Farewell to Summer Dinner

The last savory dinner of the year was a ton of work (we served the same menu three nights in a row!) and a ton of courses (TWELVE!), but everyone loved the food so much that it was more than worth it.

Here’s a much overdue photo roundup of the experience.

 First, I’d just like to state that I cooked basically this whole entire thing in THIS TINY WORKSTATION. I was so proud of my space savingness!

Complimentary White Bloody Mary

A Bloody Mary made with tomato water instead of tomato juice. Ok, ok, it’s pink.

Tomato essence, cucumber juice, vodka, lemon twist, celery stick.

Chilled lemon zucchini soup

Lemon thyme foam, lemon thyme crystals, shaved green almonds.

Amaranth and arugula salad 

Meyer lemon dressing, crystallized maple syrup, watermelon, nasturtium

Small plates:

Cipolline in agrodolce, peperonata, caponata

Making the cipolline in agrodolce with hundreds of teeny tiny cipolline onions.

House-baked Kalamata olive focaccia

Sweet potato tortelloni with cashew cheese filling

Lacinato kale olive pesto

Slow cooked eggplant with white bean cream

entree

I love my induction stove! Cooking in a bowl!

The ever-amazing Lucy, our server, who made flashcards for each dish.

Continuing with the menu:

Plum crostata with Meyer lemon curd

Nectarine ice cream with nectarine spheres

Broken sphere!

 

Mignardises:

Pine nut cookies with rosemary

Red wine-apple ganache bonbon

 

All done!

Celery Root Rémoulade

My pal Randy needs to use up lots of celeriac (also called celery root) he grew this summer. Here’s my favorite way to use it:

First, make your almond mayo. Here’s my recipe. It’s the best! (Not to brag or anything).

Now that you have your almond mayo, you can use it as the basis for a classic French rémoulade sauce. Related to tartar sauce, rémoulade is a mayonnaise-based condiment. It’s zippy and creamy and wonderful.

Rémoulade

Whisk another two tablespoons of good prepared mustard into the basic Almond Mayonnaise recipe (see above), and toss with a tablespoon or two each of chopped cornichons or other pickles, chopped parsley, chopped capers, and chopped fresh tarragon. That’s it!

I like rémoulade best in the dish Céleri Rémoulade (Celery Root Rémoulade): thinly sliced celery root (also known as celeriac) mixed with a mustard-flavored rémoulade. Celery root is not a widely-used vegetable, and if you’ve never cooked with it this is a great entry into the wonderful world of this tasty root vegetable. It’s a round, celery-flavored root often available at farmer’s markets in the fall. Choose a medium-sized root, as large ones can be woody inside. Celery root is usually served mashed or roasted, but you can eat it almost raw if served with a flavorful sauce—like rémoulade!

To make Celery Root Rémoulade, peel one celery root and slice very thinly with a mandoline slicer or vegetable peeler. (Optionally, to be super traditional you’d then cut the slices into matchsticks.)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then stir in the celery root. Cook until just tender, 1-3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water, then toss celery root with rémoulade sauce. Let the flavors meld in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Randy, if you make it, take a photo I can steal for this page! No pressure or anything to make this AMAZING DISH WITH ALL THAT CELERIAC I KNOW YOU HAVE…. ; )

Cranberry Citrus Compote and Candied Orange and Cranberry Bonbons

As I write this at 1 am on Halloween (I’m a night owl!), I can’t quite wrap my mind around November being here already. But here it is, and I’ll welcome it warmly, because this last week has been so tough for so many of us that turning the page seems like the best thing to do.

We’ve had a wild month at the shop, too, but less fraught with weather-related nightmares, thankfully. Oprah and Halloween (which brought with it a truly bittersweet surprise) bookended a month of intense busy-ness, which will (hopefully!) only intensify as the holiday season approaches.

Which brings us to this month’s chocolate: Candied Orange and Cranberry Bonbons, which are inspired by an amazing Cranberry Citrus Compote I make every year for Thanksgiving, and think about making the rest of the year but never do because of that weird thing where it’s almost impossible to make holiday foods when it’s not that particular holiday.

In case you’d like to start and end your holiday meal with the fresh flavors of cranberries and zesty citrus, here’s my recipe for the compote, which I adapted from Fine Cooking magazine years ago. Don’t forget the chocolates, too!

No photo of the compote, but I’ll add one after Thanksgiving!

CRANBERRY CITRUS COMPOTE

image-5

Makes 5 cups

Keeps a week. If making far ahead, stir in scallions at last minute. Let come to room temperature before serving.

19 oz. fresh cranberries, picked over and rinsed

optional: 5 oz frozen currants. I like using currants because you can get them locally. I usually freeze some during the summer for this dish.

zest of 2 lemons

zest of 2 oranges, preferably blood oranges

3 shallots, finely chopped

1 ¼ c sugar

½ c orange juice

1/3 c thinly sliced scallions

pinch salt

  1. Heat oven to 350. Combine cranberries, currants, zests, shallots, and sugar in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Turn into 2 (2 qt.) baking dishes and drizzle orange juice over the mixture.
  2. Bake, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and a few berries have popped open, about 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven, let cool thoroughly (the pectin in the excess liquid will firm up when cool), stir in scallions, cover, and refrigerate.