It’s hard to believe I’ve been cooking a birthday dinner for She Who Must Be Obeyed for ten years. This year I decided the menu would include some new dishes she had enjoyed over the past year, which would present some interesting technical challenges for me.
I changed up the traditional charcuterie starter by limiting it to bresaola and tartines: baguette slices topped with fig butter, serrano ham, and manchego cheese. They disappeared before I could take a photo.
We started with a drink made from umeshu (Japanese plum wine), carbonated Riesling, and a scoop of coconut/lemon/saffron sorbet, all served over a shiso leaf. Very refreshing.
The deconstructed eggs benedict is egg yolk, crispy Canadian bacon chips, and cubes of hollandaise sauce coated with english muffin crumbs. The cubes lost some of their structural integrity as they were being held until service, but the dish tasted as we remembered it. It was accompanied by a 2102 Karthaüserhof Schieferkristall Riesling feinherb.
At least one of our guests questioned the placement of a fruit course so early in the meal, but the title was deliberately misleading. I served “meat fruit,” a sphere of foie gras and chicken liver parfait surrounded by mandarin orange gel, with a slice of grilled sourdough for spreading. We served more of the same Riesling instead of the traditional sweet wine that accompanies foie.
Barley, mushroom, burgundy emulsion
Cumin-crusted seared tuna, over barley “risotto” with oyster mushroom confit and a red wine emulsion. Served with a 2009 René Leclerc Griotte Chambertin Gand Cru
Chef’s fatigue was beginning to set in, so I spaced on taking a photo of the cheese course. There’s a photo of a similar version here.
Flourless chocolate cake with clementine and bourbon, clementine sorbet, whipped cream, and hazelnut crunch. I enjoyed presenting yet another “surprise” orange. Served with a Taylor Fladgate 20 year old tawny port.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Velvet Shiso: Fifty Licks, Portland, OR
Eggs Benedict: Wiley Dufresne, wd~50, New York City
Fruit: Heston Blumenthal, Dinner, London
Tuna: Charlie Trotter, Chicago
Chocolate: April Bloomfield, The Spotted Pig, New York City