The day arrived! The day when Chef Glenn actually sat at the dinner table and not behind the stove and let us cook for him! When we have guests join us, we tend to ask them to pick an ingredient so we can fashion a menu around it. Jokingly, he said chicken livers and I promptly gave him a dirty look and told him to go eat somewhere else. (You will never see me make liver or pate or anything like that... sorry.) So then he told us halibut. Halibut? Really? A little salt and pepper, throw it on the grill, and you're done! How can we fancy up halibut and make it something worthy for an executive chef? Well... I'd like to think we did...
Cocktail - Melon Prosecco Cooler
Juiced honeydew melon, Midori, vodka, splash of prosecco. Yum! Garnished with melon balls and mint!
Appetizer - Cucumber Noodles Topped with Lobster, Mango & Mint Nori Rolls and Shrimp & Pea Gyoza
Delicious! The cucumber noodles are easy and a perfect back drop for the little finger foods! The rolls originally called for crab, but let's be honest... who doesn't like lobster best? Once Jennifer got the hang of it (and after watching a few videos on You Tube) she was mastering sushi making! The gyoza were slightly different. I followed the filling recipe exactly, but instead of steaming (we didn't have a steamer), we wrapped them into little rectangles, fried one side down in oil for 2 minutes, flipped, added 1/4c water and covered with a lid until the water evaporated. (About 5 minutes.) Then you remove the lid, let them fry for another minute and you're done! They were delicious! The gyoza (and all accompanying sauces) can be made in advance and refrigerated before cooking. The cucumber salad can also be made in advance!
Appetizer Wine - Mura Mura Junmai Ginjo Sake "Meadow"
A very mellow sake that is slightly sweet with a light melon flavor.
Entrée - Seven-Herb Crusted Halibut with Tamarind Sake Sauce over Roasted Garlic Coconut Cream Risotto with Stir-Fried Garlic & Ginger Bok Choy
Bam! I know... the flavors sound crazy but they are awesome! Truly a spectacular recipe! Let's break it down. The risotto takes about 20 minutes, follow the recipe. The bok choy is about 15 minutes, cook it after you put on the risotto. The fish itself needs about 2 minutes stove top and then approximately 10 minutes in the oven. Start it when you start the risotto, because you'll need a few minutes for the sauce to reduce and you can just keep the fish warm. The herb crust can be made in advance. (And it's yummy!) The tamarind puree sauce can be made in advance. Once you take the fish out of the oven, add the tamarind puree, cook it down for 5 minutes and add the butter. The recipe originally calls this a beurre blanc, but I wouldn't really call it that. Where the heck do you find tamarind puree? It took me six different grocery stores before I realized Whole Foods had it. And no, there is no substitute for tamarind, so don't try! Amazing!
Entrée Wine - 2011 Dr. Heidemann's Bernkastel Kabinett Riesling
This was surprisingly good stuff for a semi-dry Riesling. It was very plush with scents and flavors of cream, baked peach, and dried apricot. It had a nice crispness to it and a slight gingersnap at the end. A very nice pairing with the insane flavors of the meal.
Dessert - Green Tea Panna Cotta & Honeydew Mint Granita
Amazing! Let's take them in turn. We made the granita without the sake and with mint (there was a non-drinker in the crowd.) It was light and fabulous! (Could absolutely go as something to eat between courses!) The only difference in the panna cotta was that I used all half and half cream because that's what was in the fridge. Now the panna cotta was lovely, but not a big green tea flavor like I was hoping for. The other recipe I found used green tea powder, and I'm sure that would have been a stronger flavor - but at $15 for a bottle the size of my lip balm... I passed. But a very simple, pleasant, and light way to end the evening.
So the overall verdict? We think we knocked it out of the park! A huge meal with a huge flavor profile, but definitely something that impressed our guests! Next week... not sure. Stay tuned!
Next Week - Duck Breast Meets Salad Greens