Monday, December 27, 2010

My "other holiday" menus..... Worth anticipating!

As I had mentioned before, during this holiday season we have "other" holidays to include as well, plus I have Ricardo's birthday tomorrow too. I've got New Year's and Holy Kings Day to plan along with the Xmas food, so I just got done with our menu preparation meeting (yes, we are a democratic republic here yet I retain veto power...) and I can now report our "other holidays" menu is done.... and what a holiday these will be, YUM!

These are along the lines of what I had previously thought of when I went shopping for our Xmas goodies so the ingredients are in my pantry already (YAY! let's hear it for forethought!) except for dairy items which we seem to go through like water. So eggs, heavy cream and butter demand a quick trip to the store but I need them so can't be avoided, plus I just finished reading Michael Ruhlman's "The Making of a Chef" (first of a three part series of what it takes to turn people into professional cooks and makes great reading...) and I need to return it to the library so will make it a two fold trip.

First up on my "other holidays" schedule is Ricardo's Birthday tomorrow and he chose the main dish, Lamb. He didn't care about the preparation so I chose a classic French preparation which he will love. I had found a lovely piece of Lamb and had saved it for a special occasion so when he selected this as his choice it fell right in line with me, all I had to get were the vegetables to include and both Rene and I will put our Knife Skills to the test to produce "tournes" (little footballs) which add to the presentation. This was an important part of our final practical exam and every Chef must learn to produce. Add this to a wonderful tomato wine sauce, simmered long and slow (or the lamb won't be fork tender) and you've got magic in a dish.....

He's also been waxing nostalgic and mentioned "Islas Flotantes" which are another classic old-timey French dish which seems to have been forgotten by many but having made it like a madwoman during my Personal Chef tenure in Chicago, I know and love well. These are little islands of a sweet meringue "floating" on a vanilla infused creme anglaise, very rich and light all at the same time. You'd know it as "Floating Islands" and we will have this as dessert. Put this along with a fantastic salad and Bellini cocktails, the dinner is sure to make him happy..... here's the menu I will print and put on our formal table:


Ricardo's Birthday Celebration 2010

Frisee Salad with Raisins, Pistachios and Roasted Apples
served with a Sweet Cider Vinaigrette and Chevre Rounds

Lamb Navarin with a Cabernet Sauvignon Tomato Sauce
and Roasted Tourned Vegetables

Ile Flottante - Floating Islands

Italian Prosecco Wine or Bellini Cocktail


Sounds like a plan to me and I've already done my initial prep work and am ready for tomorrow's dinner. It will be easy to produce results that are impressive, have to love that. I should also mention that I've got a big jump on New Year's menu as well, since I dropped in on the Korean Fish Market (you should see this place, the meat and fish are incredible!) and had not found anything that let me make a statement while still being cheap (must stick to my budget after all) until I came upon some Rock Lobster they had on sale, it was lovely, still had their shells and all of a sudden the image of New Year's came to mind.

So now I'm almost set and our "other holidays" will be memorable while still staying not only on budget but give us the "special" flavors such dates demand, no one will be able to tell that the dishes served are among the lowest per person cost around while still being luxurious, elegant and all around amazing! Lots to look forward to and if you follow a popular idiom, "how you welcome the new year sets the tone for the whole year to come", it's a good "karma" thing to "do it up right" and get those good vibes going, right?

I hope everyone is looking forward to the end of this year (it's been a challenging one, he?) and we're all ready for better times ahead, so here's to all of us..... Cheers!

No comments:

Post a Comment