Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day

I like Valentine's Day but I never go to dinner at a restaurant because it's just not as valuable as creating your own menu at home and taking the time to follow through on every step. I just wanted to capture the items in my 4-course meal here but have not outlined any recipes.

1st course: hamachi-in-a-blanket

I marinated fresh slices of hamachi in soy sauce, rice vinegar, yuzu, lemon, and pulverized cilantro. Then I wrapped the pieces in a thin crepe, tied with a chive to keep it together and topped it with wasabi tobiko. It was my dining companion's favorite of the night.

2nd course: cauliflower & basil soup,
seared scallop, truffle oil

If you don't own a chinois already then buy one. It really makes all the difference when presenting a soup and gives it that really flavorful fine restaurant quality and consistency. For this I just cooked cauliflower, a teeny bit of butter, and onions in a pot. Once they softened, I added chicken stock, salt, and pepper. I then took a hand blender, pureed everything and added chopped up basil. This ingredient really made all the difference in flavor. Once through the strainer, I added a seasoned seared scallop and dotted truffle oil on the surface.

3rd course: homemade ravioli in a saffron cream
sauce with lobster and morels

So yeah, this wasn't cheap or easy by any means but it was fun and I learned a lot! Making your own fresh homemade pasta is empowering. I highly recommend it. My ravioli kind of fell flat because it was an arduous task for a first-timer, but the stuffing worked great: goat cheese, seared endive, and bland oyster mushrooms.

The lobster is from a lobster tail and the morels were dried and rehydrated. For the sauce, I cooked stock and a little cream with shallots, used my mortar and pestle to crush up saffron, added it to the sauce and it immediately turned a brilliant yellow. I strained the sauce through mesh, then added the lobster, morels, and ravioli and cooked together for about 5 minutes.

The fourth course was a spiced carrot cake but I didn't get photos. Maybe next year.

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