Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Dessert - Sebring Sattelite

Deciding what to do for dessert was tough.  I ended up with an amalgamation of three different desserts.  First, Belgian waffles.  They were introduced at the Seattle World's Fair in 1962, not the subsequent New York World's Fair in 1964, as most people think.  I found a recipe that uses pearl sugar.  Maybe not completely authentic, but tasty and crispy. They were traditionally served with strawberries and whipped cream.  Second, was the dessert listed on the 1962 menu, Coupe Tropical.  Ice cream, chocolate mousse, bananas and pineapple.  Third, what has become a signature dessert since 1962 at the Space Needle, the Lunar Orbiter.  All assembled into one dessert.

Belgian Waffles

1 pkg dry yeast  
3/4 cup milk, heated to lukewarm
 3 eggs
1 cup melted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups pearl sugar

Sprinkle yeast over milk in a bowl.  Add a little sugar.  Let sit for about 15 minutes, until yeast 'blooms'.  Mix in eggs, butter and vanilla and stir until blended.  Add flour mixed with salt to form a soft dough.  

Let batter rise in a warm place until double, about 30 minutes.  Stir in pearl sugar and let sit 15 minutes.  Stir gently and make waffles in a Belgian waffle maker.  You can make these ahead and reheat them in the oven.  If you can't find pearl sugar you can make your own by chopping up sugar cubes.  Just crush them with a meat tenderizer, breaking each cube into 4-5 pieces.  

These waffles are so good, you'll probably want to make a double batch.  They reheat very well.

Chocolate Mousse

2 cups chilled heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
7 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped (I used Callebaut)

Heat 3/4 cup of cream until just below boiling.  Place egg yolks, chocolate, sugar and vanilla in blender.  With blender running, add hot cream.  Blend until smooth.  Cool to room temperature.  Meanwhile, whip the remaining cream to soft peaks.  Do not overwhip.  Fold 1/4 of whipped cream into chocolate mixture to soften, then fold in remaining whipped cream.  Chill until set.

For fruit sauce

1 lb strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 bananas, sliced
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks 

Clean and slice strawberries into a bowl.  Sprinkle with sugar and allow to sit for 10 minutes.  Stir in bananas and pineapple chunks.

To assemble the dessert, place half a waffle in each bowl.  Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a scoop of the chocolate mousse.  Spoon fruit over top.

Now comes the lunar orbiter component!  It's all in the presentation.

Ready for lift-off.  Ten...nine...eight.....

In order to serve this, I ended up building my own bowls.  Unfortunately, the glue I used didn't hold, but most of them made it to the table before they fell apart.  To do this you need a double walled vessel.  I made mine by placing a small bowl inside a larger bowl.  I then placed the dessert bowl in the smaller bowl.  In the bottom large bowl I put chunks of dry ice.  When it was served, I poured hot water over the dry ice, making the smoke effect.  Great fun!

Check out the real thing on Youtube.

With dessert we drank 2011 Cascina del Santuario Moscato d'Asti.

We have lift-off!

This wine was delicious.  It glides over your tongue.  Sweet, but not cloying.  A perfect ending to a great meal!

We then descended back into the living room for coffee and a viewing of my aunt's home movies of Century 21.  She was a pretty good filmographer!

Dessert…beverage…and a friendly talk, then a parting eye to the sweeping view. It has been grand…it’s time to land.

Next party I have planned is in July.  Stay tuned!  I'll be sharing some of my prep work between now and then.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Salad - Eye of the Needle?

Eye of the Needle salad.  What the heck is that?!  From the description on the menu it said it consisted of "Crisp Romaine lettuce, seasoned and blended with finely chopped herring and croutons.  Our creamy dressing."  Okay, the lettuce, croutons and dressing I'm familiar with.  But who adds herring to their salad nowadays?  What kind of herring did they add back then?  Was this pickled herring, an influence from the Scandinavian population?  Or were they thinking something different?  I finally opted for kippered herring, making it almost like a Caesar salad.  This seemed most logical to me.  If anyone knows what this salad is really supposed to be like, please let me know!

Eye of the Needle Salad (my interpretation!)

10 cups Romaine lettuce
1 tin kippered herring, drained and chopped
1/2 cup ranch dressing (I made Uncle Dan's Southern dressing)
1 cup homemade croutons

Toss lettuce with herring and dressing.  Serve on salad plates.  Top with croutons.

Okay, I couldn't find the Space Needle shaped salt and pepper shakers.  So I improvised!

Fresh ground pepper anyone?

The wine is one I've had before, and enjoyed.  It was just as good this time. 
Thurston Wolfe 2010 PGV White

Clean and crisp.  Fruity but not frou-frou.  Perfect with the salad.  

I hope the salad settled your tummy.  Tomorrow is dessert!

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Main Entree - Prime Rib

Or, as you would say in 1962, Roast Prime Ribs of Western Beef.

The scene from your commanding table will add delight to these outstanding foods.  At night, under the stars, you can even imagine yourself on a voyage in space.

And I thought we'd be eating freeze dried ice cream, washed down with Tang!

There are so many recipes for Prime Rib.  Basically, it's a roast.  The crucial thing about cooking it is getting it to the correct temperature. This is what I did, you can cook yours any way you feel most comfortable.  

Prime Rib

4-5 lb rib roast
6-8 cloves garlic, crushed

Have the butcher cut the roast from the bones and tie it back on.  This lets you keep the flavor added by the bones and creates a natural rack for the meat to roast on, but makes it easier to carve.  Place roast fat side up in roasting pan two to three hours prior to cooking, to allow the meat to rise to room temperature.  Rub roast with garlic.

When ready to roast, place thermometer in center of roast, away from the bones.  I like to use a leave in thermometer, you lose less juice than with an instant read one.  Place roast in oven that has been preheated to 450 degrees.  Cook for 30 minutes, then lower temperature to 325.  I cooked this roast to 130, which is more done than I prefer, but I like my meat pretty rare.  If you like it rare, take it out at 125 degrees.  Remove from oven and allow to stand 20 minutes before carving.  The temperature will continue to rise.

While meat is resting, make the au jus by adding beef broth to the pan drippings.  Bring to a boil, scraping the pan to loosen the browned bits.  Skim off fat and ladle into bowl to serve with the meat.  You can add wine if you like,but I didn't, because there was no mention of wine on the Space Needle menu.

One of the menus I found mentioned artichoke bottoms with peas as a side dish.  I imagine the 1962 version used canned, but I used fresh artichokes and frozen peas.

Artichoke bottoms with Tender Green Peas

6 artichokes
lemon juice
2 cups frozen peas

Tear off leaves from artichokes and remove choke.  You will be left with a fraction of the former artichoke, but that's all you need.  Cook artichoke bottoms in water with a little lemon juice until tender.  Keep hot while you cook the peas. When ready to serve, place one artichoke bottom on each plate and top with a spoonful of peas.  Dot with butter.

Potato Gems

2 lbs potatoes (I used a mix of red, white and purple potatoes)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 T fresh rosemary, chopped
salt and pepper

Cut potatoes into similar sized pieces.  Toss with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Bake at 350 degrees for an hour, stirring once or twice.

The wine with this course was 2008 Lobo Hills Cabernet Sauvignon.  

I loved this wine!  Very well balanced, but with enough tannins to deal with the beef.  I'd drink this wine any day.  

I hope you aren't too full.  We have two more courses to go!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Palate Cleanser - Lemon Rosemary Sorbet

What I lost on the last course I made up for with this course.  This was perfect!  I found the recipe here.

Lemon Rosemary Sorbet

A perfect balance of sweet and tart; rosemary and lemon

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 1/3 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 T vodka

Combine sugar and water in saucepan. 
Stir until mixture comes to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add rosemary, cover, and let stand approximately 10 minutes or until cool. 

Place a fine strainer over a large bowl and pour syrup mixture through (straining out the rosemary leaves). Add lemon juice and vodka to the strained syrup mixture; stir until thoroughly blended.

Freeze for two hours, then scrape and stir with a fork.  Freeze again. Once again, scrape and stir with a fork.  Repeat one more time and freeze until solid.

Tomorrow, the main entree.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Fish - Grilled Salmon

It's Copper River salmon season, so I knew I had to serve salmon.  If I had do overs I'd rethink this course.  But remember back to the beginning of the meal when I served all the liquor?  That was so when this course came, you didn't notice my mistakes.  Unless, of course, you are Roy.  Well, others may have noticed as well, but were too polite to say anything!

Grilled Salmon with Lemon Butter

A perfectly cooked piece of salmon
 1 1/2 lbs fresh caught Copper River salmon fillet (mine was a king salmon)

Skin the fillet and remove any bones you find.  My husband will find any you don't find!  Cut the fish into six equal pieces.

Place each portion of salmon individually on a square of non-stick foil.  Fold foil over and crimp edges to make a packet.  Grill for 7-10 minutes (depending on the size of each piece) until done, turning once while cooking.  Serve with Lemon Butter.

To make lemon butter, melt 1/2 cup butter, add the juice of one lemon and heat through.

Grilled Asparagus and Garlic Spears

Wash and trim spears.  Toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Place on grill and cook for 10 minutes, or until asparagus is cooked but still crisp. 

This course was the most simple, and the most difficult.  When you cook salmon, timing is everything.  Which can be difficult in a multi-course meal.  In between eating the crab, and keeping my eye on the roast (which was cooking faster than I anticipated) I had to race out to the back deck to the barbeque grill to do the fish and asparagus.  The fish was portioned into foil packets, ready to place on the grill at the appropriate time.  The asparagus was ready to go on as well, and needed just a few moments longer to cook.  At the last minute at the store, I'd added garlic spears to my basket, to cook with the asparagus.  I'd never cooked them before, and I was intrigued by them.  I wasn't sure how they would turn out.  So I was juggling all this in my brain, which had been fogged over by this time by the previous glasses of wine!  30 seconds can make the difference between a perfectly cooked piece of fish, and one that is overcooked.  Unfortunately, I erred in the other direction.  Although my piece of fish was cooked perfectly, Roy's was a bit under done.  I apologize profusely!

Again with the do overs, I wish I'd reduced the lemon juice a bit before adding the butter.  It was just a bit too runny the way it was.  I think the intensity of the lemon would have helped as well.  Live and learn!

The wine, however, made up for at least part of my boo boos.  It was my favorite of the evening.  Boedecker Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2010.

It had a nice balance of fruit and acidity.  Very drinkable and went well with the fish.  Look for this one!

So, tomorrow we cleanse our palate.  Thank goodness!

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Seafood - Crab en Brochette

I think I talked before about my seven course dinner plan.  If not, here it is:

First Course - Appetizer
Second Course - Soup
Third Course - Fish
Fourth Course - Palate Cleanser
Fifth Course - Entree
Sixth Course - Salad
Seventh Course - Dessert

This is my game plan for most of my dinner parties.  It's just easier to work within a framework.  The Complete Space Needle dinner that you could order at the restaurant had only three courses.  But there were so many choices!  I couldn't decide!  So, I ended up with two fish courses because I love Dungeness crab, and it happens to be Copper River salmon season.

Crab en Brochette with Bearnaise Sauce

Crab wrapped in Bacon? Gotta have it!
For the brochettes

1 pound lump crabmeat, picked clean (I highly recommend Dungeness crab if you can get it)
1 cup butter crackers, crushed (recommended: Ritz)
3 scallions, tops and whites finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3 T Sherry wine
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
9 slices bacon, cut in half to make 18 pieces

Mix all ingredients except bacon.  Form crab mixture into walnut sized balls.  Wrap each with 1/2 slice bacon.  Place in baking dish, with the cut side of the bacon down.  If you want to use a toothpick to hold it together you can, but I didn't need to.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until bacon is crisp.  Meanwhile, make the Bearnaise sauce.

Bearnaise Sauce

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
4 shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
4 white peppercorns, crushed
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup dry white wine
4 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne

Combine shallots, tarragon, peppercorns, vinegar and wine in a small saucepan.  Simmer until liquid has reduced to about 1/4 cup.  Strain out solids and reserve liquid.  Add liquid to egg yolks in a blender.  Heat butter until butter is melted and quite hot.  Add to blender mixture while blender is running,  slow and steady.  Blend until thickened.  Add salt and cayenne. 

To serve, arrange crab brochettes on plate and top with about 1/4 cup of sauce.

Due to the high cost of the crab, I didn't practice this recipe beforehand.  My sauce did not turn out quite as thick as I would like.  In retrospect, I probably should have blended it a bit longer.  Hey, if I tell you about my mistakes, you won't make the same ones, right?  At least I hope not!  The flavor was great, however!  This was my favorite dish of the night.  You could maybe get by with a cheaper form of crab, since there are a lot of flavors going on.  But if you can afford it, spring for the Dungeness.  There is nothing better.  Use a high quality bacon.  I used bacon that I bought at the Butcher Shop Cafe.  Excellent!

The wine served was 2011 Domaine Marcel Lapierre Raisins Gaulois Vin de Table.   

I found this wine very interesting.  It was a light red wine, with almost a vinegary tang to it.  It was intriguing, and cut through the richness of the sauce nicely.  It paired very well with the smokiness of the bacon.  An excellent pairing!

Tomorrow, another fish course.