I made dinner for a few friends the past weekend at my friend Ellen’s place which she has renovated with an awesome kitchen. It houses an island over 16 feet long with its own sink, wine fridge, shelves for cookbooks and a microwave, and tons of very organized storage area for all the kitchen tools and tableware. And the best of all a six burner Viking stove and french door Viking fridge. As you can imagine I was super excited to be cooking in this kitchen. Could I possibly have more surface area to work on? I think not.
These look like typical gougeres but I added a spoonful of vadouvan to the batter. They came out golden, puffed up and with a hint of earthy curry.
Raw scallops have to be one of my favorite edibles ever. And lucky for me even the anti-scallops people loved this dish. I sliced the scallops thinly and marinated it in lime and lemon juice. The salsa was made with super sweet and juicy elephant heart plums, habanero, minced onion and lemon juice. I finished it with lime zest and a scattering of minced chives. The well seeded and deveined habanero added just a hint of spice. I am becoming very addicted to this chile and its fruity flavor. If you come across a habanero cut it open and take a big whiff. The aroma is so floral and fruity and intoxicating.
My other favorite thing is salads featuring tomato (if you couldn’t tell already) and the combination of tomato and cucumber. I combined heirloom tomato, pepper and cucumber and added few slices of lemon peel stuffed olives, yogurt tahini dressing and mint. The crisp looking thing is garlic wafer which I made following the Chefs Arzak’s recipe. It is basically boiled and mashed garlic that’s been spread thinly and dehydrated in the oven. So simple but so genius. Mine got a lil over toasted because I had them in the oven with the gougeres but it made it out just in time.
Next up was something classic and homey – asparagus mornay. Mornay sauce is bechamel with the addition of cheese, in this case gruyere. The asparagus were trimmed, ends peeled and blanched in salted water. Then blanketed with the warm mornay sauce and sprinkled with serrano ham powder (another brilliant Arzak idea) and piment d’espelette, a Basque pepper.
From the moment I was planning the menu I knew I would have to cook steak bordelaise. Since I made veal stock and demi-glace I have not used any of it up. The day before dinner I salted and peppered the steaks so that it would be well seasoned and juicy. To pair with it I made a savory oatmeal sweet corn, parmesan, onion and thyme. I finished the dish with finely chopped fresh rosemary. The bordelaise sauce was so deep and flavorful. I made the sauce by reducing some red wine and adding in the demi-glace. I whisked in a bit of cold butter at the end. Bordelaise sauce rules. Period.
Dinner concluded with Ellen’s summery dessert of homemade ricotta, plum, cantaloupe and honey. It was a perfect simple end to the dinner and the ricotta was delicious.