Polo in the Park

I love a good party, don't you? But can we agree that catered food is generally pretty mediocre at best? I can't recall a time I attended a special event and actually asked the chef for a recipe so I could recreate it at home.

Until last Sunday. It happened.

This was an event I helped facilitate, which will explain where I have been over the last month. In just 45 days, we pulled off a major event, Polo in the Park, to raise money for the country's longest standing polo club, San Antonio Polo Club (established in 1920), of which David is a member. David and I had the pleasure of working with another volunteer on this planning committee who just happened to be an event planner and it was a friendship from the start.

We dreamed big and made it come together. On Mother's Day, we welcomed more than 400 people to one of the first polo games held in a San Antonio park since who-knows-when. (In the late 1800's and early 1900's, polo was a big thing in San Antonio and was always held at a park.)

The event's title sponsors were Ferrari of San Antonio and The Palm. Attendees enjoyed looking at the Ferraris parked at the entrance.
There were spectators, many who sported fabulous hats and generations of women were celebrating the day with their families. 
There were magnificent horses, a silent auction (you will see me in the picture below as I was closing out the silent auction), a display of our children's program and a beginner's game. And then there was a four chukker polo game played by polo players from across the state.
Copious amounts of Chloe wine, Alamo Beer, champagne and mimosas flowed and the food, well, the food, I am proud to say, was great. 
The Mother's Day lunch was prepared by Tyler Horstmann of Tejas Steakhouse, which just happens to be the next door neighbor to the polo club. This young and enthusiastic chef has chops. Everything he made was great, but his Dijon green beans were--for me--the stand-out. (Can you see them in the photo above?)

Crisp yet tender, these perfectly blanched green beans were tossed with a dijon vinaigrette that added color, texture and a nutritious punch to the buffet. Fortuitously, the season's first harvest of green beans made it to the market on Sunday and I grabbed a half bag. 

Over the last few days, as I have reflected on the day's event, the green beans kept appearing in my thoughts and I wished I had more. While I have requested the recipe from Chef Tyler (and he did promise to share it with me), in the meantime, I found this recipe by Ina Garten that is spot on.

I hope your Mother's Day was equally as stupendous and I look forward to getting back into the kitchen now that this event is a wrap.

Buen provecho!
Dijon Green Beans
The Cowgirl Gourmet slightly adapted this Ina Garten recipe


Crisp and tender young green beans are the key to this side dish. If you can get them from your farmers market, even better! Serve this tangy and crisp salad with BBQ, grilled meats or with a vegetarian meal. For even more fun, encourage people to eat the green beans with their fingers.

Serves 4

1 pound green beans, washed
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good olive oil

Trim the green beans.
Fill a large bowl with ice and water. This is where the green beans will go once they are blanched.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt. When the water is boiling, add the beans and cook for 1 minute exactly. Time this carefully as you want the beans to be crisp and tender. 

Drain the beans into a colander and then plunge the green beans into the ice bath. Leave them there until they are completely cool.
Drain the beans again and shake the water off. Place them on a kitchen towel and then dry them with a few paper towels. Put them in the bowl you used to cool them off.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard and vinegar and then add the minced shallot, along with the 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Blend and then slowly begin to drizzle in the olive oil until it emulsifies.
Add enough vinaigrette with the green beans and toss well to combine. Reserve any leftover vinaigrette for another use. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
If this dish will not be served immediately, place it in the refrigerator to chill. When ready to serve, taste, toss and you may need to add a bit more vinaigrette and salt.

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