Plans for Friendsgiving 2018

I’m super late this year for my Friendsgiving menu. I hope this doesn’t become my new habit because the anxiety doesn’t help.

But here is what I have planned so far. Most of the courses are inspirations or almost near exact replicas from NYC restaurants (i.e. the first three courses). Please forgive me for any originality, it’s been a tiring and stressful year.

Scallop Crudo
Lemon Zest • Brown Butter • Chives
(1st course)

Roasted Kabocha Squash
Stracciatella • Pedro Ximénez • Pepitas
(2nd course)

Duck Leg Confit
Red Mole • Blue Corn Tacos
(3rd course)

Maple Lacquered Duck Breast
Apple Purée • Candied Pecans
(4th course)

Fudge Brownies
Chocolate Sculptures • Vanilla Ice Cream
(5th course)

Romescada

It’s snowing outside. It’s fucking freezing too. It’s unbearably chilly near my window. And all I want is this Romescada with Monkfish, Octopus, and Gambas.

Happy New Year & Happy Holidays!!!

Pear Tart with Maple Ice Cream

This was the fifth and last course to my Friendsgiving 2017 dinner.

Originally, I had planned a Cranberry & Pear Tart with Almond Cream – a dessert that I haven’t made before and that I was excited about! But two days before the big day, I was craving more traditional Thanksgiving flavors so I decided to make a pear tart because if you don’t satisfy your cravings, very bad things can happen next… e.g. a sweet-tooth rampage.

I would have been totally okay with just serving a wedge of Pear Tart but to make it nice, I also served it with some homemade Maple Ice Cream and Ground Candied Pecans.

Plans for Friendsgiving 2017

I’m a month late this year… I usually have my Friendsgiving menu ready in August – I like to plan early!

Goat’s Milk Ice Cream, Pumpernickel Soil, Lemon Foam, Microgreens
(1st course)

Dill-Brined Halibut with Farro, Sun-Dried Tomato, Pine Nuts, Micro Chervil
(2nd course)

Butternut Squash Velouté, Black Trumpets, Chanterelles, Toasted Pepitas & Chives
(3rd course)

Duck Carnitas, Pickled Onions, Watermelon Radish, Serrano, Cilantro, Lime, Tortillas
(4th course)

Warm Pear Tart, Candied Pecans, Maple Ice Cream
(5th course)

 

 

Recipe: Broccoli Rabe Pesto

Classic pesto sauce originated from Genoa, Italy. It consists of a blend of basil, garlic, olive oil, grated hard cheese, and pine nuts. Everyone has their own way of making pesto but it’s generally the same ratio of ingredients.

In the restaurant, I usually make double the following ratios (in the parentheses):

  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe (1)
  • Walnuts, toasted (½)
  • Pine nuts, toasted (½)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (1)
  • Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (¼)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 boquerones (Spanish white anchovies)
  • 2 garlic cloves, microplaned
  • 1 lemon, microplaned
  • Salt

For the broccoli rabe, wash it well if dirty. Cut off the thick fibrous ends of the vegetable. In a pot of salted boiling water, blanch for 30 seconds and shock in iced water.

Once cool and drained from water, wring the broccoli rabe in a towel or rag to release as much water as possible. On a kitchen scale, measure the weight of the broccoli rabe. It’ll be easier to blend in the food processor if you chop the broccoli rabe first, just a few chops.

In the bowl of the food processor, place the broccoli rabe in first, then the walnuts and pine nuts. Turn the food processor on and add in the EVOO in a steady stream to emulsify the sauce. Add in the freshly grated parmesan, red pepper flakes, boquerones, and microplane the 2 cloves of garlic into the pesto. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt if necessary. Lastly, microplane lemon zest into the pesto and pulse a little more. Add more EVOO to desired consistency.

You can freeze the pesto if you aren’t going to use all of it within a few days because it will oxidize – taste the same but just look ugly.

Sample dishes:

Duck Breast with Celery Root & Red Wine Jus

I have been very happy with this dish that I created on June 6. It has been on my tasting menus for the past two months, not every week though.

This is Duck Breast with Celeriac Purée, Charred Cucumbers, Cashew Crumble, Chive Oil, and Red Wine Jus.

Duck Leg Confit with Red Mole

This was a Duck Leg Confit with Red Mole and Fresh Salad in a Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette.

I managed to get my hands on this red mole recipe. It is absolutely amazing – spicy from the ancho peppers and velvety smooth from the chocolate. We should seriously jar this mole up and sell it!

Beet Salad with Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette

I am not a salad person. I have never ordered a salad in a restaurant. I didn’t understand why people loved salads – a bunch of raw vegetables (usually ones with zero or lacking of nutritional values) plopped on a plate, with an unhealthy dose of fatty dressing. Obviously, what I’m talking about are the salads from the 90s.

One of my chef instructors told me that to judge a restaurant or chef, one must order a seafood dish and/or a salad.

So, week by week, I have been creating new interesting salads (that I would eat) for the tasting menu, usually for the first or second course.

This one is a Roasted Red Beet Salad with Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese, Hazelnuts, Pea Tendrils and Dragon Mizuna Greens dressed in a Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette.

Recipe: Romescada

Romescada is a rustic seafood stew from Catalan, Spain. Romescada and Romesco sauce are very similar, in ingredients, but differ in method. Romesco sauce is typically pounded together (or whirled in a food processor or blended in a blender), and olive oil is added until the mixture resembles a reddish mayonnaise. However, Romescada is made with adding the individual ingredients one by one, creating a more in depth flavor profile.

What to add to Romescada is endless. Traditionally, the stew has monkfish or any other firm-fleshed white fish, such as sea bass, and any type of shellfish, bivalve, or cephalopod.

I make Romescada with the unreduced lobster stock from Sauce Américaine. That’s super flavorful. Also, I use sourdough for my bread slices.

  • 1 cup blanched almonds
  • 1 cup peeled hazelnuts
  • 4 slices bread, crusts removed
  • 2 medium Spanish onions, finely chopped
  • 4 dried Ñora chiles or 2 dried Ancho chiles
  • 2 fresh Fresno peppers, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 12 canned Piquillo peppers, chopped, more if needed
  • 2 tsp Pimentón Dulce (sweet paprika)
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 quarts lobster stock/Sauce Américaine, more if needed
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil

Preheat oven to 400°F. Roast nuts and discard any skins. Then boil them for 15 minutes so that they are easy to blend.

In a large stockpot, add olive oil to depth of ¼-inch, fry 4 bread slices slowly on both sides until crisp and golden. Remove bread, drain on paper towel, cut into ½-inch cubes, and set aside. Add chopped onions to pot, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and cook until onion is softened and lightly colored, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat while you do the next step.

Put dried Ñora/Ancho chilis in a small pot with water, simmer for 15 minutes, drain, and discard water. Remove stems and seeds.

Put roasted nuts, fried bread, garlic, chilis, Fresno, piquillo, and paprika in a food processor. Blend until it comes to a thick paste, adding more piquillo peppers if necessary to make it catch.

Add mixture from food processor to softened onions and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and wine, simmer until mixture has dried out a bit. Add 2 quarts of lobster broth, simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning. If too thick, add more stock.

Sample dishes: