Such a wonderful and peculiar feast was this one!
Lorna had only two requests, but they are two of the trickiest and most time-consuming recipes that I make. The Lobster Cardinal is a decadent luxury from the Escoffier Cookbook that requires a flurry of last-minute preparation. The Orange Hazelnut Buttercream Torte is a brilliant cake from Please to the Table that requires numerous steps performed over several hours, with waiting time in between.
No obvious theme for the menu was suggested by the two requests. The lobster dish is a pre-WWI era fancy dish with black truffles, a creamy sauce, and many steps. The cake is a Russian fancy cake. For a wine, I considered a Viognier but opted instead for the classic Veuve Clicquot as the better accompaniment to the classic recipe.
Actually, one theme emerged loud and clear. This would be an expensive dinner. The truffle alone cost $40. I used 6 lobsters in all: four selects for serving, plus two more quarters for the meat. In addition to the Champagne, I brought up a 2001 Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale Oro. This was a big birthday, so I didn't mind the expense, but it didn't help to develop a theme.
This was invented for an election celebration in Boston's Eighth Ward (Southie & Roxbury) over a hundred years ago. It's a little sweet and you can overdo it with the fruit salad (like this one), so use some restrain here.
The charm of the Ward 8 seems to be in the way the orange and the lemon compete for the favor of the sweet grenadine, with a dry rye whiskey pulling the strings like a wily old South Boston politician. You could put down a few of these before you realize there's really liquor in there!
This recipe originated as a traditional Armenian dish in Please to the Table, but I have made some changes to make it more American. This is an excellent option for a Thanksgiving dinner for vegetarians, because it looks festive and is also nourishing and savory.
Type of Post:
Beyond New England
Best of Show:everything with old friends
It was a dark and stormy night...
I went to Jamaica for a weekend to attend the wedding of an old friend's daughter. I had never been to Jamaica (or anywhere in the Caribbean) and I had not seen Fitzroy in 21 years so I was ready for an adventure of the unknown!
That's a good thing because there was a tropical depression in the neighborhood that built into a hurricane while I was there; fortunately for the bride and the rest of us it passed to the north leaving Jamaica with only much-needed rain.
When I arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, Fitz picked me up and within minutes we were talking like we'd seen each other yesterday. As we made our way around the big harbor from the airport to the city, we got right back to the old business of solving the problems of the world.
This is a lighter-flavored version of the famous old Boston Brown Bread, sweetened with honey and maple syrup instead of the traditional molasses.
This makes a great breakfast, especially toasted or warmed in a skillet with hot butter. The flavors suit modern tastes as well as those of our colonial forebears, and the three whole grains make is almost healthful (except for that bit about the hot butter in the skillet...)
This is a change of pace from the sweet, juicy, tall coolers that I saw in Jamaican hotels. It it built on the classic cocktail model of 3:1 plus lime juice. A moment of relaxed contemplation reveals layers of tropical flavors against an authoritative rum backbone. I hope to try it at home with some Falernum syrup, but the Stone's is ubiquitous in its Jamaican home.
It is named for my friend Hugo "Racei" Matthews of Kingston, Jamaica. I invented it while awaiting his wedding, during a savage downpour that cleared up just in time for the happy occasion. This one was mixed at the Knutsford Court hotel, where I stayed and which I recommend.
This is properly made with Appleton Genesis white Jamaica rum, because I made it with that fine product, I was in Jamaica at the time, and as far as I know Racei is still there and happily married.
This festive dessert is spectacular, time-consuming, and short lived. It is best made for a celebration.
It is simply a shell made of meringue filled with whipped cream and fresh berries; the trick lies in making a good shell.
This traditional American summer classic is best made with very fresh peaches when they are in season in August and early September.
Be sure to buy them where they are grown! As with most fruit, the riper a peach gets, the softer it gets, so tree-ripe fruit is hard to pack and ship. Peaches shipped from Georgia or elsewhere are typically picked somewhat underripe, and then gassed with ethylene in a warehouse to "ripen" them artificially.
This handsome drink is complex and flavorful, suitable for hot nights or cold ones.
Lucien Gaudin was a world-champion fencer in the early 20th Century, winning awards from 1905 to 1928, including four gold medals and two silver medals in the 1924 and 1928 Olympic games. In the 1920s and 1930s, new cocktails were invented for all sorts of pop-culture references. Most have long since failed the test of time, but this tasty gin-and-Campari concoction remains a winner!
This heavy pastry is middle-eastern. I have been told it is Armenian, Greek, Lebanese, and Turkish. Whoever invented it deserves a prize!
This is sweet, but not super-sweet. It's great with tea or coffee after a light middle-eastern dinner in the summer.
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