Christmas Omakase At Home 2016

Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com

* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2016/08/11/6759/
* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2016/12/02/thanksgiving-omakase-at-home-2016/
* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2016/09/14/wonton-cornetscones/
* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2016/01/13/on-appetizer-soups/
* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2016/12/14/roasted-carrot-salad-with-curry-aigre-doux/
* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2016/12/09/monkfish-with-iron-chef-sakai-tomato-oil-sauce/
* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/red-wine-braised-short-ribs-with-root-vegetables/

So at long last, my last major dinner of the year was here.  And what a whirlwind of preparation it was to get there.  I started making the cones a couple of days before the dinner and wiped my brow “whew” getting over that hurdle.  Little did I know that Whole Foods Edgewater would throw a steeplechase hurdle in my way by not having fresh chives in its produce section.  I ended up relying on Matsuhisa’s recipe for tartare by using a 2:1 mix of shallot to grated onion for this micro-batch portion.

For the tartare – I mixed:

2 oz of sushi grade salmon belly (boy did I get lucky at Mitsuwa Edgwater) finely minced
3/8 t extra virgin olive oil
3/8 t meyer lemon oil
3/16 t grated garlic (thank you Matsuhisa-sama!)
3/8 t finely minced shallots
1/4 teaspoon 4:1 salt/white pepper mix

For the sweet red onion creme fraiche – I mixed:

4 T creme fraiche
1/8 t 4:1 salt/white pepper mix
1 1/2 t finely minced red onion then soaked in water and then drained

The creme fraiche mix I loaded into a plastic ziplock back, cut off a small tip and piped the mixture into the cones leaving enough space for me to stuff about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salmon tartare on top!

starter offering: salmon tartare with sweet red oinon creme fresh in wonton cornets

dinner starter offering: salmon tartare with sweet red oinon creme fresh in wonton cornets

Fortunately, the roasted vegetable salad with curry aigre-doux worked out just as expected as did the veloute (though I must say we had a bit more leftover veloute which we happily finished the next day).

Courses 2 and 3: espresso cup cauliflower veloute (foreground), roasted carrots/cippolini and walnuts salad with curry aigre-doux

Courses 2 and 3: espresso cup cauliflower veloute (foreground), roasted carrots/cippolini and walnuts salad with curry aigre-doux

Earlier in the day, I’d gotten the garlic/tomato oil sauce ready and my wife helped out by prepping the basil as dinner started so I could re-warm the sauce with fresh basil. As I was getting ready to deliver the fish course, I nearly had a coronary when I realized I’d forgotten the garlic chips garnish.  I became a whirlwind thinly slicing garlic like it was usuzukuri sashimi and quickly getting it into the hot oil to crisp – and fortunately everything got delivered almost on time after the salad course.

seared monkfish medallions, crisp garlic chips, Iron Chef Sakai Garlic Basil Tomato Oil Sauce

seared monkfish medallions, crisp garlic chips, Iron Chef Sakai Garlic Basil Tomato Oil Sauce

While everyone was enjoying the monkfish, I loaded 4″ diameter ramekins (2″ deep) with the sauteed root vegetables and then pieces of braised shortrib and a bit of the reduced nappe’d braising liquid from Ron Siegel’s recipe.  I’d prepared that stew the day before for an hour in my pressure cooker and got it chilled so I could clarify off the fat.  I put the cooked shortribs in the refridgerator for dinner and reduce the braising liquid to about 25% of its total volume so that it was nice and rich.  Once the ramekins were loaded,  I topped that off with the puff pastry dough and got it into a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Ron Siegel Cabernet Braised Shortribs And Root Vegetables En Croute

Ron Siegel Cabernet Braised Shortribs And Root Vegetables En Croute

In addition to preparing the sauce for the monkfish, that same morning I spent time preparing two ‘racks’ from a ripe whole pineapple that’d been sitting on the counter for about 6 days. I was inspired to do this dessert based on Chef Keller’s original Oven Roasted Maui Pineapple ( The French Laundry Cookbook, pg. 282)  But how does one go about transforming a whole pineapple into this wonderful simple dessert?  Perhaps, the following pictures are worth a thousand words – once I wedge cut the core out of half the pineapple, I stood it vertically an proceeded to cut away 1/4 of the pineapple from about 4″ of the skin flap:

Creating a 'rack of pineapple'

Creating a ‘rack of pineapple’

Now it was just a matter of cutting alternate rectangles out of the flap to form the chop ‘bones’:

...having cut off alternate rectangles from the rack 'flap'

…having cut off alternate rectangles from the rack ‘flap’

That rack I roasted at 400 degrees, 20 minutes fruit-side down, 30 minutes fruit side up and then 20 minutes fruit side down.

Roasted 'Rack Of Pineapple' at the end of the cooking time

Roasted ‘Rack Of Pineapple’ at the end of the cooking time

Once it was cooked, I let it sit to get to room temperature and then to the refridgerator to chilled.  When it was time to serve dessert, I chose to simply spoon a

Roasted 'Rack Of Pineapple' Chop With Sweet Vanilla Creme Fraiche a la French Laundry

Roasted ‘Rack Of Pineapple’ Chop With Sweet Vanilla Creme Fraiche a la French Laundry

bit of sweet vanilla creme fraiche from the French Laundry book onto a plate, cut a ‘lamb chop’ portion off the pineapple ‘rack’ and served it upon the creme fraiche.    The sweet vanilla creme fraiche was astonishingly easy – it’s about 6 T creme fraiche mixed with 1 1/2 t of sugar and 1/2 t of vanilla extract (The French Laundry Cookbook, pg. 278). Boy, were my diners’ eyes opened to that flavor combination.

While my family have had the cabernet braised short ribs before, I think the cornets, monkfish and dessert left an quite an impression. I think it’s fair to say that everyone fully enjoyed the offered omakase meal for this holiday occasion.

 

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