V-day menu: What do you think?

Discussion in 'Food and nutrition' started by Erica, Feb 16, 2004.

  1. Erica

    Erica Guest

    "Mia" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > I think that I wish I was your boyfriend -- you're wonderful to do all this and the menu sounds
    > different and very fresh. It seems like you can do the prep for many of the recipes ahead of time.
    > I especially like the simplicity and elegance of the fennel, orange, red onion salad -- a citrusy
    > vinaigrette and some chopped walnuts over the top would be excellent with that. Just curious --
    > how did you come up with this menu? I can't wait to steal some of your ideas. :)
    >
    > Good luck with the dinner! Mia

    Thanks! Here is how I came up with the menu:

    First, I wanted to have a traditional 7-course meal (even those I cut it down to 6 courses). Dishes
    had to comply with the following criteria -At least half of the dinner can be made ahead -Can
    prepare in portions for two (i.e. a whole roast duckling or leg of lamb is out) -Relatively
    inexpensive (asparagus OK, truffles not) -Utilize passive, rather than active cooking in order to
    maximize productivity (i.e. breaded cutlets is active cooking, a roast is passive). A must due to
    the number of courses. -Each dish has few ingredients. Since I'm making lots of courses, I had to
    use few ingredients to stay under budget. So no ten-herb ragout or anything.

    This is what my thought process was with the menu:

    I started out with the cold appetizer. He loves salmon but finds smoked salmon too overpowering. I
    asked if he likes gravlax, and he confessed that he's never even heard of it. So, I thought that
    it'd be nice to introduce it to him. I don't want finger food, as that seems more appropriate for a
    cocktail hour. So, rosettes of gravlax on cucumber rounds or slices of pumpernickel were out. I love
    cured salmon with tangy dairy (sour cream or cream cheese), and I think that the dill in the gravlax
    would be delicious with cucumbers, so I decided on a Hungarian cucumber salad. The sugar, salt, and
    vinegar in the salad meld with the similar flavors of the cured fish, and the cukes, onions, and
    sour cream will add a nice accent.

    Carrot soup is cheap, has few ingredients, is easy to prepare, and keeps in the fridge for days.

    The asparagus with proscuitto and fontina is a nice way of utilizing expensive ingredients without
    spending too much money. I can buy proscuitto by the slice and small quantities of cheese at my
    local supermarket, so I can use these decadent ingredients without breaking the bank, especially
    since no other ingredients are necessary. It also takes about ten minutes to make, start to finish.

    For the pasta, I didn't want a tomato-based sauce. Primavera has too many ingredients and is
    too complicated, he doesn't like anchovies, and shellfish is too expensive. A chunky sauce made
    with 1 or 2 artichokes, lemon, white wine, and herbs is elegant, simple, and can be prepared
    the day before.

    Sorbet is a given.

    The main dish had to be "passive" cooking. No cutlets, scallopine, rare beef, etc. I wanted
    something that I could cook all day long and serve straight from the oven. Osso Bucco was a thought,
    but I wanted something more French inspired. I decided on lamb shanks (a cheap cut that turns into
    something ambrosial after a long, moist, slow cooking) braised in veal stock and red wine with
    mirepoix and Herbes de Provence.

    The salads are standbys of mine.

    Flourless chocolate cake is based on ground almonds, brandy, espresso, and stiffly beaten egg
    whites, among other things. I make it every year for Passover and it is always a hit. It is served
    cold (so I can make ahead and refrigerate overnight), and I put a paper doily over the top, sift
    confectioners sugar over it, and carefully remove the doily for an elegant presentation.

    Love the chopped walnuts idea! Let me know if you want me to post any of the recipes.

    --Erica
     


  2. Blake Murphy

    Blake Murphy Guest

    On Thu, 12 Feb 2004 19:53:06 GMT, "Erica" <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >Hahaha...that is my spam address.
    >
    >--Erica
    >
    gosh. what would a technodyke do with spam?

    your curious pal, blake
    >"Dan Abel" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >> In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (Erica) wrote:
    >>
    >> > For Valentines day, I'm thinking about preparing a decadent seven-course meal as my present to
    >> > my boyfriend. This is just a tentative menu, but I was hoping for some feedback. Here goes:
    >>
    >> [snipped a bunch of ideas that make my tummy rumble with pleasure]
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> > Whaddaya think?
    >>
    >>
    >> Sounds wonderful. I just have one question: it doesn't seem like your domain (technodyke) is a
    >> place for women with boyfriends?
    >>
    >> If I'm being too personal, just tell me to go away and I will.
    >>
    >> --
    >> Dan Abel Sonoma State University AIS [email protected]
     
  3. Erica wrote:

    > Love the chopped walnuts idea! Let me know if you want me to post any of the recipes.
    >

    Don't shoot me for this request, but I want the recipe for the canteloupe sorbet. Yes, I was the one
    who suggested it, but that doesn't mean I know how to make it. I've tasted it on rare occasion and
    adore the flavor. I'd love to make it at home.

    --Lia
     
  4. Erica

    Erica Guest

    Not a problem! I am going to use the Cook's Illustrated master recipe for fruit sorbet. I'm going to
    seek out very ripe, if not overripe, canteloupe, as to avoid having it taste like cardboard. Also, I
    am going to try to seek out a tiny bottle of Midori to use in lieu of the vodka. If not, I'll just
    use grain alcohol, as I think it is even more undetectable than vodka. I'm using the full 2 T of
    lemon juice.

    To all RFCers: I HIGHLY recommend getting a membership to http://www.cooksillustrated.com . You'll
    thank yourself over and over.

    --

    Creamy Fruit Sorbets
    Forget about gelatin, egg whites, or corn syrup. The key to smooth, silky
    sorbets is plenty of sugar and a bit of alcohol.

    Challenge: Our goal was simple. Restaurant sorbets are invariably creamy and
    silky. They literally melt in your mouth, almost like ice cream. We found
    homemade sorbets tasted fine flavor-wise but tended to be overly icy. We
    wanted to figure out why.

    Solution: After much trial and error, we found that a high sugar
    concentration, simple as it is, turned out to be the solution to creamy
    sorbets. Sugar controls the texture (see "How to Retard Freezing"). By using
    one-half cup of sugar per cup of fruit (give or take a few tablespoons
    depending on the fruit), we were able to achieve the desired result: smooth,
    creamy texture without cloying sweetness. We also found adding a tablespoon
    of high-proof alcohol improves the texture of the sorbets and permits a
    slight reduction in the amount of sugar. Tasteless vodka is our first
    choice.

    MASTER TECHNIQUE FOR FRUIT SORBETS

    Serves 4

    This recipe can be used to make any fruit sorbet. See the chart (download
    from link below) for directions on preparing the fruit puree or juice. Since
    vodka is tasteless, it can be used with any fruit, but other suggestions
    appear above. For fruits not listed, follow directions for a similar fruit.
    For example, follow the lemon recipe to make lime sorbet.

    2 cups fruit puree or juice
    3/4-1 1/4 cups sugar (see chart for exact amount)
    0-2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 tablespoon vodka or other alcohol

    1. Prepare fruit puree or juice as directed in chart.

    2. Combine fruit puree or juice, sugar, lemon juice, and alcohol in large
    bowl. Stir on and off for several minutes until sugar has dissolved. (To
    speed chilling process in step 3, combine ingredients in a metal bowl set
    over a larger bowl filled with ice water.) Rub finger along bottom of bowl
    to see if sugar has dissolved.

    3. Pour mixture into small container. Seal and refrigerate until mixture is
    no more than 40 degrees. (If mixture has been stirred over a bowl of ice
    water, it may already be cold enough, and this step may be omitted.)

    4. Pour chilled mixture into container of an ice cream machine and churn
    until frozen.

    5. Scoop frozen sorbet into a container. Seal and transfer container to
    freezer for several hours to allow sorbet to firm up. (Sorbet can be kept
    frozen for up to 3 days.)

    "Julia Altshuler" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]_s51...
    > Erica wrote:
    >
    > > Love the chopped walnuts idea! Let me know if you want me to post any
    > > of the recipes.
    > >
    >
    >
    >
    > Don't shoot me for this request, but I want the recipe for the
    > canteloupe sorbet. Yes, I was the one who suggested it, but that
    > doesn't mean I know how to make it. I've tasted it on rare occasion and
    > adore the flavor. I'd love to make it at home.
    >
    >
    > --Lia
     
  5. Erica wrote:
    > Not a problem! I am going to use the Cook's Illustrated master recipe for fruit sorbet. I'm going
    > to seek out very ripe, if not overripe, canteloupe, as to avoid having it taste like cardboard.

    Then the success of the recipe depends on finding good canteloupe. As far as I'm concerned, perfect,
    ripe, sweet, flavorful canteloupes and pears are hard to find even in August and October when
    they're in season respectively. When I do find them, they're heaven on earth. Mostly I'm
    disappointed. I know all the tricks about poking and smelling, but I still buy too many unsweet
    cardboard fruits or generically sweet fruits without that perfect canteloupe flavor. Sometimes I'll
    find a good one at the supermarket or farm stand, but when I go back for more a few days later, the
    rest don't have that elusive flavor. I've tried shopping for overripe, but then the texture is
    mushy, and the flavor is still missing.

    I've had canteloupe sorbet only a few times and thought I'd found a source for that perfect flavor.
    Once it was at a sidewalk stand that later went out of business. Once it was in a carton from a
    specialty shop. That one was a little too sweet but still good.

    I have the recipe printed out (and THANK-YOU-- where are my manners?), but I'm still not sure about
    the all important canteloupe.

    Where will you find good canteloupes in February?

    --Lia
     
  6. Erica

    Erica Guest

    "Julia Altshuler" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]_s52...
    >I've tried shopping for overripe, but then the texture is mushy, and the flavor is >still missing.

    I figure that since I'm pureeing it anyway, I don't have to worry too much about texture. I guess
    that there's a difference, though, between overripe and rotted. Like, I know that if an avocado is
    picked too early it'll rot rather than ripen

    > Where will you find good canteloupes in February?
    Oh honey, I live in south FL! It's strawberry season here!

    --Erica
     
  7. Erica wrote:

    >>Where will you find good canteloupes in February?
    >
    > Oh honey, I live in south FL! It's strawberry season here!

    Figures. You never know what you've got 'til it's gone. I'm native to Coconut Grove and lived there
    much of my adult life. We moved to New England 6 years ago. I love everything about my new home
    EXCEPT the weather and trying to stay interested in food in February. I go to the supermarket, and
    everything looks so tasteless, even what's imported from way down south.

    --Lia
     
  8. Hahabogus

    Hahabogus Guest

    Julia Altshuler <[email protected]> wrote in
    news:[email protected]_s04:

    > You never know what you've got 'til it's gone.

    They paved Paradise and put up a parking lot.

    --
    Once during Prohibition I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water.
    --------
    FIELDS, W. C.
     
  9. hahabogus wrote:
    > Julia Altshuler <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]_s04:
    >
    >
    >>You never know what you've got 'til it's gone.
    >
    >
    > They paved Paradise and put up a parking lot.
    >

    So if I dug down under this New England concrete, I'd find palm trees? --Lia
     
  10. Hahabogus

    Hahabogus Guest

    Julia Altshuler <[email protected]> wrote in
    news:[email protected]_s01:

    > hahabogus wrote:
    >> Julia Altshuler <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]_s04:
    >>
    >>
    >>>You never know what you've got 'til it's gone.
    >>
    >>
    >> They paved Paradise and put up a parking lot.
    >>
    >
    >
    > So if I dug down under this New England concrete, I'd find palm trees? --Lia
    >
    >

    Yes...these days called their more modern name... coal.

    --
    Once during Prohibition I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water.
    --------
    FIELDS, W. C.
     
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