Recipe: Grapefruit Sorbet

~ This is Day 271 ~

You could substitute the Contratto liqueur for Aperol or Campari, if that’s your thing but I personally dislike both Aperol and Campari.

If you liked any of my tools and stuff from the video, you can get it yourself with these links:

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Sample dishes:

Diver Scallop Crudo with Apple & Sorrel

~ This is Day 262 ~

This was the first course of five to my #RontiniFriendsgiving 2020 menu.

I actually created this dish for Parcelle Patio and I was very happy with it so it made it to my #RontiniFriendsgiving menu. Also, when you’re a chef and when you come up with these dishes, you’re on the other side of it so to actually sit down and enjoy your own food, sitting down, plated, and with the correct wine pairing, it’s truly sensational.

Jumbo sized diver scallops were unavailable so these are actually medium sized, with Pickled Golden Beets, an Apple Sorrel Gel, and Micro Red Vein Sorrel. At Parcelle, I was garnishing them with borage flowers additionally but that too was unavailable in November.

Duck Leg Confit with Celeriac & Hazelnuts

~ This is Day 262 ~

This was the second course of five to my #RontiniFriendsgiving 2020 menu. I usually serve one leg per person but I thought for this year, that might be a little too much food so I split the leg between drumstick and thigh. I love making duck leg confit mainly for the aroma. It fills my apartment with this heavenly scent. This is Duck Leg Confit sitting on a bed of silky Celeriac Purée and Brown Buttered Hazelnuts with dots of Montegrato Pedro Ximénez Sherry Vinegar Reduction.

Quail with Market Vegetables & Barley Risotto

~ This is Day 262 ~

This was the third course of five to my #RontiniFriendsgiving 2020 menu. It is a brined semi-boneless Quail with Roasted Market Vegetables, consisting of Chanterelles, Shiitake, Market Carrots, and Pearl Onions, served with Barley Risotto with Fines Herbes and a Brown Chicken Jus.

Dry-Aged Duck Breast with Pommes Dauphinoise & Endive

~ This is Day 262 ~

This was the fourth course of five to my #RontiniFriendsgiving 2020 menu. It’s essentially identical to this post except I’ve made it better. As it says in the title, the Duck Breast has been dry-aged for 2 weeks, served with a slice of Pommes Dauphinoise (similar to potato au gratin), Caramelized Endive, and Red Wine Duck Jus.

Grapefruit Sorbet with Kabocha & Pepitas

~ This is Day 262 ~

This was the last course of five to my #RontiniFriendsgiving 2020 menu. This is probably my easiest dessert that I’ve ever made for my Friendsgivings. I made this menu thinking that a gluten-free friend was going to participate but she canceled a week before and I didn’t feel like changing the dessert. I was excited to see how this would turn out anyway.

I incorporated some booze in the grapefruit mixture so that churning it would make it more scoopable. The recipe is here, just for the sorbet. You could substitute the Contratto liqueur for Aperol or Campari, if that’s your thing but I personally dislike both Aperol and Campari.

This is Grapefruit Sorbet with Brown Buttered Roasted Kabocha Purée and Candied Pepitas.

With the heavier first four courses, this simple frozen dessert actually turned out perfect because it acted like a palate cleanser. At least I thought it was fitting at the end!

Plans for Friendsgiving 2020

~ This is Day 258 ~

Thanksgiving Thursday has officially passed for 2020 but my Friendsgiving has not yet! This year, unfortunately, I couldn’t have it on Thursday because of scheduling issues. Not having it on Thanksgiving Thursday seems so weird to me and it’s happening tomorrow, the Sunday of Thanksgiving. I only just realized that I haven’t posted the menu yet. There was a sixth course but my seafood delivery was out of fresh sea urchin from Maine so I axed that dish.

Diver Scallop
Pickled Golden Beets • Apple Sorrel Gel
Micro Red Vein Sorrel
(1st course)

Duck Leg Confit
Celeriac • Hazelnuts
Montegrato Pedro Ximénez
(2nd course)

Quail
Chanterelles • Shiitake • Market Carrots
Pearl Onions • Barley Risotto
(3rd course)

Dry Aged Duck Breast
Pommes Dauphinoise • Caramelized Endive
Red Wine Jus
(4th course)

Grapefruit Sorbet
Kabocha • Contratto • Candied Pepitas
(5th course)

As much as I can’t wait for tomorrow to come, this “Thanksgiving” is dragging and I just want it over with already. Never doing this a Sunday again… keeping it to Thursday next year and all future years.

I know we’re all still in a pandemic and that a lot of people have been alone this holiday weekend but my friends coming are all the same friends that I’ve been seeing since the lockdown and we’ve all been careful, getting tested regularly, and also practicing safe social guidelines.

Recipe: Watermelon “Sushi”

~ This is Day 164 ~

Looking for a quick and easy, last minute passed hors-d’oeuvres? This is it! All you need is a plate for passing because the watermelon acts like its own vessel! This is one of my favorite canapés to do!

I always like to have reduced sherry vinegar on hand at home because I use it to season a lot of random things. I buy a 16-year aged Pedro Ximénez sweet sherry vinegar from Despaña and reduce it with herbs and spices until it becomes syrupy. You should err on the conservative side when reducing because the reduced vinegar is going to be served either cold or room temperature so you don’t want to over-reduce it in the pot. Of course, you can always add water to thin it out and bring it back to a boil.

Obviously, you’re not going to use all the watermelon. The best part is the center where it is most dense and less airy due to where the seeds usually are.

I like using kanpachi because it is less fatty than regular hamachi. Some fish suggestions:

  • Dover sole
  • Fluke / hirame
  • Yellowtail / hamachi (lean)
    • Hawaiian Amberjack / kanpachi (pictured)
  • Red snapper / red seabream / madai
  • Salmon (lean) / sake **use as last resort, if you cannot find any white fish

Not in Manhattan? Some Amazon links to some sherry vinegars:

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you click on one and buy something, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.

Makes around 36 servings/pieces.

  • 1 whole seedless watermelon
  • 10 oz. kanpachi, sashimi grade
  • 1 pint curing salt
    • equal parts kosher salt and granulated sugar
  • 2 limes
  • Reduced sherry vinegar

Cut the watermelon into rectangular blocks and set aside. In a shallow container, pour the curing salt to cover the bottom of the container. Place the fish fillets on top and then bury completely with the rest of the curing salt. Place uncovered in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.

Once the 45 minutes is up, rinse the fillets under cold water and wrap in a damp paper towel and put into an air-tight container, back into the refrigerator.

When ready to serve, cut watermelon into thin rectangles and place on a plate. Using a slicer or very sharp and long knife, slice fish into thin cuts. Place 1-2 pieces of sliced fish onto each watermelon piece. Drizzle sherry reduction and microplane fresh lime zest over the top.

This is always a big crowd pleaser and is perfect for summer!

Romescada with Homemade Ciabatta

~ This is Day 116 ~

This was such a good choice for the main course of my birthday dinner. I’m delighted that my friends had an amazing time yesterday. There were barely any leftovers, in terms of seafood. I still have leftover sauce, which I’ll eat today for dinner too! I’ll add more seafood in, enough for one!

If you’re interested, this was our first course.

In this photo here, it’s Romescada with Monkfish, Shrimp, Squid, and Manila Clams! Served with homemade ciabatta too!

Recipe: Scallop Crudo with Blueberries & Lavender

~ This is Day 116 ~

I bought a bouquet of dried lavender flowers back in 2018 at the farmer’s market for $13 and I still have a third of it. I mainly use it to make cocktail ingredients but it occurred to me that I could use it for these blueberries.

NYC has slowly reopened but the idea of sitting outside on the patio or sectioned off road is not appealing to me, especially in the heat of the summertime. So I had a few friends over for my birthday dinner. Just a very small gathering, since we’re indoors. I didn’t want to go crazy with the cooking because it was my actual birthday on the date but I also wanted good tasting food so I did two courses: this scallop crudo and a seafood stew. I know the stew doesn’t seem summery but it’s my birthday and IDGAF. I baked my own ciabatta bread and made a little veggie-pasta side as well.

Serves 4-5.

For the Pickled Blueberries

  • 150 g blueberries
  • 175 g white wine vinegar (I’m using chardonnay Forvm)
  • 75 g water
  • 20 g sugar
  • A few buds of dried lavender flowers

This makes about a pint of pickled blueberries. Bring the vinegar, water, sugar, and lavender up to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes to allow the lavender to infuse then pour everything into a container with the blueberries.

You can strain out the lavender if you would like but I kept it in there for more flavor. I put 5 buds into the pickling liquid. Lavender is quite pungent; you don’t want to overpower the sweetness of the scallops.

Allow to cool to room temperature then place into fridge and pickle for at least 24 hours.

For the Scallops & Garnish

When ready to serve, slice the scallops thinly and arrange on plates. Pour a little of the pickling liquid over to season the scallops. Cut the blueberries in half and garnish the scallops. Season the scallops with the Maldon salt, picked purslane, Espelette pepper, and a dash of EVOO before serving.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you click on one and buy something, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.