1 My Brown Room dining table was set for 12-guests. The white domed dishes are Moroccan tagines. A tagine is a type of dish named after this special pot in which it is cooked. It has a low-sided bottom and a conical cover.
2 Inside the Flower Room kitchen, my friend, Chef Pierre Schaedelin from PS Tailored Events, was busy preparing our delicious meal. http://pstailoredevents.com
3 Chef Pierre prepared the vegetables. He says, "mise en place" is extremely important when cooking any special meal. This is a French phrase meaning "putting in place", as in set-up. It is used in professional kitchens when referring to organizing and arranging all the ingredients for the menu.
4 The eggs we used were all from my wonderful chickens.
5 We used all kinds of citrus fruits for the dessert - I grew all of these in my citrus greenhouse here at the farm.
6 All the scraps are saved in a large bin for my chickens.
7 The first course was bisteeya, a traditional Moroccan dish that's most like an elaborate meat pie combining sweet and savory flavors, and using a phyllo dough encasement. Chicken was simmered in broth with onions, garlic, lemon juice, herbs, cumin, and saffron until it was falling off the bone.
8 Chef Pierre removed all the chicken from the bone and placed the meat into a large bowl.
9 We used about 30-eggs for our bisteeya.
10 Eggs were scrambled in butter with lemon juice, salt, and pepper until fairly stiff, and then strained through cheesecloth to remove the excess liquid.
11 For a unique flavor, I asked Pierre to add a bit of preserved lemon to the eggs - very Moroccan!
12 Bisteeya also calls for almonds tossed with confectioner's sugar and a bit of ground cinnamon.
13 To construct the bisteeya, Chef Pierre carefully placed that first buttered sheet in a buttered round pan, draping the excess over the edges.
14 Brushing each sheet of phyllo with butter is important so that it bakes golden, crisp, and flaky.
15 He layered another buttered sheet of phyllo to completely cover the bottom of the pan.
16 Next, a layer of the scrambled egg mixture is placed into the pan.
18 Then, he repeated the process, layering more meat, nuts, and eggs.
19 This bisteeya is heaping with the delicious egg mixture, chicken and almonds. Plenty of fresh chopped herbs from the garden were also added.
20 Then, Chef Pierre folded the excess phyllo up and over the filling before completely covering the bisteeya with more phyllo dough.
21 The bisteeyas are baked at 425-degrees Fahrenheit until the tops become golden brown. The smaller bisteeya is our Kosher version using oil instead of butter.
22 Look at the vibrant colors of all the fresh vegetables. They were served with the Couscous Royale.
23 After cooking the vegetables, Pierre strained off the rich broth.
24 Here are the meats that were used for the couscous dish - lamb, sausage and chicken.
25 This was our bowl of Kosher meats.
26 Chef Pierre's sous chef for the day was Ulysses - he seared the meats in the Flower Room kitchen, before they were finished in the oven in my Winter House.
27 The lamb was seared to perfection. Sprigs of rosemary added a wonderful touch.
28 Meanwhile, inside my home, finishing touches were done on my Brown Room dining table. I love how the bowls of citrus pop with the bold orange color.
29 My housekeeper, Laura, always creates the most beautiful and inviting table settings. For this table, she combined whites and light tans to make a simple, yet elegant table.
30 Beautiful citrus fruits were prepared for dessert.
31 Our dessert was citrus salad and homemade citrus sorbets.
32 Chef Pierre also made palmier cookies - French pastries also known as elephant's ears.
34 The Couscous Royale was plated with vegetables, and a piece each of lamb, chicken and then sausage, and placed into the base section of the tagines. The top was put on as well. They create a unique and hot cooking environment for the food. As the food cooks, steam rises through the cone at the top of the tagine.
35 Chef Pierre lined each dessert dish with colorful fresh citrus segments.
36 And then placed a scoop each of blood orange and grapefruit sorbet and garnished with palmiers and mint.
37 As evening fell, our wait staff from Parella Events, set-down menus by each place setting.
38 Here is Kevin Sharkey's place at the table.
39 Flowers in my servery included this gorgeous vase of cut Cymbidium orchids - look at the vibrant pinks and yellows next to the charming ceramic Frenchies.
40 I decorated the green parlor with Myrtus communis 'Compacta', dwarf myrtle native to the Mediterranean region of southern Europe.
41 On the small dining room table in my canary room, I have two potted Cupressus macrocarpa 'Wilma Goldcrest' plants, or Lemon cypress and a Euphorbia platyclada, a fleshy succulent plant with flattened stems rising from a heavy rootstock, and branches that have an irregular, scab like texture.
42 This is wild ginger, Asarum maximum, 'Panda Face Ginger', an interesting foliage plant best known for its unique two-inch velvety black and white blooms.
43 Paphiopedilum orchids are often called 'slipper orchids' because of their unique pouch-like flowers. These specimens are easily grown as houseplants, and look wonderful with their striking green leaves.
44 Sansevieria cylindrica or the cylindrical snake plant is a succulent native to Angola. It has striped, round leaves that are smooth and green to gray in color.
45 A pencil cactus plant, Euphorbia. These plants are easy to maintain and love sunny warm spots indoors.
46 This lemon cypress is among my favorite container plants with its bright green to chartreuse colored foliage, conical habit and lemon scent.
47 Heather Kirkland and Chef Pierre work hard to ensure these special dinners are always perfect.
48 The finished Bisteeya - it was everyone's favorite dish.
49 The Couscous Royale was plated at my kitchen counter, ready to be served.
50 It was a big hit at dinner.
51 And, so was dessert.
52 Everyone enjoyed the dinner and conversation.
53 We all had a wonderful time.