Friday, December 10, 2010

let me entertain you

entertaining can be broken down into 5 vital components (in english, et en français):
-appetizers/hors d'œuvre
-main/plate principal 
and the most important of all -the draannkss
wow them with gastronomical delights in any language (you pretend) you can speak, but if you want your guests to leave with a REALLY good taste in their mouth, get them drunk.

here's what went down last night. i had some ladies over and this was our pre-theatre dinner. in return for a warm meal, my dinner guests were forced into becoming my blog-tographers. (thanks! the pics look great!).
inspired by hanukkah, i call it: the 9th crazy night. crazy GOOD!
exhibit a: grapefruit vodka martini with mini cheese puffs (puff pastry rolled out and filled with olive tapenade, capers, crumbled feta and grated cheddar cheese - rolled sushi-style, cut into medallions, placed cut side down on a baking sheet and topped with a little egg wash *would have liked a sesame or caraway seed on top, but had none. oh well.)

exhibit b: baby spinach salad with pomegranate and toasted pine nuts. dressed in a simple balsamic vinaigrette. (switch to wine - lots of).

exhibit c: crispy yukon gold potato latkes with smoked rainbow trout mousse and seared scallops - those are chive flowers as garnish.
the latkes are standard issue, grated potato, onion, egg and flour, fried and then baked for extra crispness.
the mousse was an experiment which turned out not too shabby. i blended smoked trout, cream cheese, sour cream, whipping cream, spanish onion, and lemon juice.
scallops were pan seared in butter and fresh thyme. 

exhibit d: les beignets avec strawberry jam and a dusting of icing sugar. ya, jelly donuts.
oh. so you think you've eaten donuts before?
think again. these aren't the cakey crap you get at your local coffee shop dive. 
these are airy, yeast-risen, still hot from the deep fryer miracles of life! (and ya, yeast is alive, yo.)
because i love these so, and i want you to make them, i'm giving you the real live recipe, straight from my safta's kitchen!

activate some dry yeast (1/2 tsp) in lukewarm milk (3/4 cup), then make a dough with white flour (2½ cups), 1 egg, a touch of sugar (2 tbsp), salt (pinch), butter (1 tbsp), and cognac (1 tbsp for you, and a glass for me..)
mix in a bowl. make a ball. cover with a towel and let rise until it's doubled in size. punch it down and let it rise again. roll it out to about 1 inch thick. cut into circles with a glass. (use a small cup for minis like these. fry in 2 inches of oil (i used rice bran, but canola will do) for 10 seconds on each side (they turn brown reaaally quick, so be prepared to flip 'em over). let them cool for a moment on paper towel and then serve with your jam of choice!

got it?