Hello again. Sorry I was absent for so long (its been more than two weeks). The first week was a planned absence although I had planned to have something in reserve to put up during that time. Well, no excuses, it just didn’t work out.
After that, it just got crazy here – a house full of in-laws for my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday. Foodwise, it was a wonderful event featuring an incredible birthday cake made by my friend Pat Pettine at Sugaree Bakery (could you guess that she is a Dead Head?):
Pay no attention to the boo-boo at the corner – it was not the baker’s fault. The cake was this sumptuous white cake filled with raspberry mousse – my MIL’s favorite. The icing was a fabulous butter cream made with real butter – no scrimping at Pat’s place!
The party also featured hors d’ouvres by none other than yours truly. I was asked to make three things that folks could easily eat standing up. The fish didn’t look perfect:
but it tasted wonderful. It was made of two whole sides from a beautiful wild caught salmon. The poaching liquid was a typical court bouillon made with white wine vinegar, onion, carrot, thyme and bay. It has a very delicate flavor that does not in any way overwhelm the flavor of the salmon. I steamed the head and tail separately just for show. I had a fun time playing with fish gelee (aspic made with fish stock, used to glaze everything including the head and tail for the display). People gobbled it up, too. OK, so I am not the best at these feats of garde manger. But I loved putting that big fish out there for all to admire (????). Needless to say, everyone had comments (from “eeew” to “wow, you did that yourself?” to “how interesting”). The traditional dill sauce was served on the side along with little crostini.
The other dish was a savory profiterole stuffed with a mousse made of gorgonzola, goat and cream cheese.
Believe me, these were sensational. Nary a one was left by the time dinner (not my doing, and nicely catered) was served. I made a very simple pate a choux (something I learned at the CIA pastry class), without any sugar or salt to season it. In other words it was totally neutral. I piped them out at a very small size (about the portion of a large Hersey’s kiss) so that when they were baked they were perfect bite-sized puffs. I can’t wait until I have an excuse to do these again. Next time, I might season the choux paste with truffles or something else to complement the cheese mousse inside.
The third hors d’oeuvre was good old Jewish style chopped liver. I pulverized the heck out of it, though, and served it up like a pate. This is a real crowd pleaser. I make it with real schmaltz (chicken fat) and, of course, organic chicken liver made from pasture raised happy chickens. Yum, yum.
I’ll see you real soon with some fabulous sous vide pork belly!