Luxury Leftovers

11 10 2010

Apéritif

Chicken Liver and Sage Crostini

Savory Pumpkin Tartlets

Royal Marquissac Saumur Brut

Soupe

Velouté de Cèpes

Mustard Twists and Rosemary Crème Fraîche

Domaine Prieur-Brunet Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot 2007

Plat

Pork Roast with Prunes and Hidden Bacon

Smoky Herbed Bread Pudding

Tangy Braised Swiss Chard with Pine Nuts

Spiced Persimmon Sauce

Vaucher Père & Fils Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits 2008

Fromage

Bleu des Causses with Fresh Figs

Château Les Rochers Sauternes Voigny 2008

Dessert

Vanilla-Gewurtztraminer Poached Pears

Caramel-Praliné Ice Cream

Warm Chocolate Sauce and Praliné Crumbles

Eau de Vie Poire Williams

 

I adore planning menus.  I had a lot of fun with this one, and was almost relieved when I didn’t advance in Project Food Blog, because it meant that I could really enjoy the meal I had created.  Of course, I had planned to do lots of it ahead of time, but in the end it all got done the day of the party, except for the pears and ice cream, which I had the foresight to make earlier in the week.  Believe it or not, I didn’t even know what the meat was going to be until I went out to the butcher on Saturday and scoped out what he had that would go with the sides I had planned.  (I’m also the sort of person who starts her outfit with the accessories I want to wear.)

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Thanksgiving Menu Plan

19 11 2009

I was in a bit of a funk earlier this week.  I wasn’t even excited about Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday.  But last night, Nick suggested we get our menu plan written down, and all of a sudden the excitement showed up.

The Menu:

Roast turkey
Turkey gravy (Remember the velouté? That’s pretty much it, with pan drippings added at the end.)
Wild mushroom bread pudding (Original recipe from this book, but now I wing it.)
Kick-Ass Cranberry Sauce (recipe below)
Sour cream and green onion mashed potatoes
Brussels sprouts with caramelized onions
Potimarron pie with (time willing) pine nut-sage brittle

Pop!

So enthused was I that I took a long detour on the way home from work today to pick up a bag of overpriced cranberries.  Last year I was unable to find fresh cranberries, and made do with a jar of Ocean Spray, but I missed the homemade stuff.  My recipe, for cranberry-orange-ginger sauce, has been a hit since its inception five years ago, and since I get to have it this year, I figure you should, too, if you want.

Just right

This year I was low on granulated sugar, so I used cassonade, aka raw sugar.  I think it’s made the sauce especially delicious, but I know from experience that it is just fine made with white sugar.  I also saw the bottle of Cointreau looking lonely on the shelf, and thought it might want to join in the fun.  I think some people like having whole cranberries in their homemade sauce, but I can’t help popping them.  Cranberry sauce is like the culinary equivalent of bubble wrap.  Once those little red jewels heat up, all it takes is a bit of pressure from the wooden spoon, and pop!  It is so intensely satisfying, and I can’t stop myself.  Before I know it, all the lovely berries are gone, and I’m left with a gorgeous, garnet-red, jammy sauce.  Still tastes good, though.

Jewel-toned and super tasty!

Before I get to the cranberry recipe, I’d like to give you a few more ideas for your Thanksgiving spread this year.  I think any of these would be welcome additions to the holiday table.

Balsamic roasted beets with bacon and chestnuts
Potimarron-fingerling gratin with cider-braised leeks
Roast parsnips and apples
Cumin-maple sweet potatoes with spiced pecans
Date crumble bars
Brown butter ice cream (try it with apple pie!)

And now, the cranberry sauce…

Kick-Ass Cranberry Sauce

The first year I hosted my own Thanksgiving dinner, I had a grand total of three people at the table.  That didn’t stop me from going all out.  (Needless to say, we had leftovers for days.)  I wanted to give the cranberry sauce a bit of a kick, and I thought orange and ginger would do the job nicely.  They did – to quote my friend who shall remain nameless “Wow, Camille, you kicked my mom’s ass!” – and I’ve never since gone back to plain cranberry sauce.

1 bag (340 g) fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
1 cup / 250ml water
1 cup / 200g granulated sugar or cassonade (raw or turbinado sugar)
A pinch of salt
Juice and zest of 1 orange
2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
A splash of Cointreau (optional)

  1. Bring the water and sugar to a boil. You don’t have to do this first, but I like to hear the cranberries pop when they hit the pan.
  2. Add the cranberries, orange juice and zest, salt, ginger, and Cointreau (if using).  Return to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer until thickened and a deep garnet color, about 25 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a serving vessel and cool.  Chill, covered in plastic wrap, until needed.  (The sauce will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge.)

Makes about a pint – more than enough to accompany a turkey dinner for eight.

Originally published on Croque-Camille.





For The Father Who Has Everything

20 06 2009

I was lucky enough to spend some time with my Dad this week.  I’ll admit that Father’s Day didn’t really enter into it when we were making our vacation plans, but it worked out that both Nick and I get to see our fathers this June.  Father’s Day gifts can be difficult – you know your Dad probably doesn’t need any more stuff, but you want to commemorate the day and a card somehow doesn’t seem like enough.  But what do you get for the Dad Who Has Everything?

Piping and poaching Parisian Gnocchi

A huge mess in his kitchen.  I mean dinner.  A heartfelt, home-cooked meal is a surefire winner.  Everyone needs to eat, right?  So this year, that’s exactly what we’re doing.  For my Dad, whose honorary Father’s Day was on Wednesday, I drew up a menu consisting of Parisian gnocchi (pictured above – can you guess what I’m doing?), grilled salmon and zucchini (harvested from my parents’ garden), and lemon profiteroles for dessert.  I printed up some cute little menus on plain card stock and put my Mom in charge of setting the table on the back patio.  The meal was a hit and my Dad was surprised and impressed.

Gnocchi Parisienne

This was my first ever attempt at making Parisian gnocchi, but it won’t be my last.  These things are basically poached savory choux pastry (the very same dough used for the cheesy poofs, in fact, only seasoned with black pepper instead of mustard and chili powder) and they are so delightfully light and easy compared to their potato-based Italian counterparts.  Instead of piping out bite-size puffs, I pinched bits of the dough into simmering water and cooked them until they floated.  I spooned them out onto a sheet pan lined with a clean dishtowel until I was ready to finish cooking.  Inspired by a recipe from Ratioby Michael Ruhlman, I sauteed the poached gnocchi in bacon fat and tossed them with bacon, peas, and grilled corn.

Parisian Gnocchi with Bacon, Peas, and Grilled Corn

Next time, I will be sure to do this in a nonstick pan, as the gnocchi stuck to the stainless steel one I was using.  No problem, I just added a little more bacon fat and turned the heat up, but I wouldn’t want to be the one cleaning that pan later.  I made the same amount of choux pastry as I made for cheesy poofs, combined with four or five strips of bacon (chopped) two ears of corn and about 2/3 of a cup of peas, and it served five of us as a substantial appetizer (it could definitely feed two as a main course).  A note on the flour: if you can’t find pastry flour, a mixture of half cake flour and half unbleached all-purpose flour is an indistinguishable substitute.

On to the main course…

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