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Tasting Menu @ Home


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I've made triangles with lots of different fillings, but never thought about using meat.  Do they get greasy?

Not really. I go for really lean cuts (top sirloin; the rounds) which have just about the same fat content as skinless chicken. The meat doesn't have a lot of time give off too much fat.

Duxelles on the other hand: Heat that prior. At least the mushrooms; they need to give off their liquor before you add them in.

Afterthought: I need to edit the recipe to say that the filling needs to be partially cooked for meats.

Edited by C_Ruark (log)
"There's something very Khmer Rouge about Alice Waters that has become unrealistic." - Bourdain; interviewed on dcist.com
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Here is the Braised BBQ Shortribs recipe I suggested. Also, here is a nice soup we have used before - very, very easy and tasty. It's a nice soup to pair with a white wine, which would get the meal started off nicely.

Sorbet is always a great idea. When we serve it, I actually dish it ahead of time. I have votive candleholders for this. They were fun to buy, mixing and matching styles, and sit in the freezer ahead of time nicely, not taking up much room. I do it maybe 30 minutes before the guests are supposed to show up. It doesn't seem like it would save much time, but by the time you get around to serving them, you will be glad you have an easy course that you put on the tray and and carry them out to dining room. Also, in case you are wondering - the sorbet doesn't get icy.

I also have all my salads plated in the refrigerator with plastic wrap on top. Another easy thing to do so I can just remove the wrap and put on a tray to carry out. One year for New Year's we did a salad where we gave everyone only the lettuce and passed the toppings in separate bowls so they could do their own toppings. This was primarily because one of the guests was pregnant, so I didn't have to worry about what she would put on it; and another guest is a little pickier than the others. Everyone seemed to have fun with it.

Another good dish we have done before is a blue cheese, pear, and fig napoleans. It's another one you can make ahead of time. When we do multi-course meals the goal is to have more courses that are made ahead of time, and either plated already or very easily can to the plate (such as soup) than those you have to prep. This way we don't mind having one of us stir the risotto or watch the pasta boil because the others courses were fairly easy. Having recipes that you can easily time (if they can't be made ahead of time) or that can sit on the stovetop/in the oven staying warm is also useful. My husband and I will also switch off on who is in charge of the course (even though we both carry plates to the table). The first multi-course meal we did, I had a little too much wine, and by the time we got to the last few courses, I was no help to him.

I like cows, too. I hold buns against them. -- Bucky Cat.

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Total revamp using jackal10's suggested courses. I usually stay away from an all-Italian menu ... I come from a big Italian family and most of this isn't "special" to me. I need to remember that not everyone grew up with these homemade favorites.

Charcuterie: Individual boards of homemade soft pretzels, hot sopressata, whole grain mustard

Soup: Tomato Consommé in Demitasse Cups

Pasta: Gnocchi with thyme butter

Salad: Slice of red and yellow tomatoes topped with baby Arugula

Main: “Meatball Sub” - Garlic crostini topped with fontina or fresh mozzarella, a beef-pork-veal meatball, gravy, & shaved pecorino

Sorbet: thinking a limoncello shooter instead of sorbet

Dessert (Hot): Zeppole ~ served in paper bags

Dessert (Cold): Cannoli cream piped onto spoon

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One tip I've picked up is to schedule in an "interlude" before the main course. It gives people a bit of time to digest the first few courses and it gives you time to do some serious a la minute prep for the main dish.

My standard dinner party format is:

Amuse/Entree

Soup

Salad

*interlude*

Main

Fruit Dessert

Chocolate Dessert

Soup and Salad are both generally very easy to prep ahead (small tip: Make your dressing and put it in a squeeze bottle) and the amuse can be made just before the guests arrive. Desserts are also easy to pre-prepare generally so I like have something thats made to be served right then. Duck breasts, seared scallops, risotto etc.

PS: I am a guy.

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One tip I've picked up is to schedule in an "interlude" before the main course. It gives people a bit of time to digest the first few courses and it gives you time to do some serious a la minute prep for the main dish.

I have always liked an "interlude" during a long meal, and it's always nice to have the interlude, followed by another interlude that doesn't involve food. A chance to stretch the aging legs, visit the restroom, gaze at the stars, etc.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I, too, am a dish-a-holic, and I must get some of the trio plates, and the 'bow-tie' plates. Where did you find them??? I search the internet, but didn't find them. They are terrific and will be great for the seafood trio I'm planning for Christmas dinner.

Stop Family Violence

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I, too, am a dish-a-holic, and I must get some of the trio plates, and the 'bow-tie' plates. Where did you find them??? I search the internet, but didn't find them. They are terrific and will be great for the seafood trio I'm planning for Christmas dinner.

I am always on the lookout for white porcelain. I know there are some folks who only buy designer brands, but I find I get just as many compliments on my inexpensive pieces! I actually found all of those plates at Kohl's - unfortunately it was probably back in Jan or Feb. The bow-tie one is a very large platter and the trio ones were also being sold near the serving pieces ... I imagine most folks would use it as a candy or olive dish.

I was walking through Target yesterday looking for xmas stocking stuffers and saw some nice plates. Actually, I think they may have had similar trio dishes.

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I, too, am a dish-a-holic, and I must get some of the trio plates, and the 'bow-tie' plates. Where did you find them??? I search the internet, but didn't find them. They are terrific and will be great for the seafood trio I'm planning for Christmas dinner.

I agree on the Kohl's and Target suggestions. I'd also add Cost Plus and Crate & Barrel as possible sources--sometimes you can get pretty good deals at C&B.

As for online, have you seen CB2 (Crate & Barrel's "funky" side) at http://www.cb2.com/?

IKEA is also an option, although their white isn't always as white as it could be (my white bowls, at about $1 per, are a little off white compared to the C&B stuff, as well as not being as "delicate").

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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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.

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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).

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Edited by wattacetti (log)
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wattacetti- that looks wonderful!! What lucky guests you have. $86 for plates is a bit beyond my reach as well. If worse comes to worse, I may just use a couple of asparagus spears and cross them on the plate to make sections. Or, maybe I'll serve one in a martini glass, one in spoons and the other on the plate. I have a few days yet to decide...

I really love those trio plates, though.

Stop Family Violence

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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.

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