I love the holiday season since I get to cook with fancy food items that I usually don’t feature on my menus, so I enjoy the change of pace for the few days out of the year.
(cooking at home - white truffle slices on pasta)
The other day I brought a white truffle home – I happened to have some left over from a holiday special menu addition. Shaving truffles over a plate of steaming hot pasta tossed with a knob of butter and seasoned with a few grains of sea salt makes you realize how wonderful food can be at it’s simplest with the right ingredients. An intense waft of earthiness mesmerized our brain cells and had us lick the plates, literally. It got me thinking about our new Year’s Even menu and enjoying the luxury of good ingredients. Here’s what we’re serving this year…
Our New Year’s Eve Menu (in the restaurant)
I gave myself the pleasure of paddling a spoon full of paddlefish caviar on a lightly toasted slice of brioche which was a leftover from test cooking for our New Years Eve menu. It’s seductive how these tiny caviar eggs explode on your palate with their faint brininess and silken resistance. A caviar course was supposed to be featured in the appetizer section of the menu, but for economical reasons I decided not to feature any caviar this year. An earthy golden chanterelle mushroom soup with rich duck confit dumplings will fill that menu position. On a recent seasonal menu we featured gigantic king crab from Alaska encased in a shrimp/cannelloni skin with a citrusy-tart tangerine vinaigrette and it was a hit so it will be featured as the other first course choice on our gala menu.
(duck pate on brioche toast with port wine/blueberry jelly and black walnuts)
Our guests may choose a house-made duck foie terrine served with port wine/blueberry jelly alongside black walnuts or crimson tuna ribbons (much like a carpaccio) over herb mesclun with truffle/soy vinaigrette.
With the recent opening of our cheese restaurant Little Cheese Pub we felt we had to feature a mac & cheese style dish this year. Our mac n cheese is a house-made spätzel pasta with chopped black truffles (in its batter mixture), crowned with Pecorino Tartufo cheese which is an Italian sheep’s milk cheese laden with black truffle pieces. How about some delicious creaminess!
Or … The second choice for the third course is Mangalitsa pork belly -- the super rare equivalent to Kobe beef in the pig world. We’ve been cooking this for the last couple of days for our guests and it brings tears to my eyes because it is so delicious. It’s rich and lusciously wonderful with snow white fat with the consistency of solid meat. The porky smelling dish bedazzles.
(Brandt farm steak with root vegetables and risotto rice topped with smoked bone marrow)
On Christmas Eve we roasted venison and it was a big success. It was cooked sous-vide which did not disturb its leanness it was served with house-made blueberry mustard served over earthy winter greens. We were debating if we should feature venison on this years New Years Eve menu but opted against it when we test cooked a rich Brandt farm beef steak which became fork tender when braised in Cabernet and bedecked with smoked bone marrow and black truffles.
And of course there is a great fish option which is a lovely lean King Salmon stuffed with butter poached lobster encrusted in kabocha squash on a bed of silken baby spinach.
The “grand finale” is a Viennese pastry table which is a dessert panache consisting of a Sacher torte tasting, a mini Linzer cup cake, a peanut butter & banana toffee bar, a petit strudel and a rich velvety pudding made with Cognac spiked French chocolate (which made us drool over the plate when we tasted it).
Enjoy and a Happy New Year