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.)
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.
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.)
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.