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Shaya

Birthday Dinner from French Laundry

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Here is the lineup of wines, all of which were selected by my sweetie:

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We started with the Silverado Merlot, which we had brought back from Napa. Knowing it was going to be an all-white wine meal, we wanted to offer our red-loving guests something to warm their hearts when they arrived. It was very well received. Then onto a pink champagne that was recommended by the sommelier at our local specialty wine shop. Although it was beautiful to look at, my husband and I agreed it was not very interesting as far as champagnes go, particularly for the price - over $60 for the bottle. However, it was romantic, and went really well with the gougeres.

Pink Champagne

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Ah yes, the gougeres. You may recall I made the batter on Thursday. I re-beat it in the mixer on Saturday, then piped and baked them. They rose nicely, but as soon as I opened the oven to give the pans a turn, they fell flat, and never did recover. Oh well. Was it a mistake to open the oven? Or is it possible that the weight of the gruyere on their tops was too great and caused them to fall? In any case, they were gobbled and people just thought they were a type of "scone" :laugh: .

Gougeres

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After this course the guests were seated at the table for the rest of the meal.

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Of course we started by serving a silver tray filled with spoons with the "bacon and eggs" - quail eggs with brunoise in butter; I guess in all the excitement I forgot to take a photo; everyone had two of these. Served these with a Norman Hardie pinot gris from Ontario, not pictured.

Fava Bean Agnolotti - this was incredibly creamy and tasty, perfect textures coming together; I heard one of the guests exclaim that she could go home now! This was served with the unoaked Norman Hardie Chardonnay.

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"Macaroni and Cheese" - phenomonal; everyone agreed they had never had lobster that tasted so sweet and succulent; they loved the orzo and the coral oil and the parm crisp too. We had this with the lightly oaked Norman Hardie Chardonnay.

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Whipped Brie en Feuillete - the port drizzle was so beloved I ended up bringing the squeeze bottle to the table so everyone could have a little more. We served the Loire Muscadet with the brie.

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Lemon Sabayon Tart with Pine Nut Crust - they ate every last crumb and drank every drop of the German Riesling Kabinett. This was probably the best wine pairing of the meal.

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"Mignardises" - Cognac Filled Chocolate which we served with coffee

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Edited by Shaya (log)

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Shaya, that meal looks and sounds magical.

Where did you get your quail eggs? I've been searching and not finding, although I now go to the Dartmouth market for duck eggs.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Thanks Peter.

I get quail eggs at the little Asian grocer on Queen Street, Ca Hoa.

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It looks amazing!

I'm especially in awe of your agnolotti. My past attempts to form the agnolotti have been embarrassing, nice work with yours.


Dr. Zoidberg: Goose liver? Fish eggs? Where's the goose? Where's the fish?

Elzar: Hey, that's what rich people eat. The garbage parts of the food.

My blog: The second pancake

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Thanks for the kind comments all. I loved doing it and look forward to doing it again, and I've been asked that next time we have more meat!

It looks amazing!

I'm especially in awe of your agnolotti. My past attempts to form the agnolotti have been embarrassing, nice work with yours.

Yes doctortim, these agnolotti shapes can be rather elusive. I remember trying and trying a few years ago, with little success, but then one day it just clicked. The key is not to overthink it, just do as he says. Fold the pasta sheet over the filling, press to seal, cut off excess, then cut through each " mound" to separate. One adjustment I made is to pipe little portions of filling rather than one long tube; I find it easier to keep a clean cut that way.

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It looks amazing!

I'm especially in awe of your agnolotti. My past attempts to form the agnolotti have been embarrassing, nice work with yours.

Yes doctortim, these agnolotti shapes can be rather elusive. I remember trying and trying a few years ago, with little success, but then one day it just clicked. The key is not to overthink it, just do as he says. Fold the pasta sheet over the filling, press to seal, cut off excess, then cut through each " mound" to separate. One adjustment I made is to pipe little portions of filling rather than one long tube; I find it easier to keep a clean cut that way.

I think that's what it is, piping out a long tube does not work for me at all. To press to seal between the mounds of filling as well?


Dr. Zoidberg: Goose liver? Fish eggs? Where's the goose? Where's the fish?

Elzar: Hey, that's what rich people eat. The garbage parts of the food.

My blog: The second pancake

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It looks amazing!

I'm especially in awe of your agnolotti. My past attempts to form the agnolotti have been embarrassing, nice work with yours.

Yes doctortim, these agnolotti shapes can be rather elusive. I remember trying and trying a few years ago, with little success, but then one day it just clicked. The key is not to overthink it, just do as he says. Fold the pasta sheet over the filling, press to seal, cut off excess, then cut through each " mound" to separate. One adjustment I made is to pipe little portions of filling rather than one long tube; I find it easier to keep a clean cut that way.

I think that's what it is, piping out a long tube does not work for me at all. To press to seal between the mounds of filling as well?

Exactly. I press and seal between each mound, then with the sealed edge facing away from me, I run my pastry wheel between each mound.

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oh Shaya, what a beautiful meal (and the cooks' meal during the prep was no chopped liver either!)...

sorry i totally forgot that i had posted recs on this thread and only checked it now. with the gougeres, the batter can't really keep refrigerated. it has to be made and either piped then frozen or piped and baked right away. i honestly don't know the science behind that, but that's what i've always been told. it could be that while sitting in the fridge, some enzymes break down the gluten/proteins in the flour that give structure...which could explain the collapse that happened partway through baking (and the lack of recovery). of course i could be wrong.

but hey, nobody was the wiser and it was just an amazing meal, i'm sure!

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wow man, congrats on a fantastic meal!


At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since. ‐ Salvador Dali

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