Monday, June 4, 2007

Cream Puffs in June

MENU
Cocktails
“Bond” martinis (red & white vermouths, gin, vodka)
Frozen limoncello

Hors d’oeuvre
Goat cheese and jalapeno tomato marmalade in puff pastry
Goat cheese and apple chutney in puff pastry

Soup
Chilled pea (Craig Claiborne)

Pasta
Gnocchi with Gorgonzola sauce (Deborah Krasner)

Chardonnay

Main
Whole salmon baked in salt (Deborah Krasner)
Chopped salad of tomato and sweet peppers (Paula Wolfert)

Dessert
Cream puffs filled with vanilla pastry cream, chocolate drizzle (Craig Claiborne)

Deborah Krasner
Sharon Myers
Tukta Long
Marshall Brewer
Cecille Shapiro
Michael Krasner
Lynggaard Hansen
Suzanne Kingsbury


PRODUCTION
The salmon in salt was a revelation. The salt, blended with egg white, felt sandy and fluffy. Baked ten minutes per inch of fish measured at its thickest. The cooked salt is beige and requires a hammer to get at the fish. Rinsed of salt before serving, and deboned using a flat, whole hand, the opened fish is cooked medium rare. Softly textured, and flaky, it didn’t have the sticky teeth sensation a lot of salmon does.

Like several other things, the chocolate sauce was collaborative. Deborah’s whole stick of butter, my prodigious addition of dark chocolate (probably 5 ounces), and salt were melted together and stirred over low heat until smooth. After Deborah’s addition of corn syrup and cream, the tasting and flavoring considerations began. Sharon wondered about amaretto. Deborah said, “Keep it simple.” I preferred texture and behavior to flavor. In the end, vanilla was the only addition. I’d have added cooked cocoa paste for stronger chocolate flavor, but texture and behavior were perfect.

SOME THINGS TO INVESTIGATE
  • Furo Magic Fingers with diamond dust for un-serrated knife sharpening.
  • All-Clad saucepan with curved sides, no corners, wide mouth.
  • Commercial puff pastry
  • Importance of strong, homemade chicken stock