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.

dscn2743

[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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Grilled Shrimp in Thai Curry Peanut Sauce with Cilantro and Lime

I held a rooftop party yesterday and this was one of the things on the menu. I’m amazed at how well the sauce came out. It was so good that I was drinking it.

Yields 1 quart sauce.

shrimp[100% organic, shrimp from Thailand]

For the Shrimp

  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled with tail intact, deveined
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ TBS ground tumeric
  • ½ TBS fish sauce
  • 1 tsp red curry paste
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp dried ginger

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for the shrimp and mix well. Stir the shrimp in, cover, and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Grill/sauté/bake the shrimp until cooked through then skewer shrimp.

For the Peanut Sauce

  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 TBS Thai red curry paste
  • ½ cup (fresh) peanut paste
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 TBS fish sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 TBS brown sugar

Heat the coconut milk in a pot over medium heat. Add the red curry and whisk thoroughly to blend the paste into the milk. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Take the pot off the heat, and let the sauce cool down to room temperature (or slightly warmer), and serve the sauce with the grilled shrimp.

For the Garnish

  • Fresh cilantro, picked
  • Roasted peanuts
  • Sprouts (not pictured)
  • Lime wedges

TO ASSEMBLE

Add the peanut sauce to the bottom of whatever you are using to serve, sprinkle and arrange the garnish ingredients. Place the shrimp skewer in the cup/glass and serve.

Duck with Seared Bok Choy, Wheatberries with Maitake Mushroom, Blueberry Reduction

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

I had originally planned for using farro instead of wheatberries but farro was sold out. I do like the chewiness of wheatberries compared to farro, however, I still think that farro would have been better for this dish.

Serves 6.

DSCN2195

[100% organic]

For the Duck

  • 3 Peking ducks
  • Duck bones from the duck
  • Canola oil, as needed
  • 3 onions, chopped roughly
  • 3 large carrots, chopped roughly
  • 5 celery stalks, chopped roughly
  • 1 garlic head, cut in half horizontally
  • 6 qts chicken stock
  • Bouquet garni in cheesecloth
  • Mushroom trims, if available
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375-400°F.

Butcher and quarter the duck. Manchonner the legs and score the breasts. Cut away as much fat as possible. Breakdown the carcass. Place scored breasts into the fridge.

In a large pan, sauté bones until golden brown; add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Continue sautéing on medium heat. *If using more than one duck, brown bones in the oven at 450°F.

In a saucepan, bring chicken stock to a boil.

In a separate pan, heat some oil. Season duck legs with salt and pepper, then sear in hot pan, to develop some color. Turn heat for duck legs down to medium and let it render out some fat. You only need to sear and cook the skin-side of the duck legs. The skin of the duck legs should be a golden brown color before going onto the next step.

Transfer legs, skin side up, on top of bones and vegetables. Add enough hot chicken stock to cover duck three-quarters of the way up. Add the bouquet garni, mushroom trimmings, cover with lid or aluminum foil and braise the legs until tender, about an hour. Make sure the stock is bubbling/boiling before you put it into the oven.

When legs are done, remove from oven and let it cool slightly. Strain braising liquid and reserve for the sauce. Reserve duck legs in remaining liquid and keep warm.

For the Sauce

  • 4 TBS butter
  • 3 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 500mL bottle balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • ¾ cup honey
  • 1 bottle red verjus or red wine
  • Reserved duck braising liquid
  • Bouquet garni
  • Salt & pepper

Caramelize the honey. When the honey is bubbling and golden, add the balsamic vinegar to it. Add in chopped shallots and crushed garlic. Reduce until syrupy then add in the verjus and continue to reduce until syrupy again. Next add in the hot duck braising liquid. Add a loose bouquet garni and 1 cup of the blueberries, and reduce by two-thirds. Strain through a fine sieve. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add the remaining blueberries and continue to reduce, on low-medium heat, until there is some body to the sauce. If sauce is not thickening, add some beurre manié. Keep warm until ready to serve.

For the Wheatberries

  • 1½ cups wheatberries
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 packets maitake mushrooms, base removed

Combine the wheatberries, salt, and chicken stock in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the wheatberries are tender, about 20-40 minutes. Taste often as it is cooking, you want it to be toothsome and retain some structure. Remove from heat, drain any excess liquid, and set aside. Reserve liquid for reheating.

Sweat onions and simultaneously sauté maitake mushrooms in another pan. Fold onions and mushrooms into wheatberries.

For the Finnish

  • 6 heads bok choy, halved lengthwise
  • Canola oil
  • Salt

In a very hot pan, sear bok choy. Season right after removing from heat.

TO ASSEMBLE

Preheat oven to 500°F.

Season duck breasts with salt & pepper, turn heat to low and place a large pan on the stove. Place breast in the pan with skin-side down. Render the fat to all the breasts slowly. Every 5 minutes, pour away rendered fat. After 20-30 minutes, turn breast around and cook flesh side for 3 seconds and remove from pan and place on a wire rack, skin-side up, to rest.

For the braised legs, cut along the joint to separate leg and thigh. Only add a little braising liquid to the pan and have legs and thighs skin-side up. Place on low heat and once braising liquid starts to bubble and reduce, spoon the liquid over all the legs every 5 minutes. When the legs have reached a nice glaze color to them, keep warm and set aside.

Flash heat the duck breasts in the hot oven for 3-5 minutes. Take it out and let it rest for a minute before you start slicing. Plate to your liking or in picture.

Citrus Marinaded Quail with Parsnip Purée, Arugula, Pea Leaves Salad, and Satsuma

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

I’m really happy the way this dish turned out. It’s EXACTLY how I pictured it!

Serves 6.

DSCN2173

[100% organic]

For the Citrus Marinade

  • 6 semi-boneless butterflied quail
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 2 oranges, zested and juiced
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 1 TBS sesame oil
  • 3 TBS EVOO
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 3 TBS soy sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1-inch ginger roots, peeled and finely minced
  • Pinch of salt

In a large bowl, mix together all marinading ingredients and add quail. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

For the Parsnip Purée

  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup butter
  • EVOO, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Place parsnips along with thyme and bay leaf in a tray and season with EVOO, salt, and pepper. Cover with foil and roast for 40 minutes.

Remove parnips from tray and place in a bowl along with cream and butter. Smash with a fork and mix thoroughly. Adjust seasoning.

Keep warm before serving.

For the Quail

  • Marinaded quail
  • Leftover marinade, for basting
  • Canola oil
  • Salt and freshly grounded pepper

Remove quail from bowl and reserve mixture for basting.

In a hot pan, add canola oil and sear quail breast-side down on high heat. Turn heat to medium and be sure to press down. Flip quail after 5 minutes while basting continuously. Cook on the other side for 1-2 minutes and remove from pan. Rest quail before slicing.

For the Salad

  • 4 satsuma mandarins, peeled
  • 6 cups arugula
  • 6 cups pea leaves
  • Citrus Vinaigrette or other simple dressings (such as EVOO + lemon juice)
  • Salt

Peel satsumas, simply dress the greens before plating.

TO ASSEMBLE

Slice quail into 2 sections: wing & breast and leg. Spoon parsnip purée onto plate, place salad greens nicely and arrange quail along the plate.

Ginger Panna Cotta with Black Sesame Gelée & Blueberry Compote

This was the last/fourth course to my 2012 Thanksgiving dinner.

I don’t have a sweet tooth so I really didn’t mind that this was more like a palate cleanser. But my friend, a pastry chef, exclaimed that this dessert needed sugar!!! So we made a blueberry compote and drizzled honey on the panna cottas.

And as you can see, more excess of blueberries.

[100% organic]

For the Ginger Panna Cotta

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 6 TBS grated ginger
  • 2 TBS ground ginger
  • Pinch of salt
  • 7 gelatin sheets

Bloom gelatin sheets in iced water. In a saucepan, add the milk and heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Add the ginger, honey, and salt. Stir until everything is incorporated. Let it steep for 20 minutes. Add in gelatin and mix until gelatin is incorporated.

Strain into a large measuring cup. Spray molds with canola oil and pour into molds. Refrigerate until set, for at least 6 hours.

For the Black Sesame Gelée

  • ½ cup black sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 5 gelatin sheets

Bloom gelatin sheets in iced water.

Grind toasted sesame seeds in a spice grinder, set aside.

In a small saucepan, add water, sugar, and gelatin. Make sure gelatin has melted completely before adding the ground sesame seeds. Stir until mixture is homogenous and do not bring to a boil.

Spray molds with canola oil and pour into molds. Refrigerate until set, for at least 60 minutes.

For the Blueberry Compote

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • Lemon wedge
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 2 TBS water
  • Honey
  • White sesame seeds

Chop blueberries in half, then place in a pot/pan with other ingredients. Cook until fully macerated then remove from heat.

TO ASSEMBLE

Depending on how you present, you may have to do the gelée before you do the panna cotta.

Using a cake tester, carefully loosen the panna cotta from the molds and plate to your liking. The gelée will come out from the molds easier.

Drizzle honey over the panna cotta, then spoon the compote over and sprinkle with some white sesame seeds.

Duck with Blueberry Sage Sauce & Potato Herb Salad

This was the main/third course to my 2012 Thanksgiving dinner.

I love duck so much! I would make this everyday if making the sauce didn’t take me forever!!!! Oh, and this sauce was UHHHH-MAZING!!!!! OMG! I could drink the sauce!!!

[100% organic]

For the Duck

  • 2 Peking ducklings
  • Duck bones from the duck
  • Canola oil, as needed
  • 1 large onion, chopped roughly
  • 3 large carrots, chopped roughly
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped roughly
  • 8 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 16 cups chicken stock
  • Bouquet garni – 2 bay leaves, 6 thyme sprigs, 2 TBS whole black peppercorns, bunch of parsley stems
  • Mushroom trims, if available
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450°F and brown bones. Once bones are done, set temperature to 400°F. Put bones into a deep oven-proof tray.

Butcher and quarter the duck. Manchonner the legs and score the breasts. Cut away as much fat as possible. Breakdown the carcass. Place scored breasts into the fridge.

In a pan, sauté onions, carrots, celery, and mushroom trims. Remove once somewhat caramelized and place in deep tray, around the bones. In a saucepan, bring chicken stock to a boil.

In a separate pan, heat some oil. Season duck legs with salt and pepper, then sear in hot pan, to develop some color. Turn heat for duck legs down to medium and let it render out some fat. You only need to sear and cook the skin-side of the duck legs. The skin of the duck legs should be a golden brown color before going onto the next step.

Transfer legs, skin side up, on top of bones and vegetables in the deep tray. Add enough hot chicken stock to cover duck three-quarters of the way up. Add the bouquet garni, garlic, cover with lid or aluminum foil and braise the legs until tender, about an hour. Make sure the stock is bubbling/boiling before you put it into the oven.

When legs are done, remove from oven and let it cook slightly. Strain braising liquid and reserve for the sauce. Reserve duck legs in some remaining braising liquid and keep warm.

For the Sauce

  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 cups Shiraz
  • 3 TBS butter
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 8 cups duck braising liquid, hot
  • 1 cup sage leaves, more for garnish
  • Bouquet garni – 1 bay leaf, 3 thyme sprigs, 1 TBS whole black peppercorns, bunch of parsley stems
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • Salt & pepper

Caramelize the honey. When the honey is bubbling and golden, add the Shiraz to it. Add in chopped shallots and crushed garlic. Reduce until syrupy then add in the hot duck braising liquid. Add a loose bouquet garni and 1 cup of sage, and reduce by two-thirds. Strain through a fine sieve. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Continue to reduce, on low-medium heat, until there is some body to the sauce. Add the fresh blueberries and cook until berries are soft and release their juices. If sauce is not thickening, add some beurre manié. Keep warm until ready to serve.

For the Potato Herb Salad

  • 1 lb mixed colored Pee Wee potatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • ½ cup parsley leaves
  • 20 chives, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 head frisée, only white and light green parts
  • ½ cup shallots, finely minced
  • EVOO
  • Salt & pepper

Boil potatoes in cold water and add bay leaf and thyme. Cook until tender. Let potatoes cool in its cooking liquid. Cut potatoes in half or thin rounds, then set aside.

Frisée and herbs should be washed before cutting. Before serving, frisée should be kept in ice water and chives & parsley should be covered with a damp paper towel.

TO ASSEMBLE

Preheat oven to 500°F.

Season duck breasts with salt & pepper, turn heat to low and place a large pan on the stove. Place breast in the pan with skin-side down. Render the fat to all the breasts slowly. Every 5 minutes, pour away rendered fat. After 20-30 minutes, turn breast around and cook flesh side for 3 seconds and remove from pan and place on a wire rack, skin-side up, to rest.

For the braised legs, cut along the joint to separate leg and thigh. Only add a little braising liquid to the pan and have legs and thighs skin-side up. Place on low heat and once braising liquid starts to bubble and reduce, spoon the liquid over all the legs every 5 minutes. When the legs have reached a nice glaze color to them, keep warm and set aside.

In a salad spinner, dry the frisée leaves. In a pan, sweat the shallots in some olive oil then add cut potatoes. Once warm, remove from heat. Add frisée and herbs to potatoes. Season with salt & pepper, and EVOO.

Flash heat the duck breasts in the hot oven for 5 minutes. Take it out and let it rest for a minute before you start slicing. One portion includes: half a breast, either the leg or thigh, warm salad, and sauce. Plate to your liking or in picture (above).

Honey Glazed Lamb Chops with Cauliflower-Potato Mash, Parsnips, Fried Scallions & a Sweet Cherry Sauce

I had leftover sweet and sour cherry sauce from the duck that I made yesterday and I didn’t want to waste it / leave it in a pint container in my fridge… because who knows when I’ll be able to use it again/cook again. My life is so busy now and I only have time to unwind during my days off, which are on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

I think this dish might have had too many things going on all at once. At least, I know this and I can prepare something better the next time I make something similar to this.

[100% organic]

For the Parsnips

  • 2 parsnips, quartered lengthwise
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F and peel parsnips. Quarter them lengthwise and toss with olive oil and salt & pepper. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown and tips begin to burn. Reserve and keep warm.

For the Creamer Potatoes

  • 8 creamer potatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 TBS black peppercorns
  • ½ garlic head
  • Salt

In a pot of lightly salted cold water, boil potatoes with bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, and garlic. Bring to a boil and simmer at low heat for 20 minutes.

Cool in boiling liquid while you work on the other parts.

For the Cauliflower-Potato Mash

  • 1 cauliflower head, white parts only
  • 1 small Yukon gold potato
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 TBS parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper

I boiled the Yukon gold with the creamer potatoes. Chop the cauliflower into small pieces and place in a pot with enough water to cover. Boil until tender, approximately 15-20 minutes.

Drain well, and transfer to a bowl with the cooked and chopped Yukon gold potato. Using a masher or fork, mash the cauliflower + potato until slightly chunky. Season, then add in the milk. Taste for seasoning then mix in parsley and keep warm.

For the Sauce

For the Lamb Chops

  • 4 lamb chops, trimmed
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 2 TBS butter
  • Olive oil
  • Honey
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper

Take lamb chops out from fridge 20 minutes before cooking. Season chops with salt and pepper then in a pan, melt butter and add splashes of olive oil. Once hot, add thyme and sear all sides of chops. Remove from hot pan and place on a wire rack, on top of a sheet tray lined with foil.

In a 475°F oven, bake for 15-20 minutes to medium-done. Take out and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. While hot, brush with honey.

For the Finish

  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Parsley, finely chopped
  • Oil, for frying
  • Salt

In a pan, heat some oil for frying. Fry sliced scallions, drain oil, and season with salt. Set aside.

TO ASSEMBLE

Slice the lamb chops to check for doneness.

Spoon the cauliflower-potato mash, spoon the sauce around it, arrange the lamb chops and parsnips over the mash, place the halved creamer potatoes around and top with fried scallions. Sprinkle excess chopped parsley over everything.