New Year’s Eve 2010

Susanna and I hosted another dinner party for NYE this year.

I’ve gotten into the tech side of cooking this year, and wanted to bring some of that new knowledge to bear, while still making sure everything was still just plain delicious, instead of gimmicky.

The evening began with a cocktail of prosecco with St. Germain and strawberries.

This was followed up with an amuse bouche I called The Sun and the Moon. Both portions of this dish were made possible only with new cooking technology, aka “modernist cuisine” (often called molecular gastronomy, but this is a name most chefs who practice the art now dislike).

The sun was a deep fried egg yolk, based on this recipe (I also built my immersion circulator based on his design and help). First, I cooked the eggs at 65.5C for one hour to cook the yolk perfectly. Then I cracked open the eggs and carefully rinsed away the runny whites. I breaded with flour, eggwash, and then panko with cayenne, paprika, and salt, then deep fried at a rather hot 360F until golden brown (that hot to keep the yolks from setting further).

The moon was spherified buffalo mozzarella, based on a recipe from here. First, I mixed buffalo mozzarella with cream, salt, and calcium lactate gluconase, then froze this into spheres. I dropped the frozen balls into a sodium alginate bath for two minutes each, which encapsulated the mixture into a perfect little sphere.

I plated the moons with a really nice grassy olive oil, salt, and basil chiffonade, and the suns with lemon zest.

For the salad course, we went from high tech modern cookery to old school supper club… a classic wedge salad (sorry, no pictures of the finished product). Homemade blue cheese dressing (with three kinds of blue cheese), plus french dressing (I think this is a Wisconsin tradition) on a quarter of a head of iceberg. Thinly sliced red onion and scallion, plus bacon.

For the main course, the vegetarian option (and carnivore side dish) was a sweet potato curry with coconut basmati rice, and mint chutney.

The meat eaters also got a blue cheese crusted tenderloin steak. The night before I butchered a whole beef tenderloin into individual steaks. I seasoned and seared them then put them in individual ziploc bags with a pat of butter.

The day of the party, an hour before serving, I dropped them into the immersion circulator at 54.5C (perfect medium rare). To plate, I took them out, seared again, then topped with a mixture of panko, blue cheese (again), and fresh parsley. I broiled under a hot broiler until the cheese melted. While under the broiler, I headed up a red wine reduction in the hot pan I used to sear, then blended it. I then plated the steaks with a swirl of the reduction.

This picture is actually from two days later, the one bit of leftover steak (I’d made one extra). It doesn’t really do the original dish justice, but you can see how the meat is a nice medium rare throughout.

The dessert was a clone of Roy’s chocolate souffle. I made it with mostly Santander single origin chocolate 65% I happened to have on hand, with a little Valrhona 71% to make up the shortfall.  I plated this with a raspberry reduction I’d done earlier topped with some powdered sugar. I’d done a last minute attempt at a Tia Maria whipped cream, but it didn’t turn out.

After all of this, I then settled into some serious New Year’s Eve drinking, and it all went much too late for this old man!

More pictures are up here (many thanks to Ryan Murphy for all of the shots after serving began!).

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