I'm happy to say, it was a great event! I managed to cram 19 people into my apartment.
The group included a contract attorney and her labor law attorney husband; a lobbyist/consultant and her GWU professor husband; a statistician and his teacher wife with the gender ambiguous, but really cool name of Kyle; a paper industry consultant and confidant of Nelson Mandela and his wife who has the voice of Hailey Mills; friends who just moved here from Sonoma on a fellowship/internship (he, in Senator Lieberman's office, she, at the NIH); a Department of Commerce economist and his ex-boyfriend; a school teacher and her scientist girlfriend; a contract procurement manager; and public relations executive; and me.
The food was good (I'm my own worst critic) and the poetry was outstanding.
So, here are the recipes and their sources. There are four of them, by the way, making this a lengthy blog. Enjoy!
From The Concierge Recommends…Culinary Masterpieces from the Great Chefs of San Francisco and Northern California, Gala Publishing, San Francisco, page 21.
Goat Cheese Fritters with Apricot Sauce
Chef Aaron Welsh
San Souci, Carmel, California
1 lb. goat cheese
2 cups peanut oil
2 cups dark red port
20 dried apricots
2 cups flour
12 oz. beer
Pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch of watercress
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, egg, pinch of sugar, and all but a sip of beer. Mix well and let rest for ½ an hour.
In a sauce pan, place dried apricots and cover them with port, cooking over a low flame until apricots become soft and only half of the liquid surrounds them.
Form the goat cheese into 8 equal size balls and season them with salt and pepper. (If you’re doing these for a brunch such as the Twist of Brunch, halve these and make 16 1-inch size balls.)
Begin to heat the oil until it reaches 350 degrees or until it is hot enough to quickly fry a test droplet of batter. Drop the goat cheese balls one at a time, first into batter then into the hot oil. Cook approximately 1 minute or until they are crispy and golden brown.
Divide the apricots and their port syrup among 4 warm plates. Arrange two fritters per plate on top and garnish with springs of fresh watercress.
From The Concierge Recommends…Culinary Masterpieces from the Great Chefs of San Francisco and Northern California, Gala Publishing, San Francisco, page 51.
Belgian Endive Spears with Creamed Blue Cheese and Pomegranate Seeds
Chef: Lynn Sheehan
Mecca, San Francisco
¾ cup Roquefort cheese
¼ cup crème fraiche or sour cream
4 Belgian endives, white and/or red
1 pomegranate, peeled and seeded
1 bunch of chives, cut into small rounds
Blue Cheese Filling
Cream blue cheese (at room temperature) in a mixing bowl with a paddle. Add crème fraiche or sour cream, and work until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Note: Filling can be made in advance, refrigerated, brought back to room temperature before filling endive leaves.
Cut base off endives to free individual leaves. Spoon or pipe blue cheese filling onto endive leaves. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and chives. Serve at room temperature.
Yields approximately 24 portions.
From Viennese Cuisine: The New Approach, Peter Grunauer, Andreas Kisler, and Donald Flanell Friedman, John Murray Publishers Ltd., London, 1987, page 153.
Viennese Emperor’s Whim (Kaiserschmarren)
5 oz. of flour, sifted
½ pint of milk
4 tbsp. sugar
4 eggs, separated, at room temperature
2 tbsp. dark rum
Zest of 1 lemon, grated
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 ½ oz. clarified butter for cooking the batter
2 tbsp. sultanas or raisins
1 oz. butter
Powdered sugar (optional)
Cranberry, apple, or pear compote
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
With an electric mixer, beat the flour, milk, and 1 tablespoon of sugar to a smooth paste. Then beat in the egg yolks, rum, lemon zest, cinnamon, and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites and 1 tablespoon of the sugar to a stiff meringue. Carefully fold the meringue into the flour and milk mixture.
Over a medium high flame, heat the clarified butter in each of two large frying pans, the second of which needs to be ovenproof—or use a flameproof gratin dish. Pour the batter into the first frying pan and cook on one side like an omelette for about 10 minutes. Add the sultanas and flip the omelette second frying pan or gratin dish. Transfer the frying pan or gratin dish to the over and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove the omelette from the pan or dish and, using 2 forks, tear the omelette into pieces. Return the torn omelette to the pan or dish and add the 2 tablespoons of butter and the remaining sugar. Cook over medium heat, turning the pieces over for 4 to 5 minutes until caramelized.
Serve on four warm plates. Sprinkle with extra powdered sugar, if wanted. Serve with fruit compote.
Serves four to six people.
Cook’s note: The consistently of this omelette is almost bread like and won’t look like any egg-centric dish you’re accustomed to seeing in the U.S. ¯ An easier way to make this recipe as written, but add in any other ingredients right after you’ve added the meringue rather than waiting and adding later. Dried cranberries or raisin are tasty. I’ve also done a bacon and cheddar omelette that was quite yummy. If you choose to use bacon and cheddar, though, turn down the heat a little on the stove. With the addition of the oils from the bacon and cheddar, it will brown much faster. ¯ In using two frying pans, make sure the first is slightly smaller than the second. This will make it easier to flip the omelette from one to the other. Place the second pan directly over the first with the handles off set to one another and quickly flip the omelette. If you don’t have an ovenproof pan, don’t despair. Continue to cook the omelette in the pan on the stove, then remove to a wooden cutting board, cut into slices like you would a pie, and transfer to a glass baking dish. Finish cooking in the oven for another 5-7 minutes. ¯ This dish can also be served with maple syrup.
This is a favorite of my family and a tradition at Christmas time for brunch on Christmas morning. I generally serve it with maple syrup, bacon, sausage, fresh cut fruit, and orange juice.
From Country Inns: The Best of Country Cooking, George Mahaffey, Sunset Books, San Francisco, 1997, page 73.
Potato Doilies with Smoked Salmon
1 baking potato, ½ peeled, sliced and julienned
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
½ tsp. curry powder
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tbsp. sour cream
¼ cup buttermilk
1 tsp. chopped fresh chives
1 tsp sieved hard cooked egg yolk
1 tsp. finely chopped red onion
½ lb smoked salmon, sliced paper-thin
4 small inner yellow frisee leaves
4 tiny fresh basil leaves
Place the potato in a bowl. Add the salt, pepper, and curry powder. Toss well to distribute the seasonings evenly.
In a 6-inch nonstick pan over medium high heat, warm 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil. Spread about ¼ of the seasoned potato in the oil, using a fork to design a rough shape 4-5 inches in diameter. It is important to try to keep the julienne spread thinly so that a lacelike quality is formed. The starches present in the potato will ensure that the pieces stick together.
Cook until golden brown on the bottom, 3-4 minutes, adding 1-2 more tablespoons oil and reducing the heat as necessary to keep the edges from browning too quickly.
Note: Using too little oil will cause the potato to cook unevenly, so be generous with it. Keep in mind, however, not to add too much at the start of cooking, before the potatoes have had time to “glue” themselves together.
Using tongs, turn the crisp over and continue to cook until golden brown on the second side, about 1 ½ minutes longer. Using tongs, transfer to a paper towel-lined platter to drain. Repeat to make 3 more doilies, adding more of the vegetable oil as necessary.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, and buttermilk until smooth. Add the chopped chives, sieved egg yolk, and red onion and stir until evening distributed throughout.
To serve, place a doily in the center of each plate. Arrange 2 or 3 slices of the smoked salmon on top of each doily and garnish with the frisee, basil, and chives. Drizzle some of the mayonnaise mixture around the perimeter. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
We also made a spinach-strawberry-mushroom-scallion-almond with raspberry vinegar-dijon mustard-poppy seed vinaigrette dressing. I'm sure you can intuit that one on your own. If not, holler and I'll dig out the recipe.