This weekend, my family celebrated my sister’s birthday. She’s one of those people who get excited over the smallest things. Because it is most enjoyable to do things for highly excitable people, I wanted to plan a dinner filled with detail. I drafted a menu for the occasion which then morphed into a very simple five course meal.
A multiple course meal is almost perfect for an event such as an adult birthday. It allows everyone to take their time and converse through each part as the dinner becomes almost an event. I find much joy in eating a course and then knowing there is more to come!
The courses included are very versatile and subject to what you are serving, and essentially how you are influenced. Cultures, personality and tradition influence me. I followed a very traditional French menu. It’s simple, flavorful and classy. The courses included were: 1. A Salad Course, 2. A Fish Course, 3. Meat Course, 4.Cheese Course, 5. Dessert.
Here it is:
1. Asparagus and Chard Salad
Asparagus is in season, and most affordable this time of year. Who doesn’t like an eclectic salad that doesn’t have lettuce? I simply blanched the asparagus and Swiss Chard tossed them in an a citrus vinaigrette and plated them. Very simple first course that exposes the essence of Spring.
2. Clams and Mussels in Herbed Broth
I wanted to have a seafood dish, but also really enjoy a good soup. This is an excellent marriage of both. I only added 4 herbs to the broth: Dill, Basil, Parsley and Cilantro. ( ok. I added onions and garlic too.) The dish was bright, light and fresh.
3. Steak Frites
Steak Frites is very classic French Bistro. I served a nice quality Filet Mignon seasoned only with salt and quite a bit of pepper. When you start with a quality piece of meat, there isn’t much to do with it, other than cook it to the right temperature and serve it with a great Red Blend. The frites, I hand cut and fried them in oil and some reserved pig lard I rendered. The lard really added to the fry. Some may find that to be gross or really unhealthy, but I find it to be delicious. If you are going to enjoy a fried potato… enjoy it! Otherwise, don’t have one.
4. Cheese Course
I really enjoy cheese. This course was so simple because it consists of the most basic ingredients. I found a nice Stilton, a young Camembert, and a beautiful Gjetost Cheese. Gjetost cheese is a Norwegian brown cheese from both cow and goat milk. It is delicious. If you have never tried it, you really are missing out. The cheese is heated in is process, which creates a caramelization of the sugars in the milk. There is a hint of sweet, yet it’s creamy. On occasion, the Norwegians do something right!
5. Personal Coeur à la Crème
I have made Coeur à la Crème for years. It is very simplistic in nature, yet very satisfying. I found small molds for this dessert online, and had to add them to my collection.
They are lined with cheese cloth and set in the refrigerator until they set. The holes on the bottom of the mold allow escess water to leave.
This is the Coeur à la Crème before being inverted onto the serving plate.
And if you think I’m still not excited about the jars I got last week, I used them as vases for the table setting.
One Must Love Spring…