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Posts posted by wattacetti

  1. Banyuls is a sweet-ish fortified wine from the Banyuls AC of the Languedoc-Roussillon. Predominantly Grenache, though Macabéo and Malvoisie can also be used.

    For a non-sweet suggestion, if you can find some, Château Kefraya's Comte de M (Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon; comes from Lebanon's Bekaa Valley) drinks very well with chocolate.

    Others I know like Saumur and other Cabernet Franc-based wines but I'm personally not too crazy about the vareital.

  2. We started the day off with these


    chocolate pancakes.  Photogenic they're not, but they were very good.  I made them with Pernigotti cocoa, which is very red, and gave them an intense look.

    Except for the maple syrup ( :wacko: ), they look pretty good and closely resemble the dark and white chocolate cookies that I'm staring at here in Air Canada's lounge. Damn! now I have to have to have a cookie.

    Didn't realize that you were going to do every meal with chocolate too. This is going to be an interesting day of posts...

  3. How do you prepare sea asparagus?  These grow widely where my parents live, I've been interested in eating them (pulled up a sprig & munched it -- bleah too salty-sandy).  Do you cook it?  Or eat it raw?  Can you eat it like a side dish or is it more commonly used for garnish only?  Thanks!

    You can eat the stuff raw (which I did in my prep) or it can be blanched, refreshed and then used for other purposes. I've usually only served the stuff in small quantities (garnish or small component of a larger dish) primarily because of cost though there's also a question of balance. Can't really see anyone having/wanting a huge quantity of the stuff.

  4. I WANT that phone! The pictures are great, and the food is beautiful. Please tell, though, what the stalk-y greens are? I though maybe infant asparagus, but not like any I've ever seen. Beautiful, just beautiful!

    Sea beans if I'm not mistaken right? Although I think there are other names for them.

    Sea beans is right. Also known as sea asparagus, salicorne, slender glasswort, and (I think) samphire. Crunchy salty goodness.

    Philadelphians: nice potluck there! I work with people from your area but all I can imagine them preparing is grilled chicken Caesar salad.

  5. wattacetti I LOVE the duck potatoe dish- something similar has been in my head as an amuse.... did you just boil the potatoes??

    I didn't have the time. The potatoes ("grelots"; new potato) were zapped in a microwave for a couple of minutes before being hollowed out and filled with confit and duck fat. Heated through in a toaster oven before being singed with the torch.

    The pork loin you made looks very tasty (all the Swiss pork was grey).

  6. Well, another Groundhog Day has arrived, meaning that my best pal's birthday was also here. In keeping with cooking dinner for her as I did last year, I made:

    Duck confit with potatoes (the original plan for dinner) and pied bleu mushrooms


    Scallop tiradito


    Prawn salad


    Chilean sea bass with shimeji mushrooms


    Toasted fig with honey


    Apart from the scallop tiradito (which went with water), we drank a 2003 Main Divide Pinot Noir (NZ).

    I'm actually quite pleased with how things turned out since I've just come back from a week of avoiding calls to have grilled chicken Caesar salad (ah, the fun of meetings in Switzerland) so I didn't have planning or prep time like I did last year. So, there is something to be said of making less convoluted food. We didn't have a real camera handy so photos were shot with a SonyEricsson P990i smartphone.

  7. So, as per Chris' request and based on comments throughout for plating suggestions, I present the following two photos:



    This was done for a dinner earlier this year. The original idea was to have a shrimp and cucumber salad as one of the starters; I would blanch the shrimp and plate in a cucumber noodle nest with some micro-beet. That got changed after getting a request to include bacon somewhere on the menu.

    So, the shrimp became an amuse-bouche. The cucumber noodles were marinated quickly in ponzu and twirled to serve as the "nigiri" base. Shrimp were glazed with soy and mirin before a quick pass with the blow torch.

    This could assist in getting around the small bowl issue since you could be serving two or three of the things in a relatively compact area.

  8. As I've said, stay away from the West Island if you're going to do this. You're not going to find the quality you want because I think that the West Island's supply chain is built to supply families and convenience food.

    Such sweeping generalisations are, as a rule, unworthy of reply.

    Well, you have therefore had more success than I in purchasing acceptable seafood at P du M than I have. I was not wowed with my visits there; perhaps it was the day of the week that I visited, perhaps the season, or perhaps that I'm not in the trade.

    I still have more success with La Mer or Gidney's, and I still think you won't find it on the West Island because I don't think that fresh fish as a food item moves as much in this region.

  9. As I've said, stay away from the West Island if you're going to do this. You're not going to find the quality you want because I think that the West Island's supply chain is built to supply families and convenience food.

    There was also a Japanese place on Green or Victoria that had so-called "sushi-grade" fish but I'm not sure they are still around.

    The Japanese place on Victoria (Westmount) is Miyamoto and they're still around. You can do better elsewhere for the fish.

  10. The Bousquet plates aren't exactly beyond my reach, but there's always that question of immediate priorities and right now, I think I'm leaning more towards acquiring either a Transtherm wine cellar or a water bath with immersion circulator. Apart from ingredients I'm not a big fan of one-off purchases so I have to really feel that it's worthwhile before pulling out the plastic.

  11. Hmm… eG post #500.

    I have finally located an ideal rectangular plate from Porcelaines Bousquet (click here for a photo) which would be great for presenting tasting menu items: it's the right size, right weight, right shade of "white". Unfortunately, it's the wrong price at $86 CAD a pop (that would interfere with my Pinot Noir habit).

    Anyhoo, I recently completed a tasting menu as a demonstration of New World wines. For the dish junkies, everything was plated on Maxwell & Williams Cashmere, which is quite popular as a service set with Montreal chef-owners (inexpensive, white, holds up fairly well).

    Huitres en nage gelée

    Wine pairing: NV Roederer Estate Anderson Valley sparkling wine (California, USA)

    Inspired by the oysters served at Guy Savoy, these are Caraquets topped with zest and a jelly made with lemon juice and oyster liquor. Not quite as complicated or profound as Guy's but then again, not 47.00 € per order either.


    Virgin Caesar shooters

    Wine pairing: none

    Actually the backup amuse-bouche in case the oyster jelly didn't set. Hollowed tomatoes sitting on shrimp filled with oyster liquor and tomato juice. Spoons carry grains of sel du château (wine-infused salt).


    Chilean sea bass tiradito with sweet potato purée and leche de tigre.

    Wine pairing: none (waste of wine)

    Patagonian toothfish (one of my faves) treated with a mix of regular, key and Thai limes, échalottes françaises, salt, pepper and chile. Have to thank Mario Navarette for introducing this form of ceviche to me (it's much more interesting than the chunky style).


    Chicken and mushroom soup.

    Wine pairing: none

    An amuse set up to break the acidity following the tiradito so that I could start serving wine with later courses. Chicken stock infused with mushrooms, green onions, ginger, star anise and cloves. No gelatin powder or sheets used because I made the stock from 8 carcasses.


    Chicken and mushroom consommé

    Wine pairing: none

    A second amuse designed to break the acidity of the tiradito. The same soup as above but clarified via synerisis (eG thread here) and served hot.


    Foie gras de canard et pétoncles poêlés en papillote de chou de Savoie

    Wine pairing: 2002 Catena Zapata Alta Chardonnay (Mendoza, Argentina), served just under room temperature.

    Dish originally made by Chef Yamada Hiromi, which I reverse-engineered. Duck foie gras and scallops are quickly seared, wrapped in blanched Savoy cabbage and finished off in a hot oven. Served on top of saffron risotto and topped with a balsamic vinegar reduction. I'm going to keep this dish in my personal repertoire, but for anyone interested in making it, this one dish alone accounted for more than 60% of my ingredients costs for the entire evening.


    Caille en deux préparations, poireaux et panais enrobés avec pancetta, sauce aux morilles

    Wine pairing: 2002 Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir (Waipara Valley, New Zealand)

    Pan-seared quail breasts and confit quail legs served with leeks and parsnips covered with blowtorched pancetta. Sauce made with quail stock, honey, lemon and morels.


    Lapin farci enrobé en crépine

    Wine pairing: 2000 Haan Estates Prestige Shiraz (Barossa Valley, Australia); left to breathe 12 hours before service

    Deboned rabbit stuffed with minced rabbit and duck foie gras forcemeat, and wrapped in caul fat. Seared, then slow roasted in 300ºF oven for 2 hours. Served with mashed potato and sautéed pea shoots, sauced with rabbit stock and balsamic vinegar. I would probably not make this again, because deboning rabbits in one piece is a real PITA.


    Cheese course (no photo available)

    Wine pairing: 2002 Irurtia "Botrytis" late-harvest Gewurtztraminer (Uruguay)

    Cheeses selected were all Québec production: Maître Jules (Bois Francs, near Warwick), Baluchon (Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade) and Valbert (Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean).

    Pots de crême de chocolat parfumé de cardamone

    Wine pairing: none (still working on the Irurtia)

    I didn't make this dessert (see any pineapple?), but I did wind up serving it. Forgot to move my yanagi-ba and the corkscrew out of the way before taking the pic.


  12. In 2004, I approached the idea of trying to do a tasting menu at home and there ensued a thoroughly interesting discussion on the concept ... eGullet thread here .. as for "do ahead"? It is virtually essential to do some of the dishes in advance, I should think ...

    I primarily do tasting menus when cooking for people and I find it quite feasible to do at home. The main detractor is that unless place settings for 25 are available, one runs through plates and glasses fairly quickly, meaning that there's always some dishes to do somewhere along the line.

    I do a lot of prep work in advance of one (e.g. make fond, confit etc) and I prefer to spend most of the time cooking and chatting and only joining the rest of the table at the final plate before cheese is put out. The only thing that I can think of that would be a straight-out "make ahead and reheat for service" for me is consommé. I'm also more anal-retentive and prefer to select wines as well to have as much control over an event as possible.

    Typical tasting menu production would be 3-5 amuse, 4-5 plates, cheese, dessert and 5-7 wines depending on whether it's individual pairings or flights.

    jspatchwork: I like your three chamber plate and that fruit taco has me itching to do a fish taco amuse.

  13. The juice part is relatively easy since it's similar to fining wine (add gelatin, stir, let sink to bottom, filter).

    Couldn't find anything specific on clarifying broth, but I suspect that the technique would eventually be similar to clarifying a consommé with a protein cap. You'd be making the gelatin and not just adding the powdered stuff straight.

    If you elect to go with eggs to do it, I don't think you're going to get an eggy taste if you use just the whites; the albumin should be relatively flavorless (I find most of the "egg" taste comes from the yolk).

    You can drip-filter the results through filter paper or a coffee filter if you want to make absolutely certain. Or, if you have a friend who works in a lab with a vacuum line, a 0.2 micron filter takes care of any remaining bits pretty quickly.

  14. Quail legs. That'll demonstrate your confit prowess.

    I think I would need about 50 of them, no?

    No, you'd need 8 quail. 8 guests for dinner, 2 quail legs per guest. You can serve the quail breasts with the legs (e.g. stuff with a little pear chutney, wrap in pancetta and sear) as a two-service item.

    How about rabbit and salmon as the other two? Land, air, sea.

  15. The one that I've succeeded in getting a vegetarian to try. :laugh:

    Personally, anything's good and I have tried anything and everything that is legal to sell or hunt in Canada (I skip the nervous tissue though - it's not the BSE, it's an EAE thing). There really is however, too many things to choose from. Moose, ox tail, poulet de Bresse, geese, sheep sweetbreads, pata negra jamón Iberico…

    I'll say it: goose and duck foie gras

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