Onion Leek Soup with Shoestring Potatoes & Fried Herbs

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

I think I saw this in Bon Appétit Magazine two years ago and I thought that I would use it this year. It was originally going to be on last year’s menu but I ran out of time.

Serves 3.

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[100% organic]

For the Soup

  • ¼ cup butter (half stick)
  • 3 large leeks, white & pale green parts only
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ head garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Slice leeks in half lengthwise, wash out the sand/dirt and thinly slice crosswise.

Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Add and sweat the leeks, onion, and garlic, and season with salt. Stirring often, cook until the vegetables begin to soften. Add ½ cup water and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft, 15–20 minutes.

Turn off heat and add the milk, cream, and yogurt. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Turn heat back on and adding water, by ¼-cupfuls, until the soup is thick enough to hold potatoes without sinking but thin enough that a spoon dragged across the top doesn’t leave a trail. Adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

For the Finish

  • 1 Idaho potato
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 4 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • 2 basil sprigs
  • Salt
  • Chive oil

Peel potato and cut into thin matchsticks. Rinse potato in a colander under cold water until water runs clear; pat dry completely. Pick all the herbs and set aside.

Fit a medium saucepan (with thermometer) and pour in oil to measure 2”. Heat over medium-high until thermometer is at 350°F. Working in batches and returning the oil to 350°F between batches, add potato by the handful and fry until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. Using a spider, transfer potatoes to paper towels to drain. Fry herbs until parsley is translucent, about 15 seconds. Season with salt after each batch.

For extra crispiness, place in dehydrator or 110°F oven.

Serve soup topped with a nest of potatoes and herbs, and a drizzle of chive oil.

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Lemon Tart

Since last Thanksgiving, I’ve been making this tart about every two weeks. That’s much more frequently than before when I would just make it once or twice a year. I have definitely been eating a lot more desserts, that is at home or outside in restaurants. I’ve been making a lot more ice-creams too.

Makes 8-inch tart.

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For Pâte Sablée (Short Bread dough)

  • 150 g butter (softened to room temperature)
  • 90 g powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 255 g cake flour (sifted)
  • 1-2 TBS cold water (optional)
  • Butter, as needed, for tart pan

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Using a rubber spatula or spoon, flatten out butter and powdered sugar. Add yolk one by one and then add sifted cake flour. If you don’t have cake flour, substitute with pastry/AP flour (for every 1 cup of pastry/AP flour, remove 1 TBS of it and add 1 TBS cornstarch). Mix slowly to combine. If dry, add the cold water. Form into a ball and flatten it, wrap with plastic and place in refrigerator until firm.

Butter the tart pan and put in freezer.

In between two sheets of parchment paper/plastic wrap/SilPats, roll dough to 1/16 inch. Carefully place into buttered pan, press into place and roll over the top of the pan to remove excess hanging dough. Using a fork, puncture tart shell with holes. Blind bake with weights for 20 minutes. Remove weights and continue baking until golden.

Reserve shell at room temperature before pouring in the tart filling. Lower oven to 300°F.

For the Tart Filling

  • Pinch of flour
  • Butter, as needed
  • 5 eggs
  • 6 lemons: zested, and 150 g juice
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 150 g heavy cream

Zest lemons and mix the juices together. Infuse for as long as possible.

In a bowl, add the eggs and sugar. Whisk until fully incorporated. Add cream, mix lightly and continue to whisk. Stir in lemon juice, zest, and pinch of flour. Skim the foam off. Strain before putting it into the cooled pastry shell.

Bake 25-30 minutes. When removing from oven, the custard should jiggle. Cool on wire rack and serve with fresh berries and whipped cream.

Warm Pear Tart with Spiced Crème Chantilly

This was the final course to my 5-course Friendsgiving party for 6 people. When I was thinking about what to make, peaches were still in season. Then I’ve done apple tarts so many times already so I really didn’t want to make it again so I settled for pears! But once again, it looks and tasted amaaaazing!

Makes 8-inch tart.

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[100% organic]

For the Tart Shell

  • 100 g AP flour
  • 100 g cake flour
  • 100 g cold butter, small cubes
  • Pinch of salt
  • 40 g sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 TBS water, whisked

Preheat oven to 400°F. Sift both flours on work surface, mix sugar and salt into it. Using a bench scraper, cut with cold butter (sablay). Create a well, and add the egg-water. Working quickly, compress the dough using the palm of your hand piece by piece (fraisage). Form the dough flat and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.

Butter the tart mold and place in freezer.

For the Compote

  • 3 large Asian pears peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 50 g sugar
  • 30 g water

Add all the ingredients into a saucepan and cook on medium-low until slightly chunky and dry, approximately 10-15 minutes. Cool over ice.

For the Garnish

  • 2-3 Bosc pears
  • 50 g butter, melted

Peel pears and cut in half. Remove the seeds and cut the halved pears in half again. Mandolin them but not too thin and rub lemon juice over each slice.

Take the dough out of the fridge and brush off excess flour. Roll dough into a thin layer larger than the tart mold. Carefully place over tart mold and press into buttered mold.

Layer all of the cooled compote into the mold, tightly arrange mandolin pears over the top but do not hang over the edges. Brush melted butter over everything.

Bake for 10 minutes at 400°F, then turn temperate down to 350°F and continue baking for 50 minutes.

For the Finish

  • 150 g apricot juice
  • 30 g water
  • 20 g sugar

Mix together, reduce until thick, and brush on after tart is slightly cooled, out of oven.

For the Crème Chantilly

  • 300 mL heavy cream
  • 25 g confectioner’s sugar
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients into an iSi dispenser and charge twice. Place in refrigerator.

Serve whipped cream with slice of warm tart.

Roasted Beets with Mascarpone, Apple Salad & Chive Oil

This was the fourth course to my 7-course Friendsgiving party for 8 people.

Originally, I had planned this course near the beginning but since there are a lot of protein courses following each other, I changed the course and decided to use this salad as a palate cleanser. I wanted to update this dish. I don’t like the white goat cheese that comes in logs… Like, I really do not like it. So I opted for mascarpone instead.

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Serves 6-8.

For the Beets

  • 7 large red beets
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 2 TBS EVOO

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with foil and generously salt the bottom layer. Place the beets on top of the salt layer. Season well and add 2 TBS of olive oil. Wrap up the beets and place them in the hot oven for 45-60 minutes, until done.

Remove the beets, set aside to cool, then peel them. Cut them into small squares when cool. Save scraps for beet purée.

For the Chive Oil

  • 1 large bundle of chives, 1-inch in diameter
  • 1 cup neutral oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Blanch chives then squeezing excess water out, place in blender. Blend until it’s a purée then on a low speed, add in the oil and season. Strain through a mesh chinois before placing it into a squeeze bottle.

For the Apple Salad & Finish

  • 6 oz. mascarpone
  • 3 tart apples
  • 2 lemons, suprêmed
  • Chive oil, as needed
  • 2 cups pea leaves
  • Beet scraps, for purée
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • Salt

Bring mascarpone to room temperature.

Purée beet scraps, season with salt, then set aside.

Suprême the lemons and chop roughly. Peel the apples and dice into small squares. Toss with chopped lemon segments with chive oil and salt.

Using a wooden spoon, press and mix mascarpone until it is soft. Then toss in cubed beets and pine nuts. Adjust taste with salt and pepper.

TO ASSEMBLE

Spoon beet purée onto plate. Using a ring mold, put beets 75% of the way up the ring mold. Top with apple salad then carefully remove ring mold.

In a separate bowl, toss pea leaves with chive oil and salt. Carefully place a small portion of the pea leaves over each mold. Drizzle with chive oil and serve.

Apple & Lemon Tarts

This was the fifth and final course to my 5-course Friendsgiving party for 6 people.

I had originally planned for this really complicated work of art but since I’m not a pastry chef, I just wanted to give myself an easy dessert course. Easy, meaning, no soils, no foams, no gelées, no silicone molds, no siphons etc… And also, I am off on Thanksgiving so I should give myself a somewhat “light” cooking day. Haha, this is what I L.O.V.E. to do: hosting multi-course dinner parties.

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[100% organic]

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Sorry, no recipe for the Apple Tart but Lemon Tart is here.

Butternut Ginger Soup with Pistachio

This was the first course to my 5-course Friendsgiving party for 6 people.

For the taste of the soup, it all depends on your tolerance of the spiciness of ginger. I prefer using freshly pressed ginger than using ginger powder. I like the soup to have a kick at the end from the ginger.

Serves 6, with 2-3 more helpings.

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[100% organic]

For the Soup

  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 1½ – 2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4-inch ginger root, peeled and juiced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ cups heavy cream

In a large pot, heat up olive oil and sweat onions until translucent. Add garlic and star anise and continue sweating for another minute. Add in chopped butternut squash, carrots, and celery and fill enough water to almost cover. Bring mixture up to a boil and down to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes.

After 30 minutes, add in ginger juice. Taste, season, adjust for seasoning and continue cooking for the allotted time.

After 45 minutes, remove star anise from pot and turn off heat. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth. Add in cream and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Keep warm before serving.

For the Garnish

  • 1 cup pistachios, ground

When grinding the pistachios, be careful not to over grind or else the oils from the nut will leech out and mixture will be wet.

TO ASSEMBLE

In warmed soup bowls, ladle hot soup into the bowl, then spoon 1 TBS of ground pistachios into the center. Or you may pour soup table-side.