Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Home Cooking

My late grandmother was an accomplished home gourmet and was once featured in a 1960s Better Home and Gardens article about outstanding homemakers. For reasons I know longer remember, my mother and I were discussing her mother-in-law when Mom said to me, “she used to make things like lobster bisque and bouillabaisse at home, and I always thought if you eat that at home, what’s the point of going out?”

I’m sure Mom doesn’t remember the conversation, but it’s stuck with me and since that time, mentally I’ve always made a differentiation between “home food” and “going out food.” Maybe it was my traditional American childhood diet of mac & cheese and meatloaf, but when I’m at home I crave simple foods with minimal preparation – food you can eat sitting on the couch in sweatpants watching re-runs without feeling guilty. When I’m out – really out, eyeliner-high heels-push-up bra-out - I want the most complicated item on the menu. I want to know that as much thought and preparation went into my food as I put into my outfit.

But as I’ve said before, we all do crazy things for love. So for my sweetheart’s birthday dinner, I broke all of my own home-cooking rules:

Champagne & Caviar
(served with crème fraiche, chives & roasted fingerling potatoes)

Mixed Green Salad
(with cucumbers, edible flowers & a Dijon vinaigrette)

Gin & Tonic gelatin palate cleansers

Filet Mignon aux fines herbs

Birthday Cupcakes
(with vanilla whipped cream & raspberries)

Yes, you read that correctly, I made a palate cleanser. You can too:

Gin & Tonic Jellies
From Food Network Kitchens

1 teaspoon gelatin

5 ounces tonic water

1 1/2 ounces gin

2 teaspoons lime juice

lime wedges, sliced thin

Pour about half the tonic into a bowl. Scatter the gelatin over the surface, do not stir, set aside until the gelatin blooms/softens/starts to look like gelatin. Meanwhile, warm the rest of the tonic over very low heat until just simmering. Whisk hot tonic, then gin into the gelatin. Pour jelly into glasses (I used margarita glasses, but anything will work) and garnish with lime wedges. Place in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours until set.


Anonymous said...

quite a feast! must be a lucky man!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that is some menu! Truly gourmet and inspiring!

Now I want to make a palate cleanser, lol.

Ari (Baking and Books)

ladylinoleum said...

Anytime you are feeling the need to weild your culinary tools again, you are welcome to come over to my house...I'll provide much gin.