February 2018 Class

February 2018 Class

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This menu I call “restaurant food”.  Everyone should have in their cooking repertoire a really elegant dinner menu for special occasions. I’m not saying that you can’t make this on a random Wednesday, it’s just these dishes are little on the decadent side. But isn’t that one of the reasons we love to dine at restaurants? For the pretty presentations, the beautiful sauce, and maybe a meal that is little richer than we normally eat at home? Here is “restaurant food” you can make yourself. So for today, let’s enjoy.

All my menus strive to have basic techniques and a huge make-ahead component and 2 of these recipes do, the third recipe is prepared ahead then cooked at the last moment. What are we cooking:

Celery Root and Fennel Soup:
A beautiful purée of celery root and fennel, two perfect winter root vegetables, that are cooked with leeks, garlic, stock and a little bit of milk, and then puréed into a beautiful soup that is creamy in taste but light on the calories. Top with a drizzle of pistachio oil and chopped pistachios that give it that elegant restaurant appeal.

Duck with Honey & Oranges:
Ducks are fowl, but the strange thing is the breast meat has the texture more of red meat. So, for this recipe we marinated the meat in soy, orange juice, and vinegar and then sauté it, rendering out the fat to produce a crispy skin and cook it to medium rare, similar to cooking a piece of steak. We finish the dish with a beautiful pan sauce flavored with Moscato wine and garnish with orange sections. This dish is very elegant and sophisticated.

Gâteau au Chocolate fondant de Nathalie:
Translated into English, this means “Natalie’s Chocolate Cake.” I don’t know who Natalie is, but I love her and you will too. This is my adaption of Trish Deseine’s recipe, which I first had at my sister-in-law‘s house in the Loire Valley. It is so easy to make, you won’t believe it. The rich, melted chocolate consistency and texture is just sublime. I thought if I added Frangelico & hazelnuts it would taste like a big slice of Nutella. The only difficulty with this recipe is that it’s best made the day the head so that the yummy chocolate gooeyness sets into a firm cake. Patience, my friends. It’s worth it!