February 16, 2009

Valentines Day Dinner

We celebrated Valentines day at home this year, and I had a lot of fun putting together a special dinner for it. It helped that the 14th fell on a Saturday, giving me a nice, leisurely day at home to put dinner together.

oysters & pearls by embem30
Oysters and Pearls
Sabayon of Pearl Tapioca with Malpeque Oysters and Osetra Caviar

For a starter, I made Oysters and Pearls again - it's a great dish and the oysters and caviar seemed appropriate for Valentines day. We made this dish last year for Valentines day and once last October. It's a great dish and most of the work can be done ahead. (At serving time, you bake it in the oven briefly and make a beurre blanc.) We also enjoy having the leftover caviar, crème frâiche and chives on crackers as a snack.

black sea bass by embem30
Black Sea Bass with Sweet Parsnips, Arrowleaf Spinach, and Saffron-Vanilla Sauce

The main course took us a little longer to narrow down. We wanted something light, since the Oysters and Pearls is rather rich. We eventually settled on this dish from the French Laundry cookbook.
It turned out really well, and we'll definitely be making it again. There are a lot of different flavors in this dish that play off each other really well.

The sauce is a saffron/vanilla infused mussel broth, finished with a little cream and butter. On top of that is a parsnip purée. The purée is topped with a ball of spinach, and finally there is a a fillet of black sea bass. There is a more detailed description of the construction of this dish on Carol Blymire's blog.

38/365 valentine's dessert by embem30
Coconut, Meyer Lemon, and White Chocolate

For dessert, Emily suggested a dish that she found on Cannelle et Vanille, a food blog. It consists of alternating layers of a coconut cake and meyer lemon custard, surrounded with white chocolate and topped with some fruit. I was a little hesitant about the dessert at first because it called for tempering white chocolate and wrapping it around the dessert, and pastry work is a little outside my comfort zone. The chocolate ended up nice and crisp, so I think I pulled off the tempering correctly.