Fall is my favorite season, hands down. And for good reason–I spent most of my early childhood through my teens in Brookline, a suburb of Boston. September meant apple picking. October often meant trick or treating wearing a heavy coat over our costume. November usually ushered in the first light dusting of snow. To me, autumn tastes like the snap of a Honeycrisp apple, my absolutely favorite variety. Fall, with its leaves a riot of flaming reds, yellows, and oranges, is the last exhale before the brutal, breath-snatching New England winter. It was–is–magical.
Although it’s December already and essentially winter in Brookline, southern Alabama doesn’t exactly mirror New England’s climate. Here, we have enjoyed a few snaps of chilly weather (we had to turn the heat on for a few days, yay!) but for the most part, it’s still been t-shirt weather. It was warm enough for us to sit outside and enjoy the company of Jubilee Supper Club, this time at the gorgeous bayside home of Scott and Elizabeth. It was a marriage of the best of this side of the world: Gulf Coast seafood and the spicy, deep, earthy, flavors we associate with this time of year. Scott and Elizabeth’s breathtaking home is on a bluff, so we were treated to a gorgeous Mobile Bay sunset as we sipped our beverages.
Scott mixed us up some beautiful and delicious cocktails, like this Earl Grey-Bourbon Punch one from Bon Appetit magazine. I absolutely love a tea cocktail, especially Earl Grey. The bergamot (what gives Earl Grey its distinct taste) is such a deep, unique, floral flavor that mingles perfectly with almost any spirit.
We began with my beet, endive, and goat cheese mousse appetizer. For another JSC years ago, I did a beet carpaccio salad with crumbled goat cheese and arugula, and I wanted to replicate those gorgeous colors and earthy flavors for this appetizer. It needed to be a quick, one handed amuse-bouche, so I decided to serve it on individual endive leaves. I also wanted to incorporate some of our own homegrown citrus, specifically satsumas and Meyer lemons. Two days before the supper club, I roasted the beets ahead of time in the oven, and peeled and diced them into tiny uniform cubes. I squeezed the juice of one lemon and one satsuma into the bowl of beets, added a few splashes each of vinegar and olive oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper. For the goat cheese, I whipped up sour cream and an entire large log of goat cheese with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Because we were going across the Bay for dinner, I couldn’t assemble these ahead of time. So I schlepped my beets in a tupperware, my chopped herbs in a lidded ice cube tray, my goat cheese mousse in a plastic bag, and my whole heads of endive. I wouldn’t recommend rolling up to an acquaintance’s home and taking over their kitchen while they’re cooking dinner for you, but it’s okay if it’s one of your ride-or-die friends.
On each leaf of endive went a healthy piped mound of goat cheese, topped with cubed, marinated beets, and a smattering of chopped basil and mint. It was fresh and zingy, creamy and earthy. (If you love beets, stay tuned for my all-beet dinner party menu sometime this winter.)
We continued with the absolutely stunning Oysters Kilpatrick, courtesy of Bria and Chris. Served with an apple cider mimosa (my new fall brunch favorite), it was a take on oysters I’ve never experienced before, to my delight. We all know bacon makes everything better, but the port provided a depth of unexpected flavor that elevated this oyster appetizer to new heights. Plus, how gorgeous are they?
After devouring our appetizers and topping off our cocktails, we went outside to begin our proper meal (no one ever said Jubilee Supper Club knows the meaning of moderation.) Our first course was Sarah’s Coconut Curry Acorn Squash and Carrot Soup. One of my favorite things about the Supper Clubbers is how they find ways to elevate the classic dishes. This is one example. Instead of a typical roasted squash soup, Sarah found a way to make a classic taste fresh while still retaining the fall-ness of the dish. She used Better Homes and Garden’s recipe for Coconut Acorn Squash and Carrot Soup but added 1-2 tablespoons of curry powder, to taste. A garnish of basil and roasted acorn squash seeds topped off a perfect bowl.
After we finished the lovely soup, we moved on to our salad, courtesy of Allison. I have never had the pleasure of eating a salad garnished with homemade candy, and boy did I realize what I’ve been missing. To be specific, I (and probably you) have missed out on the fabulousness that is an arugula salad with a Gorgonzola wedge, dressed in champagne vinaigrette and garnished with pumpkin seed (pepita) brittle. Yes, you read that right. It was truly awesome.
After our lovely salad, the piece de resistance, Elizabeth and Scott’s Crab-Stuffed Beef Tenderloin, was ready to carve. Forget filet and lobster, this was surf and turf to the max. Essentially, it was a crabcake stuffed inside a filet. Yes. Seriously. Elizabeth and Scott win major points for not only having the most amazing waterfront home but also some serious grilling chops. (Pun intended).
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed yet, but JSB is a big fan of all things cheese, especially goat cheese. Amy brought a Cauliflower-Goat Cheese Gratin, which was a crowd favorite. I was actually shocked at the amount of love everyone has for broccoli’s chlorophyll-less cousin. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy it–in fact, one of my favorite vegetable dishes of all time is Domenica’s roasted whole head of cauliflower with whipped feta. But I don’t hear a lot of love for cauliflower, and I was pleased to hear that at least three of us count it as a favorite. Cheesy, tender, and crunchy, Bobby Flay’s Cauliflower-Goat Cheese Gratin slayed.
Druhan brought one of my favorite fall dishes, a roasted vegetable medley. Brussels sprouts, or “baby cabbages” as I like to call them, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and red onion, roasted in a 400 degree oven, drizzled with balsamic vinegar glaze. No fall dinner would be complete without this dish, and Druhan and Pat did not disappoint.
Elizabeth, who at the time was 9 months pregnant and feeling it, wasn’t able to join us, but she sent this sumptuous Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake via her husband, John. She swapped out the traditional crust for this one made of pecans. I loved the addition of the nut crust, and the cheesecake was loved by all. In fact, we all dug in before I could snap a photo. Oops! No getting in between JSB and dessert, that’s for sure.
Bottom line: Another stunning meal in the books for Jubilee Supper Club. I can’t wait until January’s meeting. Hint: Fans of Mad Men will be drooling. Be sure to follow our hashtag on Instagram to see what Jubilee Supper Club’s eating, and tag your own supper club photos with #jubileesupperclub!