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.

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.

Quail with Autumn Mushrooms

I was going to put more egg (a quail egg) in this holiday menu but as I was writing the prep list, I realized that it’s too much and that the quail egg isn’t completely necessary.

I wasn’t set on one mushroom for this dish. I was open to all that was available! That meant going to the farmer’s market. I also thought I had two weekends before Thanksgiving to prep but after looking at the calendar, I only had one! Food shopping in NYC is difficult because I am only one person with two hands and two shoulders. And bags get heavy quick. The farmer’s market at Union Square is open every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. The best days, in my opinion, are Wednesdays and Fridays.

I didn’t want to risk it so I bought my mushrooms at the biggest Whole Foods Market, the one on Houston/Bowery. Their mushrooms were pretty good, I was there picking through all the nice chanterelles and all the nice king trumpets to put in my bag. And being a Prime member has its benefits!!! I wanted black trumpets too but they didn’t have any. I bought baby Bellas (aka small portobello aka baby cremini) for the purée. And good thing I went to Whole Foods because the market had almost nothing/really shitty mushrooms.

Here you have Quail that was brined then seared, cooked to medium, with a Cremini Purée, roasted Chanterelles and King Trumpets, garnished with its Jus, a Montegrato Pedro Ximénez Reduction, and Crispy Rosemary.

Plans for Friendsgiving 2019

I’m very early this year for my Friendsgiving menu plans! Inspiration started and I decided to just go with it. I’ve been usually doing dinner for four for the past couple of years because that means less glassware to clean but I want to do six people total this year… Here is what I have so far; I expect menu changes…

Egg on Egg on Egg
Sea Urchin • Soft Scramble • Trout Roe
Potato Foam • Pumpernickel Soil
(1st course)

Quail with Autumn Mushrooms
Chanterelles • King Trumpet • Cremini Purée
Rosemary • Montegrato Pedro Ximénez
(2nd course)

5 Spiced Duck Leg Cappellacci
Celery • Brown Butter • Cured Egg Yolk • Fennel
(3rd course)

Dry Aged Duck Breast
Homemade Hoisin • Pickled Cucumber • Chive Oil
(4th course)

Pear Tart
Ginger Snap • Ginger Ice Cream
(5th course)

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)

Octopus with Two Sauces

I can’t believe how well this saffron and chamomile sauce turned out. How did I pair saffron and chamomile together? I was sick a week before and I had chamomile tea bags hanging around… saffron is often one-sided because it is such a strong flavor. Chamomile is very light and somehow very light + very strong equals a delicious aromatic mellow flavor.

The other sauce is a purée that is more classic (in terms of pairing), pea and tarragon. I love pairing seafood with tarragon, especially non-fish.

This is a piece of grilled Octopus, with a Pea Tarragon Purée, a Saffron and Chamomile Sauce, and Piquillo Peppers.