Just when you think you can’t take one more piece of bad news or one more burned caramel or one more night of not enough sleep, boom! Something fantastic happens. When I got home from Italy my sorry left foot was screaming at me for walking too long in shoes that were too tight for too many years. And I thought, “I’m sure they have a laser for this.” And they do. But you know there’s a lot to be learned late at night from the reviews that hundreds of unknown people write about just about anything you want to know. Turns out that statistically, laser surgery isn’t the two day recovery I thought it was. Many of my hundreds of fine unknown friends suggested months and months of pain and hobbling. But tucked into the bad news like an unexpected dish of deliciousness at a truck stop on a lonesome highway: something that looks a lot like one of those pasta measuring things you see with the holes. You just slip your tootsies into this thing to talk them back into their natural position and voila! No laser needed. At least not for the moment.
So back to work I went with both feet. On the menu, plain and simple with the slightest tips and turns made absolutely delicious.
Alsatian onion tart (onion confit, bits of bacon on a flaky pastry with dot of creme fraiche to finish each bite)
Fresh sausage wrapped in puff pastry with mustard on the side
Sliced green apple w/sliver of boucheron
amuse bouche of white asparagus garnished w/ shitake mushroom (saute mushrooms then add stock to reduce to almost nothing along with a hunk of shallot and sprig of thyme. When tender, remove shallot and thyme, add bit of creme fraiche
Roasted butternut squash soup (roast 2 squash, saute an onion w/bouquet garni and two cloves of garlic; add 1 chopped peeled yukon gold, water to cover. Add squash, puree. Add 1/2 cup heavy cream and then water until desired consistency. Taste for salt and pepper. You can add a bit of freshly grated nutmeg as well.)
Seared chicken breast on the bone marinated w/dijon, thyme sprigs, parsley, lemon zest, garlic cloves
Braised red cabbage w/onion, bacon, apple and red wine (saute onion w/bacon, bay leaf, thyme sprig, parsley then add to a buttered lasagna pan with thinly sliced purple cabbage, salt, pepper, a cup of delicious dry red wine, a tablespoon of red wine vinegar and a bouquet garni. Cover well with foil and bake nearly two hours. Check to be sure there is a bit of liquid. Finish w/bit more vinegar.
Braised carrot w/coriander, leek, and peppercorn, vinegar bay leaf, butter
Watercress, endive, mint, boston bibb w/sliced radish
Black seedless grapes
Apple Tarte Tatin