Eighth Annual Birthday Dinner

June 11, 2013 · 2 comments

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I have been busy as of late due to a new full-time job, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking. The cooking has continued, I just haven’t had the time to write about it. When I realized a month had gone by without my posting about the annual birthday dinner for She Who Must Be Obeyed I figured it was time to get back to a semi-regular posting schedule.

This year’s menu wasn’t completely new, but rather an assemblage of dishes I had tried out earlier along with one or two experiments. If some of these seem familiar to regular readers, it’s because they are.

Charcuterie

Charcuterie

A trio of meat from the Cabinet of Doctor Charcuterie: duck prosciutto, lonza, and finocchiona, served with whole grain mustard, olives, pickled garlic scapes, and olive biscuits.

Tuna, Hibiscus, Soy

Tuna, Hibiscus, Soy

This is the same first course I served a month previously, repeated at the request of She Who. Single bites of English cucumber and tuna belly were topped with a hibiscus/ginger/lime sphere, soy pudding (solidified soy), radish, and daikon sprout. Accompanied by a Rihaku Niguri “Dreamy Clouds” Tokubetsu Junmai sake.

Potato, Caviar

Créme fraiche, chive

Potato, caviar

Whipped créme fraiche with lime, roasted potato ice cream, caviar, potato chip, and chive batons. This recipe from Eleven Madison Park (EMP) exactly mimics the flavors of a traditional caviar service. Served with a Billecart-Salmon brut reserve.

Asparagus

Egg, miso butter

Asparagus

Asparagus served over shiro miso butter, topped with a slow-poached egg and brioche croutons. Served with a 2004 Jakob Jung Riesling trocken.

 Chicken

Peas, bacon emulsion

Chicken

Similar to the duck roulade I’ve served before, this was chicken breast wrapped in swiss chard and cooked sous vide. The bacon emulsion is bacon fat, veal stock, sherry vinegar, and a bit of xanthan gum to prevent it from splitting. The peas – a preparation I had tried at Hungry Mother just a week previously – are pea puree topped with sautéed peas, shallots, and pea shoots.

Cheese

Cheese

A trio of local cheeses (left to right): Nettle Meadow Kunik (mold-ripened goat’s milk), Old Chatham Ewe’s Blue (sheep’s milk Roquefort), and Cobb Hill Ascutney Mountain (raw cow’s milk). Accompanied by brioche toast and cranberry chutney.

Chocolate, Milk

Dulce de leche, sorbet

Chocolate, Milk

Another EMP recipe, this dessert showcases different preparations of chocolate (dehydrated chocolate mousse, frozen chocolate foam, aerated chocolate, caramelized white chocolate sorbet) and milk (dehydrated milk foam, browned milk solids, dulce de leche, créme fraiche, frozen whipped cream). Served with a Graham 20 year port.

Despite its apparent complexity, this menu was the least stressful dinner I’ve cooked in a while. With the exception of the peas, which had to be cooked a la minute, all of the components were prepared ahead of time. I still had to plate each course, but I spent significantly less time in the kitchen during the actual dinner. Not every meal will work out that way, but I will be considering a balance of do-ahead and immediate when I plan future menus.

2 comments

Kurt Griffin June 12, 2013 at 2:18 am

I must attempt the asparagus some time. Steamed, I’m guessing? Wonder if a roasted or grilled would add to or or ruin it?

David June 12, 2013 at 10:20 am

Blanched and shocked, then held at room temp. When it’s not part of a multi-course meal, I prepare the dish with broiled or grilled.

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