doubly pleased with this late Fall and Winter pork menu all full of hearty comfort foods we crave in the cold weather. Zesty Carrot Soup, Pork Chops Au Poivre, Sweet-Sour Red Cabbage, Greens and Grits, and Apple Crisp.
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THE WHOLE DUCK

This is how to use the whole duck in unforgettable ways. My two favorite recipes wrapped up into one, Herb-Roasted Muscovy Duck with Orange Balsamic Demi-Glace and the time honored Duck Confit, which is best thing to do with those legs that are left over. The rest of the menu is kept simple and light so you can focus on the bird. You will be taking home the confit that we made in class. ($10 per person extra due to cost of ingredients)
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CRISPY CHICKEN

This menu always gets me primed for Thanksgiving with all the cranberries, poultry, maple, and pumpkin elements–all without stealing the thunder of a real Thanksgiving. The salad is always seasonal, but my favorite is the Warm Goat Cheese Crostini Salad with Roasted Hazelnuts. The chicken is ‘spatch-cocked’ and oven-crisped … a very useful technique to learn, and served with a gorgeous sweet-sour maple sauce with a crunchy leek, almond and cranberry topping.
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COLONIAL

(nice and wintery… and goes with the house!) This departs from the typical four-course format to the traditional colonial ‘first plate’, ‘second plate’, and so on. This menu includes some of the foods discovered in the New World, as well as elements brought from the European and African immigrants. We’ll start with New England Clam Chowder, Celery Root Salad with Sunchoke Chips and Honey-Glazed Ham, and Turkey Pot Pie.
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INDIAN

A classic Indian feast. Samosas (vegetable) with tamarind chutney, cilantro chutney, Raita, Chappatis, Gram Daal, Tandoori Chicken, Pullau, Spinach Curry, Coconut Ice Cream, Hot Fudge Pie.