Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve Dinner 2009

THIS IS an AMAZING meal ALTOGETHER. It all was wonderful together.

Phyllo Pastry nibbles filled with: Spinach and Feta, Mixed Sauteed Mushrooms and Curried Potatoes (store bought :0D)

Wasabi and Parsnip Soup

2 tablespoons of butter
2 cups parsnips, peeled and diced
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup peeled and diced Yukon Gold potatoes
4 cups stock
1 tablespoon wasabi paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 large shrimp, cut into 3 pieces each

Heat butter in soup pot over medium heat. Add parsnips, onions and potatoes and sauté for approximately 4 minutes (until they are shiny).

Add stock, wasabi paste and soy sauce and bring to a boil. We used dried wasabi instead because D thinks it's more authentic but I think ours has gone stale. Don't assume that dessicated herbs and such can last. We added some paste I had in the fridge and it added the kick it was supposed to. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 12 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft.

Pour soup into a blender or use a hand blender and purée until smooth. Return to pot and add cream. Bring to a simmer and add shrimp. Poach shrimp until pink (approximately 2 to 3 minutes) and remove.

When ready to serve, add shrimp to each serving and top, if you wish, with a parsnip chip. Serves 6. We made the whole pot cuz we looooovvvee soup! D accidentally added twice the liquid, the shrimp sunk to the bottom :-P I think it was meant to be thick enough to support the garnish. Still lovely.

Grilled Tuna Loin with Kalamata Tapenade and Roasted Tomatoes

1 pint vine cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup Orange Chili Oil, recipe follows

Black Olive Tapenade:
2 cups pitted Kalamata olives
1 big garlic clove
Small handful fresh tarragon leaves
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Small handful fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Lay out cherry vine tomatoes in a single layer on a roasting tray. Drizzle with orange chili oil and roast in the oven for 8 to10 minutes until tomatoes are slightly burst and have given off their juices. Set aside.

For the olive tapenade:
Add tapenade ingredients to a food processor and process to a coarse puree. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and set aside.

Now prepare the tuna. Heat a large cast iron griddle pan over high heat. Drizzle the tuna with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on the hot grill for about 45 seconds and then turn over and do the same. The tuna should be rare on the inside and have nice grill marks on the outside.

To serve, smear a spoonful of the white bean puree on the bottom of a plate. Top with a the tuna and a spoonful of tapenade over the top. Set a cluster of the roasted tomatoes over the top and drizzle the juices from the pan all around the plate. Garnish with fresh arugula leaves.

Orange Chili Oil:
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons dried red chili flakes
5 strips orange peel
1 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Make the chili oil by adding the thyme, rosemary, chili flakes and orange peel to the oil. Put aside and let it sit for at least 1 hour to let the flavors infuse.

Steamed Red Swiss Chard
Trim the woodier bits of the stem. Chop into 2 inch strips and simply place in a large skillet with some olive oil and shallow water for 10 minutes.


1.5 cups heavy cream
3/4 cups veggie / chicken stock (low sodium)
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 t freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh parmesan, grated

Bring the liquids and spices to a low simmer. Add the cornmeal slowly and whisk briskly to avoid lumps. Add more stock or water if it gets too thick. It will continue to thicken if on heat. Unlike oatmeal, it will keep on sucking in the liquid without watering out. Just before serving, while still warm, whisk in the parmesan. This is THE BEST polenta I have ever had. I am thinking about playing with the cream amount with milk or stock but this was New Years Eve so cream it is!

Ginger and Vanilla Creme Brulee

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