Tis the season to eat all the holiday food!
It's been awhile since I've posted, but boy do I have a treat for you! A feast for the eyes ;)
Starting off with the appetizers, this wasn't originally part of the plan. We had planned to do a big dish with multiple side dishes. But Mark flipping through his Sous Vide At Home cookbook and found "Deep- Fried Egg Yolks." This recipe changed the whole game. We then devised 3 other appetizers; Figs with Foie Gras Mousse*, Chive Ravioli* with Ricotta Cheese in a Beurre Blanc Sauce*, and a Roasted Squash Soup*. For our main course, we made a simple mushroom risotto, with seared pink pork tenderloin and chicken breast (for our non pork eaters). Ending with individual tarts, lemon and chocolate with matcha whipped cream. But we didn't stop there, we had two cocktails; Cranberry Ornamentini and a Christmas Old Fashioned.
We chose a lot of recipes that we could make ahead of time and then heat up the day of to gives us plenty of time to prepare and socialize with our friends without being stuck in the kitchen.
We became a real restaurant for the whole week. A schedule was made and everything was done in shifts. Our party was Saturday and we started cooking on Wednesday, with a double batch of chicken broth.
Thursday, was the Roasted Pumpkin Soup, which ended up becoming a squash soup since sugar pumpkins are no longer in season. The recipe called for 4 pounds of pumpkins and winter squashes (sugar pumpkin, kabocha, delicata, and acorn). We went with, butternut squash, two acron squashes, delicata, and a kabocha squash. Which turned out phenomenal.
To add a little extra to the small tasting soup, it was sprinkled with cinnamon, served with a small teaspoon of ground up sugared walnuts. They were then served in tiny Moscow Mule shot glasses.
Friday, the risotto, sous vide eggs, foie gras into mousse, sugar and torch the figs, and both tarts. This was the bulk of the work. Mark had done all of this by 2pm when I got home from work. Most of this stuff had to sit in the fridge overnight so it worked out really well. The risotto is second nature to Mark, it is one of his tried and true dishes. The foie gras mousse had to be piped into little swirls and freeze. I almost ruined this dish when I was shuffling things in the freezer and nearly dropped the pan of foie gras. Haha, whops! All was saved!
Mark and I double teamed the tarts since we had two to make. We had 8- 8" tart pans to fill. For those wanting to duplicate this, 4 mini tarts equal 1 recipe. Mark thought it was a double batch, so we have a lot leftover dough. As I was making dough for the lemon tart, Mark was roasting hazelnuts for the chocolate tart dough. Then as I was lining the tarts, Mark made the lemon filling. We used lemons from our own tree, which gave it a more powerful flavor. Then as those baked it was onto the chocolate tarts! We made a little adjustment to the recipe and used semi- sweet chocolate rather than dark, or else it would've been to bitter. We let these sit in the fridge overnight and planned to add the whip cream in the evening.
Saturday, probably the first time we were able to relax all morning and not rush around cooking or picking up last minute ingredients. Takes hosting several times to find the best rhythm and not cut out our favorite foods. We put together a little schedule, posted it up on the fridge and ended up being ahead of schedule for most of it! Yes, we put get dressed up on there, or else we probably would've been waiting to the very last minute.
The sous vide was probably THE BEST thing we could've ever bought! We didn't have to worry about the meat while we got ready and heated up the appetizers. Everything went off without a hitch and Christmas food cheer was had all around the dinner table.
A little tip about whip cream, if you see the schedule I made the dessert almost 3 hours before we would eat. The problem is that whipped cream can separate and get runny and I didn't want to spend my time in the kitchen decorating the tarts while everyone was eating. So, I over whipped the whip cream and it held up perfectly (pun intended).