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.

Blue Corn Tacos with Duck Leg Confit & Red Mole

I only just realized that I forgot to post this from last year’s Friendsgiving… here it is.

Why blue? They look purple to me.

I still stand by the confit method as the best way to cook duck legs. You can never go wrong with confit. And what better way to serve succulent shredded meat than with tacos? Two years ago, I used regular colored tortillas but I wanted the pop of color from the purple blue shells! Also, last year, I kept the legs and breasts separate. I like to switch it up from time to time. Don’t want my guests to get bored with my food!

The red mole here is from one of my good friends! I love it so much!

 

Kabocha Squash & Stracciatella

I will always love burrata but for me, burrata is “over”… For the past several years, I have been all about stracciatella. Stracciatella cheese is best known to be the gooey center of burrata!!! Stracciatella means “rag,” from the Italian word “strattore” (to stretch), and describes the action to make the cheese as well as how it looks.

That same day where I had seven of the same scallop crudo, I also had roasted squash with burrata cheese. It also hit me surprisingly. But in my version, I substituted burrata for stracciatella and garnished it with toasted pumpkin seeds, reduced Pedro Ximénez vinegar, and chives.

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)

Butternut Velouté with Wild Mushrooms & Pepitas

This was the third course to my Friendsgiving 2017 dinner.

Like all of the other courses to this dinner, this soup went through lots of changes too. Not so much the velouté itself, but its accompaniments. But at the very end, once I plated this, I was in love with it. It’s by far one of the best photos I have ever taken of my own creations. And can you believe this is from an iPhone? Not a professional camera?! Astonishing!

Here is Butternut Squash Velouté with Black Trumpets, Chanterelles, Toasted Pepitas, and Chives. There is also white truffle oil flavoring in the soup because I sous vide the butternut squash with some of that oil.

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)