Sunday, March 23, 2014

La Laverie 2014

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned that we sort of call this dinner "La Laverie"  because all of the recipes come from the French Laundry cookbook, and La Laverie  is French for The Laundromat.  We call it this so far as it is printed on the menu.  
This year, I somehow got myself up to 7 courses, not including the gougeres which are the little cream-puff-like cheese biscuits that we just set on the table.  This was all well and good except that I was getting pretty full by course #5 and I was starting to feel poorly (hoping it's just allergies) around course #2.  So even though we added a course, we finished in record time, 3 hours. I also rushed through taking pictures of the food, and I still don't feel well, so I'm uploading them in their pure, untouched form, without extensive commentary.  Everything was good, a few things didn't turn out exactly how I was hoping, but it was all presentation stuff, not taste.  We also noticed part-way through the meal that I accidentally chose most of T.K.'s all American recipes, French Style.  For example:

#1 Soft Poached Quail Eggs with Apple-wood Smoked Bacon (a.k.a. "bacon & eggs")

I call them tasty little bites.

#2 Tomato Tart with Olive Tapenade, Mixed Greens, and Basil Vinaigrette (a.k.a "pizza")

That is puff pastry on the bottom, followed by roasted tomatoes and then raw ones.  Delish.  My tomatoes were a little too big though, I'm pretty sure it should have all stacked up nicely and been the same circumference.

#3 Crab Salad with Cucumber Jelly, Grainy Mustard Vinaigrette, and Arugula

This was mediocre this year.  I've made it before, but it called for Dungeness Crabs that you cook yourself thus imparting lots of flavor.  I couldn't find any sort of live or raw crab in any state anywhere in Augusta.  It was a shame.  So I did buy the lump crabmeat instead of the claw meat that I normally get.  It was good, just not awesome. 

 #4 Vine Ripe Tomato Sorbet with Tomato Tartare and Basil Oil

I've made this before too.  The sorbet didn't hold up very well, so it cracked when I made my scoops, but the taste was phenomenal.  I love this dish.  Every part of this dish is good by itself.  I did find a mistake in the cook book though.  T.K. no where calls for Basil Oil in the recipe.  It's actually Chive Oil.  Go figure, he's not perfect.

#5 Pan Roasted Sea Bass with Artichoke Ravioli and Barigoule Vinagrette

Here is the hated pasta, which I still must have made wrong because one side of it was supposed to be indented thus allowing for the sea bass to be neatly stacked on top.  Didn't happen, this was the best we could do.  The garnish kept falling off, too.  

#6 Perail de Brebis with Arugula and Lardons (a.k.a. "eggs in a basket")

The Quail Eggs surface again.  This time, in the middle of a perfect piece of brioche, served with sheeps milk cheese imported by me from Italy (that was not confiscated, and I am so grateful).  Bonus:  I still have quail eggs left over and may have to make this again with my left over brioche. This time, I can remember the lardons or bacon that I forgot to put on it.  

#7  Poached Banana Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Banana Crepes and Chocolate Sauce (a.k.a. "banana split")

Need I say more.  Really.  This, truthfully, may be what I am having an allergic reaction to because I cannot stop eating it (I tasted it the entire time I was making all the different parts, and we have leftovers.  LEFTOVERS).  The crepes are filled with banana puree and chocolate mixed together, and the banana ice cream is divine.  I'm not even a fan of bananas.  

It was great, and I'm glad it's over!  Now I can finish getting my garden in.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

We're back on!

So, we rescheduled for this Saturday. I spent the last week re-doing a lot of stuff that I had already done (except for the puff pastry).  The pasta turned out much better this time -and I have over a dozen so if a few of them flop, I have extra! I almost had a fleeting thought, that given the pasta roller, and now that I've done it a few times, recently, that it wasn't so bad.  I almost had that fleeting thought.  If I wasn't already so scarred the thought might have actually formed in my mind.  Anyway, I soaked anchovies, re-made the bread that I ended up giving to my neighbor, and did a few other random things, but this is what was most interesting from today.  This.  Quail Eggs.  

Aren't they pretty?  I almost couldn't even stand to do anything to them other than takes lots of pictures because I was just struck by how beautiful they were.  But then I remembered that I've been wanting to make this appetizer almost every year that I've done this and I've just never been able to find - or known where to look for -quail eggs to do it with.  I wanted to make it so bad, that I experimented with chicken eggs one year just to see if it would work.  And it didn't. So, needless to say, I was thrilled to find a wonderful woman locally that would supply me with some quail eggs.  AND she had sheep, AND cows, AND puppies, and that's just another story, just know that it was wonderful. Back to my eggs. 

I am actually using the quail eggs in 2 dishes - an appetizer and the cheese course.  Today was the appetizer. I had to saw the tops of the eggs off, so that I could dump them all at one time into my pot of simmering water to poach them.  There was a little bit of a learning curve on this one, but again, I only need 6 of these. This particular lovely woman that I mentioned before was so generous with her eggs, that I poached 2 dozen of them, just in case.  Never hurts to have a little extra.  I have only poached eggs once before in my life, and that was the time that I tried to do this with chicken eggs, and it was less than successful.  I can't even remember if I ate the poached chicken egg it just didn't look appetizing.  These are supposed to look just like an egg after they are poached - which required minimal trimming of a "tail" if done properly.  If not done properly, you have one that sort of resembles Halley's comet.

I have enough of the properly poached eggs for everyone to have 3, which means 3 bites, because that's how big they are.  We ate the comet looking ones today.  They were tasty.