Monday, March 15, 2010

Dinner Party, Shamrocks, Food and Drink.

Sadly two of our dinner guests had to cry off on Saturday night because they had a family member in somewhat serious medical trouble. However, our other two guests made it OK and we enjoyed our meal. We had homemade tomato soup with a swirl of basil pesto, Catalina Cranberry chicken, Goat Cheese Potato Purée and green beans followed by Snowball Chocolate Cake. We served this with a Fetzer Sauvignon Blanc. We had a very good evening and our last guest didn't leave until midnight. I am very fond of the Snowball Chocolate cake which isn't too good for me - we gave our guests some to take home with them but we still have a good chunk to enjoy ourselves. We discussed time change and I tried to re-set my watch but I could not, for the life of me, remember how to do it (I haven't had it very long) but Sunday morning I figured it out. I reset most of the other clocks before we went to bed and was quite surprised my desktop had reset itself. It didn't last year and I figured being built prior to the US changing the dates of daylight savings, it never would change itself. Guess I was wrong. My Palm doesn't change at this time of year though.
We were given a Shamrock by one of our guests - I have never actually seen one before and I hadn't realised they had flowers - just never thought of it I guess. It is a pretty plant and I checked on the web to see how to look after it. Apparently one can get them with different coloured flowers too. Should bring us the luck of the Irish I guess. We could use a little luck in this household lately. Talking of which, we have another doctor visit today, only this time its me. I have been waiting to see this doctor for 6 or 7 months now. A very unusual occurrence - to me at least. I have never waited that long to see anyone before.
We just got a new copy of Food and Drink from our LCBO (Liquor Store) and there are some very good recipes in it. I thought the cover was one of the prettiest I have seen for a while. It has a picture of Deep Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes on the front with gorgeous looking crystalised violets on top. I don't know that I would ever bother to make them, but I would certainly not refuse one if it was offered to me. Well its chocolate, isn't it? However, there is another recipe which if I was feeling flush in the pocket I would certainly try as it involves two of my biggest favourites, asparagus and lobster. I have not included the recipe for crêpes as, apart from adding lemon zest to the batter, they are more or less the same as you would find anywhere. Crêpes can be made in advance and frozen with a sheet of waxed paper in between each one. You can also buy pre-made crêpes but these are usually slightly sweet and not really suitable for savoury recipes.
Asparagus and Lobster Crêpes with Fines Herbes Hollandaise Sauce Food and Drink Spring 2010
Serves 4.
If preparing this for a dinner party, the asparagus, lobster, crêpes and vinegar reduction can all be prepared beforehand so that the only thing left to prepare is the hollandaise. Make sure to use a good quality butter so that the hollandaise has great flavour.
1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed Cooked meat of 1 large lobster, or 2 lobster tails (about 1 1/2 lbs loster before cooking) sprinkling of salt plus 1/2 tsp.
Fines Herbes Hollandaise
2 tbs white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water 3 large egg yolks 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cubed 2 tbs lemon juice white pepper to taste 1 tbs fresh tarragon, finely chopped 1 tbs fresh chives, finely chopped 1 tbs fresh chervil, finely chopped.
Preheat oven to 300°F.
In a large pot, steam or boil asparagus until just tender, about 10 mins, cool under cold water, drain and set aside.
Coarsely chop cooked lobster, set aside
Prepare crêpes.
Divide the asparagus into 8 separate bundles. Place a bundle in each of 8 crêpes, sprinkle with salt and roll to enclose. Place asparagus in a glass baking dish, top with lobster and cover with foil. Just before serving, and no sooner, place in heated oven for 15 mins to warm through.
In a small saucepan over medium high heat reduce (boil) vinegar, water and 1/2 tsp salt until approximately 3 tbs remains, remove from heat.
Lower heat to medium-low, add yolks to pan and return to heat, whisking constantly until foamy and lightly thickened. Make sure not to scramble eggs; if the eggs begin to cook too quickly pull off the heat and whisk vigorously to cool slightly before continuing.
Begin to whisk butter into pan 1 cube at a time. Once all the butter is incorporated, whisk in lemon juice, white pepper and fresh herbs. Use immediately.
Place two asparagus crêpes on each plate and top each with some of the warmed lobster. Spoon hollandaise overtop, serve immediately.
Have a great day


  1. Wonderful recipe, but the dish will pile on the inches. But I can see that your guests again had an excellent meal. They are so lucky.

  2. Tell you what, I'll come to you for the sweet potatoes and you can pop over here for dinner.

    I think that lobster dish will be wonderful, if I can afford the lobster, I will have to save my pennies for asparagus season. Damn the weight I say!!!!!!!