One day left until I leave Paris and get on a plane to San Francisco. Yipppeeeee!!!! Cooking in the 3-star restaurant I work at is unbearable right now. We are all dying to get out. This month we’ve been working 6 days a week to pay back for our vacation time which makes no sense to me – c’est comme ça in our traditional French restaurant.
Seriously, if I have to de-feather, de-bone, gut, and cook another fowl I think I’ll slit my wrists. Nonetheless, I made this menu for some friends that are leaving the restaurant – and there are no birds in this meal.
And one more thing – HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! Gros Bisous and well wishes for a relaxing Holiday season and fun filled New Year!!! Thank you for all the support, wonderful comments, and inspiring emails that you have provided me over this last year!!!
Red and Black Caviar Amuse Bouches
Black Truffle Slices on Warm Crostini
Veuve Cliquot Champagne
Tuna Tartar with Pearls of Japan & Avocado
Moet & Chandon Rosé Champagne
Carrot and Red Pepper Double Soup
Magnum Jordan Pinot Noir, Nicole’s Vineyard 1999
Leg of Lamb with Herb Potatoes
Spiced Persimmon Purée with Vanilla Ice Cream & Pecan Caramel
15-16 small fingerling potatoes
A small jar of black caviar or roe (I cheated and didn’t use real caviar)
Package of belini’s
Red caviar or roe
1. Trim potatoes on both ends so they stand up straight. With a small melon baller scoop out half of flesh. Cook in boiling salted water for 7 minutes or until cooked. Remove and chill until ready to fill.
2. Zest one whole lemon. Save half for decoration and finely chop the rest. Add chopped zest to creme fraiche. Fill potatoes with creme and top with a teaspoon of caviar and one zest peel.
3. For the red caviar appetizer simply place a teaspoon of hummous on a belini and top with a teaspoon of red caviar.
Truffles on Toast
One baguette sliced
Fleur de sel
1. With a mandoline slice truffle into rounds about 1/8″ of an inch thick. Thicker if your budget can allow it!
2. Make crostini with the baguette by placing sliced rounds on a baking sheet. Sprinkile olive oil over pan and bread and bake at 350˚K until bread is toasty. Top with a slice of truffle, a sprinkle of fleur de sel – and that’s it!
Tuna Tartar with Pearls of Japan
1 small box of pearls of japan
Fresh herbs: chives, tarragon, chervil
1 carrot brunoised
1 zuchinni brunoised (just the green skin)
Rocket or fancy small lettuce leaves
1 Kilo of sushi grade tuna
1. Make half the box of pearls of Japan and follow instructions on box. Blanch brunoised carrot and zucchini in boiling water for one minute and mix with pearls and 1 T of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. In a blender or with a hand mixer blend half a bunch of tarragon, chives, and chervil with 1/3 cup of olive oil. Strain.
3. Chop tuna into small pieces and mix with a few tablespoons of herb oil, salt, pepper, and 1 T of lemon juice (not too much or it will cook the tuna).
4. Mash avocadoes and add lime juice to taste, salt, pepper, and a few dashes of tabasco
5. Layer salad in a ring mold of choice with tuna, avocado, pearls of japan, and some lettuce (dressed in the herb oil) on the top
Carrot and Red Pepper Double Soup (Alice Waters)
1 Bag Carrots
3 Red Peppers
6 cups chicken stock
Salt and Pepper
1. Peel and chop carrots. Heat a skillet on medium and add a few tablespoons of olive oil. Cook carrots until soft (don’t brown!). Add carrots to a big pot with 2 cups of chicken stock. Blend with a hand mixer. Add more chicken stock as necessary to create a thick soup consistency. Season with salt and pepper
2. De-seed and chop red peppers. Repeat instructions above but add to a separate pot and start with one cup of chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper The soups should have the same consistency
3. When ready to serve ladel carrot soup in first and then the red pepper soup in the middle. The pepper soup will form a flower shape.
4. Garnish with yogurt or creme fraiche and chives
Leg of Lamb with Herb Potatoes
Leg of lamb for 6 people (ask your butcher!)
One package of yukon gold potatoes. Figure 3/person
One yellow onion
6 cloves of garlic
one boullian cube of lamb stock to make 1cup of stock (you can substitute chicken stock)
salt and pepper
1. Have the butcher cut around the bottom of the leg of lamb bone so after cooking you can simply slide it out. Tie leg with cooking string and season generously with salt and pepper on all sides.
2. Slice yukon gold potatoes into 1/2″ rounds. Slice onions. Peel and crush garlic (don’t chop finely)
3. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
4. In a large roasting pan mix lamb boullian, potatoes, onions, salt and pepper, thyme, and garlic
5. Place lamb on a grilling rack over potatoes. The melting fat from the lamb will drip onto the potatoes!!! Turn the lamb every 25 minutes.
Persimmon Purée with Vanilla Ice Cream and Pecan Caramel
2 large ripe mush persimmons
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
pinches of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and vanilla powder to taste
Premium vanilla ice cream like Haagen Daas
One cup pecans chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1. Take persimmons and scoop out flesh into a bowl. Mash with a fork. Add lemon zest and spices to your liking. Cover and refrigerate
2. Spread pecans on a silpat mat
3. Place sugar in a small pot and add 3 tablespoons of water. Mix gently with your finger tip until sugar is dissolved. You can add a little more water if necessary. Be careful not to get sugar water on sides of pot because it will crystalize.
4. Place sugar water on medium high heat in a small pot and watch. Once it starts to boil and bubbles begin to pop slow and the color turns a dark amber (but not black!!!) remove from heat and pour over pecans. It will harden and then you can break apart into big decorative pieces. Do not stir caramel while it’s cooking. If necessary you and swirl the pan gently to even out the color. The color is very important too – amber to dark amber is okay for this candy.
5. Place a scoop of ice cream into a bowl and spoon spiced persimmon purée around it. Stick a caramel piece in the center of ice cream or however you find most decorative. Serve up!