3.14.2006

Birthday? Time for Champagne!

It was my birthday over the weekend. Yay. Everyday is a good day for champagne but it's always better when shared with a group of friends or family. Especially when it's frickin delicious like Moet Chandon White Star. But I won't be too hasty to forget to give credit to the delicious starter beverage of the night, Brasserie Dupont's Saison Dupont - always something to get happy about. Pleasantly sour, fruity, lightly carbonated with a beautiful hue. Do try it, you will be pleased. :)

A few dishes for the night...
sardine
avocado
*Sherry Vinegar Marinated Sardines with Avocado & Spring Onion*

Who better to ask how to eat sardine than Brett of In Praise of Sardines? This was my first sardine ever, canned or fresh. I got this particular French canned Sardines from Surfas although I've seen cans from Portugal, Spain, and Italy. I followed Brett's suggestion and marinated the fillets in a vinaigrette of sherry vinegar, olive oil, and parsley, and got avocado and spring onion to go with it. Since I didn't want to preassemble the avocado and sardines before the guests came, I placed the sliced avocado in a separate dish with a good squeezing of lemon juice, olive oil, and sliced scallion. It was soo good. I would probably make some crostini next time though instead of using crackers because there is more juice and oil that would be easily soaked up by the porous crostini.

zucchinicarp
cheese
*Zucchini Carpaccio with Lemon Juice, Olive Oil & Mint*
*Cheese Plate of Gorgonzola & Grano Padano*

Originally I wanted to serve homemade rosemary focaccia with roquefort, walnuts, and orangeblossom honey but I kind of messed up. It came out really pretty, but bland and too crispy. I threw it out to the horror of Boy but there's always next time. It wasn't that hard to make, just a little time consuming.

So I had to make a replacement dish, which is where the zucchini carparccio came into play. A while back I saw Tyler Florence make this dish and thought what an easy and refreshing dish to make. The lemon juice, fruity extra virgin olive oil, and mint really brought some spring freshness to the zucchini. It was yummy topped on top of a cracker and a piece of parmesan. If the zucchini was sliced lengthwise very thinly and grilled just for a few seconds, to get some nutty attractive charring, and dressed with the same ingredients, it would have been better. It's too bad I have an electric stove though. I tried to buy a grill/griddle once but it said "do not use on electric." Pooey.

And with the lonesome "cave-aged" gorgonzola (Trader Joe's no longer carries roquefort!!) I made a cheese plate with some grano padano I chunked off with a pairing knife. The blue cheese - eh. The grano padano - yumm. The grano padano is "similar to Parmesan Reggiano made in the Parma region... produced north of the river Po and is matured for less time than Parmesan cheese. The result is a slightly milder cheese." [http://www.foodforfood.co.uk/cheeses.html]

dates
Roasted Dates with Bacon & Parmesan

I also tried to make one of AOC's well-known dishes, the bacon-wrapped parmesan-stuffed roasted dates. I cannot express how good this is! But all the mejool dates I've seen around town has been huge, and I could not locate any that were small like the ones used at AOC. Also when I got bacon from Whole Foods, and requested them thin-cut, it came out too thin and fragile. The dates didn't turn out as pretty as they were supposed to and I overcrisped the bacon on one side, but taste wise it was still addicting.

strawberries
*Chocolate Dipped Strawberries*

And I made dessert too! Fresh and ripe fruit desserts are my favorite - its sweetness derived from perfect ripeness instead of an injection of sugar. Another favorite fruit dessert of mine is simple balsamic-macerated strawberries with whipped cream. I got super juicy, healthy, beautifully berry-blushed strawberries and dipped them in a melted mixture of bittersweet chocolate, sugar, butter, and heavy cream. I didn't use measurements but tried to get the chocolate to be drizzley. Didn't happen but the strawberries still came out good. Everyone loved the fact that the chocolate was soft and not shattering and falling apart like many chocolate-covered strawberries. I used bittersweet chocolate because that's what I had at home. In case it might turn out too dark and bitter I added a small spoonful of granulated sugar. The chocolate didn't turn out shiny like I had wished. Maybe more butter?

7 comments:

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Happy belated to you and again, an impressive lineup of food. you need to hook me up with some AOC recipes, and i'll do the same with The Restaurant. did you get a nice mandolin or german knife for your bday? haha.

When i first got into cooking, Tyler Florence was my favorite. I thought that his Food 911 show was practical and interesting. It was also funny watching him flirt with the mostly-female guests.

Liz said...

Happy birthday! It's my 30th next week (I've abdicated cooking responsibility for the night - I'm very impressed that you actually did the meal yourself on a champagne day - I can't cook sensibly when there's any of the fizzy stuff around). I'm kind of dreading it.

It all sounds delicious, and those dates in particular sound brilliant - I do a similar thing with prunes and bacon when we have lots of friends over. I think I'll try your dates instead next time.

Santos said...

happy birthday to you! it looks like you really enjoyed planning out your menu (and then creating and eating it :))--everything looks delicious.

yoony said...

thanks dylan!
how did you ask for recipes at the Rest.? it would be so convenient if they would email me some. :) i usually ask what goes into each dish but that's about it. i actually did get some henckles knives from my parents! and loads of books, mostly food of course. [tyler florence is such a flirt! i always wonder if he hookuped with the chosen lady of the episode. he calls everyone of them beautiful!]


thanks squeezeweasel!
happy early birthday! :) it seems like there are always a lot of march bdays. definitely try the dates but beware you will want to eat them all. i usually don't drink until i'm almost done with all the cooking. but then i drink a lot after! hehe, self-reward is a important part of cooking.

thanks santos!
i did enjoy planning, making, and eating the food. but also watching other people enjoy it too. :) although i had to ration out the dates to my bf or else he would eat it all and leave none for the others!

yoony said...

thanks dylan!
how did you ask for recipes at the Rest.? it would be so convenient if they would email me some. :) i usually ask what goes into each dish but that's about it. i actually did get some henckles knives from my parents! and loads of books, mostly food of course. [tyler florence is such a flirt! i always wonder if he hookuped with the chosen lady of the episode. he calls everyone of them beautiful!]


thanks squeezeweasel!
happy early birthday! :) it seems like there are always a lot of march bdays. definitely try the dates but beware you will want to eat them all. i usually don't drink until i'm almost done with all the cooking. but then i drink a lot after! hehe, self-reward is a important part of cooking.

thanks santos!
i did enjoy planning, making, and eating the food. but also watching other people enjoy it too. :) although i had to ration out the dates to my bf or else he would eat it all and leave none for the others!

Ng Wai Mun, Paul said...

Hi there!

Let me introduce myself, I'm Paul, the owner of recipes365.net, I started this weblog recently to showcase a recipe a day everyday. I was wondering would you be interested to be a recipe contributor?

Regards. Paul.

yoony said...

hi paul,

i would love to be a contributor! thanks for asking. how do i get started?