The buds on our rose bushes are just starting to bloom, our peonies are unfurling their feathery petals and the farmers market is brimming with pink and purple radishes. To celebrate this rosy spring, with all of its lush dampness, we had a couple of friends over for a little dinner party last night.
From the mock Depression Era pink wine glasses filled with French rosé to the King salmon on our vintage, pink-rimmed plates to the rhubarb compote at the bottom of our panna cottas, the evening was most definitely pretty in pink.
I whipped up this Rhubarb Rose cocktail with some fresh rhubarb syrup I strained off of a couple of pounds of sweetened, cooked-down rhubarb the day before. I added a base of Monopolowa vodka, a glug of Becherovka (a bitter Czech liquor) and a dash of sweet vermouth. Garnished with a delicate rose petal, this tart, lightly bitter cocktail was definitely a crowd-pleaser.
For the appetizer, I stuck with one of my spring staples: Radishes with Anchovy, Chive and Tarragon Butter. When you've got such lovely spring radishes from the farmers market (these are from Peaceful Belly Farm), you don't need much to make them sing.
For the main course, Alex cooked a couple of sustainably farmed New Zealand King Salmon fillets I scored from Grocery Outlet. Their frozen fish selection can be hit-or-miss, but this was definitely a hit. Alex served it with a superb bright green pesto made with fresh parsley from his dad's garden and lots of fresh tarragon and chives from ours.
For the sides, Alex cooked up a handful of plump morel mushrooms that his dad foraged from the mountains, some asparagus I picked up at the Boise Farmers Market and a few yellow potatoes whipped with butter and sprinkled with chive flowers.
Dessert was a Greek yogurt panna cotta with fresh rhubarb compote that I loosely based on this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. The sweetened, cooked-down rhubarb was left over from the bright pink syrup I made for the evening's cocktail. Topped with a small puddle of honey and some crushed pistachios, this simple dessert was not too heavy and had lots of great textures that played well off each other. What a wonderful way to end a meal!