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Valentine's Day Dinner

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Sounds like a terrific dinner, Tere, and I am sure you will do fine making it all - even if you have never made several of the dishes (or components of same) before. If you have an immersion blender, I recommend keeping it handy for the béarnaise. Not sure if you are determined to follow Heston's recipe exactly but if not you can use the same ingredients and have much less fuss I think if you use a jar and an immersion blender. Regular ganache is fairly straightforward - Heston's not so much - but I am sure you will have fun and it will all taste delicious in the end. After all, if you have a sous chef, the evening is probably as much about having kitchen capers together as much as it is the end result I would guess, especially on Valentine's Day. :)


Edited by Deryn (log)
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@Tere

 

 I have a feeling that I would be preaching to the choir if I said so long as you enjoy yourself it will go well.  You seem to love cooking and  know your way around the kitchen. If things do go south and I have no reason to think they will,  just remind yourself "it's only food".  My late husband and I managed to make an occasion of scrambled eggs on toast with a glass of wine when times were tough.  

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It's OK, there's chicken goujons and oven ready chips in the freezer. We won't starve. :D

 

And my hubby likes to help with this sort of thing. We've set aside the day and as long as we don't rush I think we'll be fine :)

 

I do have a Sous Vide Supreme demi and I was thinking of making the bearnaise and keeping it in there while other prep is happening. I just need to check the temps to see if I can do that and sous vide the steak if I decide to go for the cook off!

 

Food order placed now so I can research technique to my heart's content.

 

It's good to stretch oneself now and again - I remember bread, pizza and pasta feeling like an insurmountable one, and while I wouldn't say I was excellent at any of those (particularly bread where I have a lot of learning to do), I've gained a lot out of at least trying them. 

 

Pasta is also a good bonding meal for us - he's got to being a dab hand at rolling it out, including doing the whole roll in a circle thing which we saw on Masterchef Professionals a while back.

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and so it begins...

 

Local organic Hereford sirloin located and defrosting. Crab ditto. Pickle made. I will admit I did not dice into precisely 4 mm cubes apart from a test slice or two, but it did explain why Heston wanted me to buy a whole cucumber when he just wanted 60g of the stuff! 2-4 mm wedges along the curve of the cucumber instead.

 

Pickling was easy peasy, I will do that again. And I will buy the cornichon seed for the veggy plot (for some reason they are hard to get around here and I love pate de campagne on a good French baguette with cornichon. Ah, Viron Tokyo, how I miss you... This used to be my everyday baker http://www.timeout.com/tokyo/shopping/viron

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What a great menu, you have chosen, @Tere, it sounds like fun!  I'd be happy with some of that crab on toast and a glass or 3 of champagne :D

 

I'll take the opportunity to share this pretty pink radish soup that I made last year when my CSA box brought me bunch after bunch of radishes:

IMG_1842.thumb.jpg.3fcc0da979b2b9f441a3f

 

I followed the recipe for turnip soup from the Greens cookbook, using radishes instead of turnips and used the peppery radish tops as a garnish rather than cooking them.  Although most of the radishes were pink or purple and I left the peels on, the soup came out a rather boring beige so I added a tiny bit of beet juice to get the Valentine's Day appropriate pale pink color.  I wanted it to be pink, without conjuring Pepto-bismol and I think I succeeded.  

 

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Johnnybird has requested coq au vin so got most of the fixings for that...will also pull yellow and green beans from the freezer , roasted carrots with honey and make some egg noodles.  

Making a roasted chicken breast for me.

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On 2/10/2016 at 6:22 PM, Anna N said:

@Tere

 

 I have a feeling that I would be preaching to the choir if I said so long as you enjoy yourself it will go well.  You seem to love cooking and  know your way around the kitchen. If things do go south and I have no reason to think they will,  just remind yourself "it's only food".  My late husband and I managed to make an occasion of scrambled eggs on toast with a glass of wine when times were tough.  

Report: 53% of women say they would break up with significant other if no Valentine’s Day gift

This is quote the discuss ad nausea on WTOP.  I am with Anna N on enjoying yourself and appreciating your partner.  I got me a vintage cast iron skillet and told DH that it was my V day gift.  He seemed to be very relieved about it.  Many happy meals will come out of that skillet.

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Toots is from Argentina, and this year, at Toots' request, I'm preparing Bife a Caballo, a very typical Argentine meal, although I'll be making potatoes roasted with duck or goose fat instead of what has become the more typical French fries. They'll be roasted along with some home-grown rosemary which I just picked a couple of hours ago, and which is very fragrant. Often a chimichurri sauce is part of this dish, but Toots doesn't care much for chimichurri, so I'll add a simple salad of butter lettuce and radicchio with a home made balsamic dressing.

 

This past Wednesday a friend from Argentina brought us some chocolate and dulce de leche treats from the Havanna bakery in Mar del Plata, and we'll enjoy those for dessert. We love their alfajores, and we're looking forward to trying these chocolate havannets.  Breakfast will include my first attempt at making scones, which will be served with my home made Meyer lemon curd and sweeties excellent, organic apricot preserves. The apricots were from her son's trees.

 

The steaks will be a couple of rib eyes from grass fed cattle raised on a friend's ranch in nearby Livermore. About three times a year we'll cook beef at home, and we get all that we eat from my friend. His beef has proven to be consistently good.

 

The Meyer lemons come from either another friend's tree in Berkeley, or from trees on a ranch in nearby Winters, CA, where Toots' son and daughter-in-law live. Last year I bought Toots a Meyer lemon tree, and we put it in her yard. The first crop of lemons look great, but they're not quite ripe now, however, soon we'll be able to enjoy our very own lemons.

 

I hope everyone enjoys their dinner and time with their sweetie as much as Toots and I will enjoy oursz


Edited by Shel_B Paragraph breaks (log)
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2 hours ago, chefmd said:

Report: 53% of women say they would break up with significant other if no Valentine’s Day gift

This is quote the discuss ad nausea on WTOP.  I am with Anna N on enjoying yourself and appreciating your partner.  I got me a vintage cast iron skillet and told DH that it was my V day gift.  He seemed to be very relieved about it.  Many happy meals will come out of that skillet.

 

I should probably explain that hubby works for one of the big 4 as an audit partner and Feb is when it really kicks in to "who are you, do I know you" mode. He is working downstairs as I type, and managed a Facebook cheese pun in lieu of a card or a gift.

 

But that's sort of why I do advanced for me cooking on this day. It makes him step back from work and get in to the kitchen. I will probably do a fair bit of the heavy lifting in the kitchen tomorrow but it does give us some quality time at a time when it is of necessity very scarce :) 

 

Also based on eGullet threads this week I have bought a kamado joe Jr. and an instant pot so I am not really hard done by ;)

 

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 I was always of the opinion that buying your own gift was much more satisfactory than being incredibly disappointed.   It takes only one vacuum cleaner on Valentine's Day tied with a red ribbon to confirm my suspicions.

 

 I am quite jealous of your prep for the big day and I'm even considering doing something special for myself that day. And why not I ask you.  Think I'll make a list of all my favourite foods and see what I come up with.  But I will also enjoy living vicariously  as I follow along with your adventures. 

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Welp, everything printed out and ready to go. Wish me luck! :D

 

(I'm going to also cook some chicken breasts for the week in the sous vide and then do a cook off with Heston's steak and sous vide steak, because why not :) ). I think I might also sous vide the Bearnaise, less to worry about when plating up. 

 

Onward!

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Being the exciting people we are, we're going to make pizza and watch the mid-season premier of The Walking Dead. Ain't life grand! :D

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Usually it's pizza, beer, & a movie at home. We had pizza already a couple days ago, so it might be Church's Fried Chicken this year for a change. And something vaguely vegetable-y, I suppose.  I also like to make a simple dessert, but we're out of milk & eggs, and I screwed up my back, so we'll have the mini apple pie & blueberry pie DH bought. :smile:

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Update on how it went:

 

Well, I was starving when I started cooking so first order of the day was consuming this high quality product *cough*

 

56c0c342551c5_IMG_6906small.jpg.b5db057f

 

Apple cored chips ready for first cook. The teabag is full of potato peelings. I'd definitely do this again, I think it added a lot of flavour to the chips.

 

56c0c350b1fb8_IMG_6908small.jpg.7e34c9d5

 

Crab ready for dissection. Actually cheap and cheerful crab I bought frozen from Aldi at Christmas. Surprisingly good. I delegated hubby to picking out the meat ;)

 

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Organic Hereford sirloin ready to go, from the farm two farms down.

 

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First course, with 1992 Don Perignon, which had held up very well, decent petillance and lovely toasty lees character. I did the toasts very slowly at a low temperature and they came out super crunchy which was what I was hoping for. I was not sure about the mouthfeel of the crab on toast, I think in future I would use much less brown to white crab meat. I liked the crunch of the pickled cucumber though and could have done with more of it. I think I'll add the rest in when I use the leftovers in a salad tomorrow.

 

 

56c119de21c3d_TereValentine1.jpg.637011c

 

Main course. Cook off between 54 degree sous vide for 45 mins (at the front) and Heston's best steak (at the back). Heston's had more personality and the rocket and parmesan salad worked very well, but the sous vide was more consistenly cooked. Hubby blowtorched it as I was hogging the pan, I think it might have been more characterful if we'd pan seared it so it's not a proper comparison IMO. Both were good.

 

Less good were the fries, 8 minutes was clearly too long so we wimped out at 6 minutes into the second fry. Second schoolboy error was then hanging them over the frypan rather than putting them in the oven to keep warm, they lost a lot of their crunch in between pulling them out and plating them. Will know for next time. Would also do wedges or Jenga chips next time I think - corer was a bit too delicate to handle sensibly. But for a first attempt in the fryer I wasn't unhappy with them. 

 

Meal raspberry went to the bearnaise. First I forgot I bought tarragon (I have now found it, d'oh) and had to riff with some greek basil and fennel seed which left it a bit bland. Second, Sousvide supreme demi instructions said 79 degrees for 45 mins which I thought sounded high but decided to trust them. I then compounded this by leaving them in the water bath when I brought it down to cook the steak, which might have been fine had I not forgotten how insulated it is and actually taken the lid off. I ended up with a blob of bearnaise which was edible, barely, by whisking it up with a lot of water but was uninspired. I think I'd make it the classic way next time.

 

The Opus One was very good, but not as good as we'd been hoping. We thought it was still a bit too fruit forward which surprised us as we'd seen a lot of reviews saying drink this up already. We saved 200 ml in a glass stoppered bottle to see if a longer decant and some time out of the bottle will help it.

 

 

56c119df11770_TereValentine2.jpg.8435ec4

 

Best bit was the dessert, served with mystery Montbazillac from the fridge, stored in a stoppered bottle since before Christmas. The chocolate puddings oozed perfectly after 18 mins. I used my le Creuset ramekins and the smallest cookie cutter and the ganache was cuttable after only 40 mins in the freezer. Served with home made blackcurrant ice cream we needed to use up with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses. Clearly horrible! (I almost never eat dessert and I ate it all). No quenelle as even after almost 30 mins out of the freezer the ice cream was rock solid. It's a tasty recipe but I might hack it next time for spoonability. Was good though!

 

56c0c3bc58acf_IMG_6923small.jpg.1f41377556c0c3c703e68_IMG_6925small.jpg.d55b9c7c

 

Lots of effort but I've tried a ton of stuff I hadn't so I'm pretty happy with the result overall :)


Edited by Smithy Rotated sidewise photos, removed text referring to them, at member request (log)
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Very pleasant meal kinda spread throughout the day.

 

Blue cheese stuffed dates for a snack

photo(34).JPG.3a95bdfb25b424b6b090bc61e0

 

Arugula and blood orange salad

 

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Cosmo for me and Camapri on the rocks for DH

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Slow roasted duck

56c11c548a293_160214003Duck.thumb.JPG.01

 

with roasted purple carrots

56c11ccd9ffd0_160214004Carrots(1).thumb.

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Currently munching on pizza with mushroom, red bell pepper, onion, sliced fresh garlic (nothing says romance like good ol' garlic breath) and roasted unsalted cashews. And of course, a generous dose of crushed dried red chiles.

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Madiera pork tenderloin, garlic mushrooms, cooked Brussels sprout slaw

 

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Found some fresh gulf shrimp today. These were U-8's. Biggest I have ever stuffed. Deb loved them, but I think U-10's are about as big as stuffed shrimp should be. She marched through all three, but I only managed 2. Put a couple in the freezer for steak and shrimp down the road.

56c12e795f730_stuffedshrimp.thumb.jpg.53

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I planned blueberry waffles for breakfast, even though it turned out the berries were insanely expensive. Funny thing though, my DB is the master waffle-maker :B

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Oh those shrimp look insanely good, Chris.

 

Gfweb, is that pork SV?  Looks perfectly cooked.

 

Tri2cook, I love me some garlic :)

 

Oysters and the last (sob) of the prime rib.  Instant Pot red taters and stuffed mushrooms on the side.

 

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P2141155.JPG.dc1b6953691ab5e730ebfb9eed8

 

Chocolate lava cakes for dessert.  No pictures.  They were scarfed down before I thought of it.

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Thanks Shelby....The pork was done the old fashioned way.  As usual, dinner was a last minute thing and I had no time to do SV. ;)

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Didn't take pictures. Poached wild-caught sockeye salmon napped with lemon-butter sauce and a simple rissoto.

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Mine was improvised with things I already had, but turned out great.

 

Duck foie gras au torchon on toasted Hawaiian bread, fleur de sel, Albrecht pink sparkling wine from Alsace. The foie gras was from d'Artagnan.

 

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Escargots, green & red mustard frills salad.

 

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Dessert was soft chocolate cakes made with Valrohna chocolate, and served with whipped cream. 


Edited by FrogPrincesse fix weird formatting (log)
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