This was the weekend of ratatouille: I spent most of Saturday preparing for dinner Sunday night. I made two French Laundry dishes, one of which was derived from the classic french ratatouille dish. On Saturday night, we had Dan and Carmen over for a simple dinner - various sausages from Fatted Calf, a good french mustard, and the leftover ratatouille vegetables sautéed in olive oil. After that, we went to see Ratatouille. The movie was a lot of fun and very well done. The attention to detail was amazing. I'd definitely recommend it.
"Macaroni and Cheese"
Butter-poached Maine Lobster with Creamy Lobster Broth and Mascarpone-Enriched Orzo
The first course was lobster poached in butter served with with orzo in a lobster cream broth and a Parmesan crisp. The parmesan crisp was very easy to make. They lobster was briefly boiled yesterday, the meat removed from the shell and refrigerated, and then I spent a few hours were spent making a lobster broth, reducing it, adding cream, and reducing again. I added a some cooked orzo the next morning. I left out the coral oil, as I didn't have any lobster coral.
On Sunday, I reheated the broth, made up a batch of buerre monté, briefly poached the lobster and put it on warmed plates.
Imam Byaldi is a turkish dish which is a more refined version of the classic Ratatouille. In the movie, the byaldi is removed from the pan and artfully arranged on the plate. (And, according the recipe in the New York Times, served with a vinagrette.) The byaldi itself takes 2 1/2 to 3 hours to cook, by the way.
On Saturday, I cut up a guinea fowl, reserved the breasts and boned-out thighs for the next day, and used the rest of the bird, along with some vegetables and chicken stock, to make a sauce. (Which also spent a good hour or so reducing.)
On Sunday, I placed a bit of the byaldi on each piece of breast and thigh, wrapped it in caul fat, seared it, and baked it. They were then sliced in half, and served on some of the remaining byaldi with some sauce on top.
The actual cooking on Sunday was a half hour at most, but I spent most of Saturday preparing. It was a lot of work, but a fun learning experience. Not something I'd do every weekend.