Wednesday, January 13, 2016

New Year's Eve Menu

For NYE, in a radical departure from past habits, I decided to spend a quiet evening in with a few friends. I wasn't in a mood for partying. The best thing about having guests, of course, is serving them awesome food, so I came up with a stress-free menu for the occasion. One complication was that it had to include a vegetarian dish. A complication, because I'm a meat-eater, and the centerpiece of a main meal, to me, is the meat. On the other hand, I didn't want to take the easy way out and serve my vegetarian friend just the side dishes or some such indignity. Where I did go the easy road was with the side dishes: potato puree and peas practically make themselves. Also, it's important to have a dessert that can be made hours in advance.

The menu

Carrot-Mango Cappuccino

Glazed Pork Roast or Vegetarian Königsberger Klopse
with Potato-Chestnut Puree and Green Peas


As always, when you have an entire menu to cook, preparation and planning are everything. One thing to make life easier, is to do a dessert that can be prepared well in advance, which is why I went with the Tiramisù. Once assembled, it has to rest in a cool place for a few hours. Let's start with that. 

200g princess fingers biscuits
2 egg yolks
50g sugar
250g mascarpone
grated zest of half a lemon and half an orange
2 egg whites
1 tbsp of sugar
a pinch of salt
2,5 dl espresso
2 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp Amaretto 
cocoa powder

If you have no Amaretto around, there are a few more commonplace types of alcohol that work just as well. Personally, I used Bacardi Spiced Rum. Whisky might work, or Cognac. 
For the cream filling, beat the two egg yolks with the sugar until the mass is fluffy and light yellow. Add the mascarpone and the fruit zests. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff. Add the tbsp of sugar and continue beating until shiny. Carefully add to the mascarpone cream. 
Cover the bottom of a flat bowl with half the princess fingers. Soak in half of the espresso-sugar-amaretto mix. Spread half of the mascarpone cream over the fingers. Dip the second half of the fingers into the espresso mix, layer on top of the cream. Spread the second half of the cream over them. Store in a cool place for about two hours. Before serving, dust extensively with the cocoa powder. 

Glazed Pork Roast
1kg pork, from the neck
1 dl maple syrup
1 tbsp mustard
1 clove of garlic

Again, the roast was a good choice because it requires minimal attention, once everything is put together. The amount here was enough for three people. Since the roast needs a lot of time in the oven, this should be your next step. 
Crush the clove of garlic and mix with the maple syrup and the mustard. 
In a frying pan, fry the pork until golden brown on all sides. Put in an oven-proof vessel, glaze with half of the maple syrup mix and roast in the middle of the oven at around 180°C for an hour. Pour the rest of the glaze over it, leave in the oven for another half hour. 

Vegetarian Königsberger Klopse
200g tofu
fresh horseradish, grated
zest of half a lemon, grated
salt, pepper
1 tsp mustard
1 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 small egg
5 dl bouillon for boiling
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 tsp lemon juice
100g capers from the jar
salt, pepper

Tear the tofu up into a fine, crumbly mass. Mix with everything up to and including the egg. You should be able to mold the mass into small balls, like meatballs. Should the mixture be too dry, add a tiny bit of mustard or water (taste it first to check if you need more or less flavour), if it's too wet, add more breadcrumbs. Set aside. 

Carrot-Mango Cappuccino
400g carrots
1 small onion
1 clove of garlic
small piece of ginger, about 2cm
5 dl bouillon
1 mango
1 lime
tabasco, sugar, salt
200ml coconut milk
100ml cream

Peel and chop the carrots and the onion into even pieces. Remember, the smaller the pieces, the faster they will be soft. Peel and chop the garlic and the ginger. With a little oil, sautee the carrots, onion, garlic and ginger, until the onions are soft. Add the bouillon and cook until the carrots are soft. 
In a separate pot, bring the coconut milk and the cream to a boil. Cut off two fine strips of lime zest and simmer in the coconut cream for five minutes. 
When the carrots are ready, puree the soup and add lime juice, tabasco, sugar, and salt to taste. Remove the zest from the coconut cream. 
Fill the carrot soup into the heat-resistant glasses. Beat the coconut cream slightly foamy and carefully layer on top. Serve. 

Yes, I could have smoothed out the edges of the carrot soup somewhat. Next time. 

Königsberger Klopse, continued

Boil the prepared balls in bouillon, for about five minutes. Remove from bouillon, reserve the liquid. In a separate pan, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Gradually add the bouillon to make a creamy sauce. Stir in the cream. Add the lemon juice and the capers, salt and pepper to taste. 

The vegetarian in question liked it. 

Potato-Chestnut Puree and Green Peas
600g potatoes suitable for mash
300g chestnuts, peeled and probably frozen
butter, milk, salt

500g frozen green peas

For the puree, peel the potatoes and cut them into even pieces. Boil in salted water, with the chestnuts, until soft. Remove from water, puree. Add butter (I used about 50g), stir in well. Add milk to taste, additional salt if needed. 
Cook the frozen peas in bouillon until ready. 

Remove the roast from the oven, pour a tiny amount of maple syrup over the cut slices. Arrange everything neatly on pretty plates (I used an ice cream scoop for the puree), et voilà! 

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