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.

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)

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.

Chinese Chive Pockets

~ This is Day 21 ~

AKA Chinese hot pockets, if you will.

My first memory of these brings me back to a shivering, bone-dry, blistering cold, dreary winter day in Beijing. I was with my parents and we were visiting where my father went to college. We went to his school’s cafeteria, where, unlike American cafeterias, there were so many, countless, options for breakfast/lunch/dinner. These chive pockets were at the perfect temperature with the perfect bite-ratio of wrapper versus filling. This is often accompanied with congee and freshly made soy bean milk.

In my Chinese Chive Pockets, I put two different kind of Chinese chives (the flat kind and also the circular, flowering kind), shiitake mushroom, vermicelli, dried shrimp, and 5 spice powder.

Poussin with Celeriac

Sometimes I go to work and there’s some random excess amount of protein that we have… and I have to use it up or else it’s a waste of food cost.

I’m not the type of person who goes to a restaurant and orders chicken, no matter the size or type. Chicken is chicken. Poussin is basically a baby chicken, no more than 28 days old.

Okay, now that I’ve said my two cents on chicken, I made this hearty dish for the tasting menu. It has the thigh and leg of Poussin with a Celeriac Purée, Sautéed Shiitake Mushrooms, Celery Ribbons, Micro Watercress, and Jus.

Crusted Duck Breast & Brussels Sprouts

Sometimes at work, the proprietor likes to give me a few ingredients and freestyle. I like to call these instances, Chopped! Degu-Version. Of course I don’t get “Chopped” but the concept of the show is parallel.

Here we have Duck Breast that has been crusted in crispy quinoa and shallots, served with fried Brussels Sprouts, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Candied Ginger.

Israeli Couscous Salad

In this Israeli Couscous (also known as pearl couscous), there are sautéed Shiitake Mushrooms, Aged Manchego Cheese, Pickled Golden Raisins, and Mixed Herbs.

Funny story actually, in the restaurant, we made such a large batch of pickled golden raisins for our Fall 2016 quail dish that was on the a la carte menu that I’ve been trying to use them for anything that makes sense, of course.

Sous Vide Egg & Mushroom Panzanella

A hearty dish on the tasting menu earlier this week. This was quite delicious (mainly because of my amazing red wine jus) and I think perfect for NYC’s current weather and season. It’s not entirely spring yet, winter still has its grip on the state of things.

This Sous Vide Egg has a Wild Mushroom Panzanella, Wintered Spinach, a Red Wine Jus, and Arugula Flowers.