February 17, 2008

Valentines Day

This year we decided to stay in and have a nice meal at home for valentine's day.  About a month in advance Emily went through Elizabeth Falkner's book, Demolition Desserts and picked out a dessert for our special meal. And of course she chose what had to be the most complex dish in the book, the Battleship Potemkin. (The instructions run four pages and reference recipes on three other pages of the book.)

It took a few more weeks to get the other courses out of her.  She wanted oysters because seafood seemed right for valentine's day -  she had fond memories of last year's meal at Fresca.  Since we have oysters weekly with our sushi, I decided to make it a little extra special and prepare Keller's "Oysters and Pearls" recipe.  And for the main course she asked for steak. I planned on doing my typical beef tenderloin. (Poached briefly in wine, then seared.)

Then about a week ahead, I realized there was almond flour in the cake. After a little research,I decided to substitute desiccated coconut and a bit of all purpose flour for the almond flour. On the Sunday before, I got the flu and was fairly miserable for a few days.  I did manage to prepare the Cocoa Nib Streusel that Sunday. Fortunately, I was well enough on wednesday to start my prep.  I got supplies at the Ferry Building and Sun Fat, then  I made sushi for dinner, without oysters, and I made the base for the Oysters and Pearls: tapioca cooked in milk and cream with some whipped cream, crème fraîche, and sabayon stirred in. I also made the ganache, chocolate shortbread cookies, truffles, strawberry sauce, and chocolate ice cream that night.  And then I was quite tired. :)

Thursday morning, Emily surprised me with some scones that she had made the day before.  They were quite tasty.  After work, I went with Dan to fetch the meat and found that they were out of tenderloin at Drewes Bros - which we were both planning on cooking.  They did have the short bit of roast from the small end of the tenderloin.  I told Dan to get that, wrap it in herbs and prosciutto, and roast it.  I got a cowboy steak for Emily and me.  (I've done the tenderloin dish before - Drewes often sells the small end of the tenderloin for quite a bit less than the middle, and it works well.)

oysters & pearls

Above is the "Oysters and Pearls" - I used American Paddlefish roe, which was the cheapest but still cost me $35 for an ounce. (We didn't use all of it, I could easily have served 4-5 people from that jar.)  It was my first time making a sabayon sauce and beurre blanc. I'm not sure if I'd whipped cream by hand before.  We're definitely going to do this again, although I will want to make smaller portions.

steak & potatoes

This is the cowboy steak - essentially a bone-in rib steak.  I sliced it into 1/2" slices and fanned them out, making it easier to serve on a shared plate.  To accompany it, we had pan-roasted potatoes and my usual green beans. (Blanch, sautée with shallots, and finish with salt and a splash of rice wine vinegar.)

warm white chocolate cake

And here is the dessert that I slaved over.  Emily isn't a fan of raspberries, so I used strawberries and strawberry sauce instead.  I substituted desiccated coconut for the almond flour in the cake, and used the Bouchon cookbook recipe for the chocolate ice cream (I wanted leftovers). I got a bit of cocoa powder on the plate (behind the cake) so I sprinkled a bit on the rest of the plate.

I used the leftover ice cream, sauce, and streusel for my birthday party the following day.

It was hard work, but it was tasty and a good learning experience. The cocoa nib streusel went over really well.  Emily was eating small bowls of it before valentines day, everybody who sampled it loved it. I even sent some home with  Rob and Traci after they tried it at my birthday party.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, it looks like you had quite the valentine's day celebration! Everything looks so good. A lot of work! Mom