Thursday, February 19, 2015

The meal

The Menu

Parmigiano-Reggiano Crisps with Goat Cheese Mousse

White Truffle Oil Infused Custards with Truffle Ragout (and Chive Chips)

Linguini with  White Clam Sauce

Salad of Haricots Verts, Tomato Tartare, and Chive Oil

Venison Chop with Pan Roasted Butternut Squash and Roasted Shallots

Tete de Moine with Sauerkraut and Toasted Caraway Seed Vinaigrette

Apple and Blueberry Kuchen

And if you have 5 kids who don't get to come to the birthday dinner, you get these on your actual birthday.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Final Prep

We are not quite in panic mode yet... more like "I don't have much time to spare mode".
But here are some pictures from yesterday.  I had never made clams before, and the kids are very much getting in to this years preparations.  So this was exciting, and we had to get out an encyclopedia (yes we still own some) and look up clams after this.  Now every child has their own personal clam shell and I'm hoping my house doesn't smell like a wharf in a few days.  

The chips worked this time!  Well most of them.  I only need 6. I think I have 8.

Our last butternut squash from our garden (sniff).  The only biscuit cutter I own (which is actually on permanent leave from my mother-in-law) is fluted, so this will have a little added flair than the dish calls for.  

My frenched-new-zealand-venison-chops all tied up and ready to be cooked.

This thing.  Oh my.  My house smells divine right now.  And this was super easy.  I might have to make it a little more often.

I have approximately 2 hours to get ready, throw in some laundry,  and do a last run through the house before I confine myself to the kitchen for the rest of the day;  but it's all coming together nicely and I am looking forward to the adult conversation along with the meal tonight!

Thursday, February 12, 2015


Sometimes days start like this:

A perfect little cheese cup.

  You plan ahead for it, but are pretty confident that it's going to turn out alright because you've done this before.  Then somewhere along the way, the day turns into this: 

This is where white goat cheese (with minced parsley, that is supposed to have a texture similar to whipped cream, because it's mixed with whipped cream), that you are later going to pipe into a beautiful little floret into afore mentioned cheese cup, turns into a green soupy mess.  Un-pipable. Except that you've made this before, too.  You were equally as confident.  
This is where you learn that no matter how many times you do something, how many kids you have, there will always be some different variable that could affect the end results.  Stop being so self confident.  This isn't about you. Pay attention to what very specific thing you are working with (like brand of goat cheese, cream, temperature of your kitchen, birth order of your child, etc.) Fortunately with goat cheese, we get another try.  And, another, until on the 3rd try and a second trip to the grocery, it works.

Then there's this:

Do those look like potato chips?  Yeah, not to me either. There was a hole in the middle of my potato.  Putting a hole in every.single.chip. Plus my mandoline didn't slice them quite "paper" thin, so they were supposed to cook in 25 minutes and after 50  minutes, weren't quite done yet.   This is where you learn that the first time you do something, you will probably mess it up.  You figure out what works, what doesn't, and are grateful for the grace to have a second chance. 

And then you reflect over what you learned on this day.  How you can internalize these things, not panic over boots that have just been buried about 4 feet deep in the sandbox because your child asked his siblings to bury him, and be grateful for another day.   Another day that starts out like this:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

 So, aside from roasting tomatoes, 

finishing the kraut (unfermented much to my dismay), and making dressings, all which keep for a week in the fridge, this very exciting thing happened today:

This is the rack of venison chops, already frenched no less. Since we can't buy this sort of thing in the states, and I don't hunt, this particular deer was raised in New Zealand.  I hope it's delicious.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

It's that time of year!

The cooking officially started last week! I'm excited/nervous about this year just a little, because of the 7 dishes that we're having, 5 of them are new, and there are not nearly as many things that I am able to do in advance.  All this really means is that I'll be doing a lot more cooking on the actual day than normal, which means I have to clean my house ahead of time.  I hate cleaning.  I normally put it off until last.

We thought we would try to make it a little more "homesteady" this year, and use anything we could from our house.  The rabbits aren't quite big enough to serve yet, but I did save one butternut squash from the garden, and we have eggs (chickens finally went off strike!), and the rest of the dinner was sort of themed around that.

Even though the real fun stuff doesn't start until Wednesday (all I've really made so far is stock, and I started making kraut, because it's takes 5 days to finish), I had to share a super exciting find from Kroger a couple days ago.  As I previously mentioned we are serving eggs.  In egg cups.  I did not own egg cups until approximately 3 days ago.  I had been trying to figure out how we were going to serve these things without egg cups, and lo and behold the perfect number of these little things were on SALE in Kroger.  It was by far, the best $9 I have spent in a long time.  

Now I just need to practice my technique.  Pretty sure this is not gonna cut it.

We may be eating a few eggs for breakfast this week.