I hope that all of you had a lovely long weekend.
I imagine that lots of you spent your time relaxing. Maybe you squeezed in the last summer swim. Perhaps you went to the Grand Prix in Baltimore. Or maybe you woke up early to go fishing, only to find out that you couldn’t get your boat off the lift because of a blackout the night before. I’m pretty sure, at least, that if you did have that time off from work, you we’re spending the entire day, in the kitchen, on your feet.
That’s exactly what I did, and although I was missing my family, I did have an amazing time doing it.
For this play-by-play of our second dinner party, I’m not going to give you the backstory on every dish. That would take too long, and by the time I’d be done writing this post, we’ll be gearing up for our next party. Instead, I’m gonna describe every dish, and highlight the “making of”, of one dish that I really loved making and eating.
Here it goes.
A quick review of the menu (three dishes not pictured):
- Geometric Shapes of Mojito
- Sausage, many complimentary flavors
- Tomato water gazpacho, herb infused oil
- Cured salmon, garlic aoili, and citrus foam
- Inside-out Deviled egg
- Tomato; aspic, coulis, salad, and lemon scented couscous
- 48 hour short ribs, coriander pickled carrots and pickled mustard seeds
- Lamb-Ribeye slider, duck confit, crispy onions and port-red wine braised cabbage
- Prime rib, Bourdelaise sauce, pommes d’Anna
- Veloute of bittersweet chocolate, cinnamon stick ice cream
Citrus marinated salmon with roasted garlic aioli and citrus foam:
The salmon was marinated, exactly like this previous dish, and then cooked en sous vide at 120 degrees for 25 minutes. Unlike that last dish, this salmon we used was very good quality. I also allowed it to marinate for the full three hours. The texture could only be described as “like butter”, and there was a nice finish that was similar to lox, but not nearly as overpowering. The citrus air was bright and refreshing, and the garlic aioli rounded out the flavors nicely.
Tomato water gazpacho with herb infused oil:
I’m betting that’s not what you expected it to look like. In fact, the true genius of this dish is that it plays that trick on your mind. This, in my opinion, was the perfect palette cleanser–bright, acidic, well balanced, and leaving nothing stuck in your mouth to affect the next course. Plus, it was delicious.
Duck, squash, banana, and Thai aromatics
You can read about this one here. I was happy to see that this was such a crowd pleaser, even though these flavor combinations may be foreign to most people.
Inside out deviled eggs:
This was my favorite surprise of the night, mainly because I didn’t expect it to be anywhere as amazing as it was. With a normal deviled egg, the whole egg is hard boiled, the yolk is chopped and mixed with a mixture of mayonnaise and spices, only to be spooned back into the cavity it left in the white. In this preparation, the whole egg is cooked en sous vide, to a doneness between a soft and hard-boiled egg. Instead of being dry and mealy, the yolk is a vibrant yellow sphere of creamy, custard-y tastiness. The slightly runny white is blended together with tarragon oil and champagne vinegar to make the mayonnaise which the yolk rests on, hence the inside-outness of all of it. Delicious.
Lamb/ribeye sliders topped with duck confit and crispy onions,
48 short ribs with pickled mustard seeds and red wine and port braised cabbage:
Same as last time, still out of this world. You may notice that we plated this one a little differently than the last time. Editing is important in cooking, too.
Prime rib with oyster mushrooms, Bourdelaise, and pommes d’Anna
I don’t love the picture, but I do looooooooooooooooooove that sauce!
And now for the dessert.
A brief step-by-step. First, the mise en place.
Clockwise from the egg yolks; sugar and sugar (divided), all purpose flour, rice milk, bittersweet chocolate, unsweetened cocoa powder and egg whites.
Then the meringue batter.
I mixed the sugar and egg whites, and then beat them vigorously over a pot of simmering water, until they started to foam up.
Then I let my KitchenAid have a go at them for five minutes, while I worked on the chocolate part.
I was supposed to stir this until it reached the consistency of pudding, but that just wasn’t happening with all that stirring going on. So I let it rest for a minute before whisking again, and that seemed to do the trick. I then added to gelatin sheets, and checked on my egg whites, which now looked like this–
I bet you love seeing my hairy arm in that one…
I removed the pudding into a bowl, and whisked in a spoonful of the egg whites, to lighten the mixture.
The rest of the whites were then folded in gently. I placed the batter in a ziplock bag, cut off one of the corners, and squeezed it out into nine ring mold atop a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
These went into the freezer, covered, until fourteen minutes before dessert was served.
For the cinnamon stick ice cream, I put some creamer, rice milk, and a split cinnamon stick in a saucepan, and brought that to a boil.
I then removed this from the heat, and let it steep for half and hour. After half an hour, I removed the cinnamon and brought the milk mixture up to a simmer. While that was heating, I mixed eight egg yolks with some sugar
and beat them until they looked like this.
Next, I tempered the eggs by slowly whisking in a small amount of the milk mixture, and then poured the now warmed eggs back into the pan. I stirred this with a spoon, until the mixture was thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.
This custard was chilled overnight in the fridge, before going for a round in the ice cream machine the next day. When it came out nice and all ice cream-like, we flattened it to 3/4 thickness on a sheet pan, and slid it into the freezer until the final plating.
The two parts of the dish that I didn’t photograph the making of, were, the cinnamon cookies and the chocolate sauce. They were both super easy to make.
The batter for these was made from honey, brown sugar, white sugar, butter, whole wheat pastry flour, all purpose flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. After making the batter, you roll it out onto a silpat covered baking sheet, and freeze it for an hour before baking. The sheet of dough is baked for eight minutes, and then, while still in the oven, cut into rounds, and left to bake for another 4-5 minutes.
The chocolate sauce is even more idiot-proof, requiring no more than to pour warm cream and corn syrup over chopped bittersweet chocolate, which is then stirred. Make your own before buying some Gefen brand nonsense next time.
Now onto the plating.
From bottom to top:
Chocolate sauce, a disk of cinnamon ice cream, and a cookie baked with a veloute on top. This dessert was just plain exquisite. If you’re used to eating the generic warm chocolate cake with ice cream either at restaurants or weddings, please, please make this at least once in your life so you can know what that is supposed to taste like. The cake was so light, airy and gooey, the ice cream was so refreshingly smooth, and the cinnamon cookie had the perfect amount of spice and crispiness to pull this dish together.
This was an amazing evening of cooking and sharing with friends. I’m always happy to see when people’s expectations of what kosher food can be, are elevated, and it’s especially nice when i’m the one to do so. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for joining us, and trusting us to provide them with a meal worth their time. And thank you to my good friend, Dan Rabinowitz, for coming up with this concept, hosting the meal in his home, and being a true pleasure to work with.
Hopefully, some more of you will join us next time!