Triple Layered Chocolate Tart with Raspberry Sorbet, Pistachio & Sea Salt

This was the final course to my 6-course Friendsgiving party for 3 people.

It sounds decadent and it is but it was not overwhelming! I totally got seconds!

Makes a 9-inch tart.

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[100% organic]

For the Sorbet

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 cups raspberries
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Make simple syrup with the sugar and water.

Place the raspberries and lemon juice in a food processor and process until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh chinois and discard the solids.

Whisk the simple syrup into the raspberry purée. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour.

Whisk the raspberry mixture to recombine. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

For the Chocolate Tart

Chocolate Base

  • 250 g chocolate cookies, or similar
  • 60 g butter, melted

In a food processor, pulse the cookies into crumbs and press into an oiled/buttered tart pan. Place in fridge to set for at least 30 minutes.

Chocolate Filling

  • 250 g dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa
  • 350 mL heavy cream (almost 1½ cups)
  • 75 g sugar
  • 2 TBS honey
  • 2 TBS rum

Place the cream, sugar, and honey in a saucepan over low heat and bring to a boil. Add rum then remove from heat.

Meanwhile, break the chocolate into a large heatproof bowl. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate pieces and whisk until smooth. Allow to cool to 86°F.

Pour the chocolate filling over the cookie crumb base and return to the fridge to set for at least 2 hours.

Chocolate Glaze

  • 63 g water
  • 88 g sugar
  • 63 mL heavy cream
  • 28 g cocoa powder
  • 1¼ gelatin leaves
  • 20 g dark chocolate, chopped

Pour the water and sugar into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the cream and cocoa and simmer for 5 minutes. While the sauce is simmering, bloom the gelatin into a bowl of cold, iced water then squeeze out any excess water when soft.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, whisk in the chocolate and bloomed gelatin and strain through a fine sieve. Leave to cool to about 86°F, stirring occasionally.

Carefully pour the cooled glaze over the tart and return to the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

For the Finish

  • Ground pistachio
  • Flakey sea salt

TO ASSEMBLE

Slice tart with hot knife, quenelle sorbet over bed of ground pistachios. Garnish with crushed flakey sea salt.

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Crisp Octopus with Celeriac & Garlic Purées, Miso Cuttlefish Ink, and Asian Pear

This was the third course to my 6-course Friendsgiving party for 3 people.

This dish is of my creation and it has been on the a la carte menu at my job, as of September, so I do not wish to share the recipe (yet).

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[100% organic, Portuguese octopus]

{no recipe}

Plans for Thanksgiving 2016

It’s that time of year again… when I start planning for my annual Friendsgiving menu at the end of August for the end of November. I like to plan ahead. It’s not like I set any kind of alarm in my calendar, it just pops into my head randomly towards the end of the summer.

*edit November 14*

2016 has not been a great year, personal struggles and the revelation of our next president. I am also physically exhausted all the time now so I don’t feel like overachieving in my menu for this year. It’s going to be a small, intimate dinner with my brother and best friend. I want to do something easy (in my terms) and spend quality time with quality company.

Kabocha, Ricotta, Caramelized Pearl Onion
Avocado, Bulgarian Feta, Sunflower Seeds
Brussels Sprouts, Capers, Cashew Cream
Selection of Crostini

Onion Leek Soup
Shoestring Potatoes, Crispy Herbs, Chive Oil
1st Course

Day Boat Scallops
Grapefruit, Brown Butter, Marcona Almond
2nd Course

Crisp Octopus
Celeriac & Garlic Purées, Miso Cuttle-Fish Ink Paste, Asian Pear
3rd Course

Duck Leg Confit Pasta
7 Spice, Homemade Fettuccine, Basil Breadcrumbs
4th Course

Duck Breast
Parmesan Truffle Risotto, Maitake Mushroom,
Roasted Shallots, Spinach
5th Course

Triple Layered Dark Chocolate Tart
Raspberry Sorbet, Pistachio, Sea Salt
6th Course

Crab & Tiger Shrimp over Hand Cut Noodles in a Mentaiko Dashi Butter

Last month when I celebrated my birthday, I went to Tuome for dinner. I’ve been wanting to go there since they opened in 2014. The best thing I ate was the snow crab noodles that I had read about. And it was absolutely amazing!!!!! And currently the best thing that I’ve ate in NYC. I just wish there was more snow crab. Last week I went back to Tuome just to have the noodles again along with some duck confit mini brioche burgers.

Last night, I was craving for those noodles again so I decided to make it myself. This took me 2 hours, with another hour for resting the pasta/dough, so 3 hours total but totally worth it. I can’t afford buying snow crab meat so I bought regular lump crab meat.

Serves 4-6.

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[100% organic, sustainable seafood]

For the Noodles

  • 400 g 00 flour
  • 4 eggs + 2 yolks, beaten
  • 1 TBS EVOO
  • Salt

In a bowl, add the flour and make a well in the center. Add in the beaten eggs and yolks, EVOO, and pinch of salt. Using a rubber spatula, start mixing the dry into the wet ingredients. Continue kneading the dough on the counter top until dough is elastic (8-10 minutes). Wrap in plastic and place somewhere warm-ish, allow to rest for 1 hour.

Cut the dough into smaller pieces and roll out to your preference of thickness. Using a sharp knife, fold dough (to make it easier to cut) and slice to your width preference.

Lay cut noodles spread out to dry a bit before cooking.

For the Dashi

  • 2 quarts cold tap water
  • 4 pieces kombu
  • 2 cups bonito flakes, packed

Pour the cold water into a pot and add the kombu. Bring to a simmer on low-medium heat. Do not allow to boil. Once simmering, turn off heat. Discard kombu and add in the bonito flakes. Allow to infuse for 20 minutes or longer, until you need it.

For the Seafood

  • 1.5 lbs tiger shrimp (21/25)
  • ½ lb lump crab meat
  • Ground ginger
  • Salt
  • Canola oil

Pick through crab meat to remove any random shell parts.

Remove the shells and veins from the shrimp. In a pan, heat up some oil. Sear shrimp and season with salt and ground ginger. Add some water/dashi and cover to continue cooking thoroughly. Remove, set aside, and keep warm.

For the Finish

  • ¼ cup spicy mentaiko
  • Dashi (from above)
  • Noodles (from above)
  • Red pepper flakes, as needed
  • Butter, as needed
  • Beurre manié, as needed
  • Chives, finely cut
  • Salt

In a large pot of salted water, cook noodles until al dente.

In a large sauté pan on medium heat, melt ½ pound unsalted butter. Add in 2 cups of dashi, the mentaiko, some chili flakes, some chives, and continue to emulsify on low heat. Add some beurre manié to make sauce thick, if needed. Add in the cooked noodles and reserved shrimp then toss to coat. Taste for seasoning and adjust.

Plate noodles with sauce, top with picked crab and more cut chives.

*Inspired by Tuome.

Crispy Soft-Shelled Crab with Three-Grain Risotto & Tiger Shrimp

Yesterday in NYC, it was raining all day. Miserable. Grey. Cold. Rain. It has been spring for the past two weeks and all of a sudden, the polar vortex is back, and winter is coming – again. I was waiting for the rain to stop so that I could go out and buy ingredients for clam chowder but then I thought, clam chowder is so much work and it takes 40 minutes to cook. So I made this instead and it was equally comforting.

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Serves 2.

For the Risotto

  • ½ cup quinoa
  • ½ cup farro
  • ½ cup steel-cut oats
  • 3½ cups stock (I used a blend of fish stock, dashi stock, clam and mussel liquor)
  • Parmesan, as needed
  • ¼ cup strained Greek yogurt
  • 2 TBS chopped parsley
  • 2 TBS chopped chives
  • 12 tiger shrimp, shelled & deveined
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • Lemon wedges
  • Canola oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Cook risotto the old fashioned way or put everything (grains and stock, seasonings) into a rice cooker and wait for that beep. I did the latter since it was a miserable, rainy Monday.

When the risotto is done, set aside, and season shrimp with salt and freshly ground black pepper. In a pan, heat some canola oil and sear the shrimp. Once shrimp is almost cooked, add the white wine and cover until alcohol has burned off. Remove lid and fold in risotto. Grate in parmesan to your taste, add yogurt and herbs. Taste for seasoning and adjust with lemon juice. Keep risotto warm while frying crabs.

For the Crab

  • 4 soft-shelled crabs
  • AP flour, as needed
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Oil for frying
  • Lime wedge

Clean crabs by cutting off their face (I know it sounds so mean), pulling off their aprons (butt flap?), and pull the points of their shell back to reveal their gills and remove those on each side.

Heat oil for frying. Season crabs with salt and freshly ground pepper. Then dress crabs in AP flour and tap crabs to remove excess flour. Fry for 3-5 minutes. Remove and place on wire-rack. Squeeze some lime over and lightly season with salt.

For the Finish

  • Arugula
  • Lime wedge
  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Toss greens with salt, lime, and EVOO before serving.

TO ASSEMBLE

Spoon risotto into a bowl, place arugula salad in the middle, and top with crispy soft-shelled crab.

Cuttlefish Ink Risotto with Calamari, Tomato Concassé, Shichimi & Parsley

There was this dish at work that I wanted to eat but I never got the chance to have the entire dish because my days off are the same days when the restaurant is closed. So I kind of recreated it at home. It doesn’t have the sea urchin on it because I can’t splurge on a tray of fresh sea urchin on myself… with company yes but I would feel so gluttonous if I ate the entire tray alone.

I have some grated cheese in my seafood risottos. I don’t understand the taboo about not putting cheese with seafood. It works for me and I think it helps to bind the rice together.

Serves 2.

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[Calamari from Connecticut, Cuttlefish Ink from Spain]

For the Tomato Concassé

  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 5 plum tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 3 thyme sprigs, picked without the thick stems
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Boil a pot of water that can fit the tomatoes. Core out tomatoes and make an “X” with a paring knife on the top of each tomato. Have a bowl of ice water on hand. Once water is boiling, cook tomatoes for 30 seconds and immediately place in ice water.

Once tomatoes are cooled, remove from ice water bath and peel skin off. Remove seeds and insides of tomato. Dice tomato into small cubes and set aside.

In a sauté pan and on low-medium heat, add enough olive oil to coat the pan. Sweat the onions, tomatoes, garlic, thyme for 30 minutes. Season lightly with salt. Cool and set aside.

For the Calamari

  • 1 lb calamari, tubes and tentacles
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Shichimi
  • Lemon juice

Clean/rinse the tubes and cut into thin strips. Save one third for garnishing and the rest for cooking within the risotto (below).

For the garnish, sauté/broil the calamari and season with salt, pepper, shichimi, and lemon juice. Keep warm and set aside.

For the Risotto

  • 1½ quarts fish stock
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • ¾ cup Arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • Reserved cut calamari strips and tentacles
  • 1 TBS cuttlefish ink
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan, for grating
  • Parsley, finely chopped

The fish stock should be hot/simmering before adding into the cooking pan for the risotto.

In a pan on medium-low heat, heat the olive oil. Sweat the onions until translucent. Stir in the rice and make sure the oil fully coats the rice. Cook until the ends of the rice are transparent, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Then add in the wine and cook until completely absorbed and the alcohol has evaporated.

Add 1 cup of the hot stock and simmer, stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the bottom of the pan is almost dry. Adding ½ cup stock at a time, stir until almost all the liquid has been absorbed between each addition. Be careful not to let the bottom of the pan dry out. Continue to stir often, and repeat until the rice is almost al dente. Add in two-thirds of the tomato concassé into the rice. Then add in the reserved calamari and season lightly with salt. When the calamari is cooked, add in the ink and fully incorporate ink into rice.

Before rice is finished and taken off heat, grate in some parmesan cheese and taste/adjust for seasoning.

TO ASSEMBLE

Scoop hot rice into bowl, garnish with sautéed/broiled calamari, remaining tomato concassé, and parsley.

Cockles with Wilted Baby Spinach in a Scallion Thyme Broth

I have the biggest news! My friend told me that there is a freaking seafood market near me, called Dorian’s Seafood Market! It’s just a few blocks away from me and OMG, I went there this morning and I’m so exhilarated! I finally have somewhere to shop for real, fresh seafood. Not like the “plastic” crap they sell at Whole Foods here in NYC. I don’t have to venture to lower Manhattan to Chinatown to get seafood anymore. Plus, the quality of seafood at Dorian’s is much better (and safer) than what gets sold in Chinatown. However, if I want live shrimp and live crab, I’ll still have to get it from Chinatown.

It is 22°C in NYC right now and it’s December 24. I’m thankful that it’s not winter nor snowing because I don’t like that. It’s wonderful, this Xmas Eve.

Serves 1.

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[Cockles farmed from New Zealand]

  • 1 TBS butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 4 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 2 lbs cockles
  • ½ cup white wine
  • Handful baby spinach
  • 1 TBS parsley, finely minced
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Soak the cockles in salted cold water for 20 minutes.

In a pan, melt the butter and sweat the garlic, thyme, and scallions. Turn the heat to high and add the cockles and white wine. Toss and shake the pan. Close the lid and cook for 7 minutes. Before the cockles are ready, add in the spinach and parsley. Throw away any unopened cockles.

Serve with toasted bread.