Mike and I rang the old year out over dinner at our place with a small group of good friends. We decided to pull out the stops and indulged in a full seven course meal as follows:
Smoked Salmon Blinis;
Seared Foie Gras with Caramelized Pears and Sherry Reduction;
Cream of Roasted Red Pepper Soup;
Balsamic Glazed Roasted Game Hens;
Braised Baby Carrots and Flageolet;
Epoisses with Parisienne Salad;
Cocoa-dusted Truffles and Coffee
Even the casual observer will note that this menu contained several rather carby items. (I confess, but plead that while not strictly low carb, it was not nearly as bad as it might have been and every now and again, it’s good for the soul to indulge. As our friend, Robert Crayhon puts it: pleasure is a nutrient.)
Of course the indulgence didn’t stop with food, the evening began and ended with champagne and we enjoyed some luscious whites and reds in between, carefully selected for each course only after much consultation with those more knowledgeable about perfect pairings than we. All of us indulging, that is, except the designated driver.
The whole meal turned out well, but the hands-down star of the evening was the seared foie gras, a victory made all the sweeter by the fact that this was the first time I’d attempted it and (if I do say so myself) it came off pretty smashingly.
Mike had gotten me Nancy Oakes’ Boulevard Cookbook for Christmas and when I saw her recipe for foie gras, I knew I had to at least try. But under the gun? For eight? Hmmmm. What the heck, I said to myself. Nothing ventured; nothing gained! So I hopped online and ordered a bit of grade A foie from www.chefswarehouse.com , followed Nancy’s prep instructions, and was rewarded with victory on the first go.
My mother always said “If you can read, you can cook.” Over the years, I have mostly found that to be the case and in this instance, it proved to be true. Granted, it helps to be reading a fabulous recipe from an outstanding chef. The Boulevard Cookbook, like the eponymous restaurant in San Francisco, is a treat for the eye and the palate. If you love beautiful cookbooks (as I do and my groaning kitchen library shelves will attest) have a look–it’s sure to end up on your wish list.
Happy New Year. May 2006 prove to be a happy and healthy one for us all.