I think any good dinner party should be followed be recovery time. I may never eat again. Below is the menu, in French, of course, because I'm silly like that. I'll post pics some time.
The first entrée course, "tiramisu" savoreux, is basically insane. I had the idea to make something that looked just like tiramisu, but out of savory ingredients. Instead of ladyfingers, mine had thin slices of foccacia. Instead of painting those with espresso, we concocted a mixture of reduced balsamic vinegar, melted bitter chocolate, and various spices. The sweet marscapone layer was replaced with a cheesy custard layer made with fontina, mozzarella, and blue cheese. The top is the intensely silly bit: instead of shavings of chocolate or sprinkled cocoa powder (as per the dessert), I sprinkled the top with minced black truffle, grated nutmeg, and a teeny bit of cocoa powder. It looked exactly like tiramisu. Insane.
The best dish was, in my estimation, the second entrée, salmon fillets marinated with sesame oil and crushed coriander, seared up, and served with beurre françoise, a French butter sauce with cream and chicken stock and a couple tablespoons of parsley.
The dessert was pear halves oven-braised in a bed of grapes and sweet wine, with the braising liquid reduced to a thick syrup and drizzled over the pears. Freaking awesome.
Much wine was drunk, much merriment was had, we didn't get to bed much before 2 am. Nothing like an 8 hour meal to prepare one for a busy academic year.
Here's the menu:
tarte d’oignon et fenouil avec gorgonzola
tarte des champignons avec parmigiano reggiano
tarte de Swiss chard et gruyère
velouté des épinards
saumon avec beurre françoise
sorbet de citron et lavande
London broil aux herbes de provence avec legumes d’été grilles
poires rôti avec raisins
And here is the recipe for the tiramisu. Madness.
Base: foccacia strips
balsamic vinegar reduction:
½ cup balsamic vinegar
pinch of sugar
a few drips of fruity booze (apricot brandy, e.g.)
Vinegar in pan, medium-low heat. Add sugar, booze, stir. Reduce to thick syrup
1 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
3 tbsp chicken stock
2 dashes cinnamon
1 dash red pepper (cayenne)
2 grinds white pepper
8 specks of clove
Mix vinegar reduction and chocolate sauce: 1 part reduction to 2 or 3 parts chocolate
2 egg yolks, beaten, sprinkled with generous pinch of flour, beaten in
2 cups of milk
3 oz. crumbled blue cheese
5 oz. grated fontina
5 oz. grated mozzarella
several grinds of white pepper
several gratings of nutmeg
Heat milk in saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, separate egg yolk, beat, add flour, beat. Add some of the nearly-boiling milk, dribble by dribble, to the egg, while whisking. Pour egg-milk mixture slowly and evenly into milk pan, stirring with whisk. Whisk vigorously, allow to thicken. Add cheeses, Kirsch, pepper, nutmeg, and allow to thicken until it resembles pudding. Take off stove, pour into thick glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap, chill in fridge.
Minced black truffle
Foccacia strips in dish. Shmear. Add custard. Layers can be achieved: Foccacia, shmear, custard. Then top.