After the Valentine's Day four course disaster of 2009 I decided that I am the Carla of cooking.
In case you are wondering "who?"...um, Carla from Top Chef? The awesome former model turned Big Birdesque crazy lady who only seemed capable of making pastry for the first 9 episodes of the season? Yes, that Carla. I am her. Not just because I regularly do spontaneous dance routines and have a tendancy to be loud, but because I seem to fail with most recipes that don't involve sugar. Actually, most recipes that come before a dessert course would be a more fair assesment. And to be fair, Carla appears to be quite adept at entrees these days, so maybe I am just a bad cook.
I can only do dessert. After 3 almost inedible courses on Valentine's night...dessert was my saving grace (that, and wine). The menu was as follows:
- Warm brussel sprouts and artichoke salad - much better when I fried the leftovers with some bacon last night;
- Ricotta gnundi in a sage brown butter - I didn't have time to make the gnundi so we had it over spaghetti;
- Braised monkfish with a tomato and bacon compote - bland. We smashed it up into fish cakes the next day, added lots of salt and pepper and fried them.
You may notice a theme that frying items I cook with butter makes them edible. So does an entire bottle of expensive red wine but you can't have either everyday.
So, dessert was a recipe from one of my favorite restaurants in NYC, the Spotted Pig. I made an Orange Chocolate Bourbon Cake with a spiced cream. Heaven. That is, until I tried to cut the cake out with a heart-shaped toast cutter (yes cute, but still stupid). I ended up putting the cutter on the plate and inserting the cake into it until it mashed together. After that, I took the crispy top from the rest of the cake and put it on top of each heart so you couldn't see that I had created the Frankenstein of desserts. The cream helped with the presentation also. I added cloves and cinnamon and even though it might have been a little over whipped, the taste combination was pretty incredible.
My one wish (beyond the obvious one where everything came out perfect and I served it in high heels and a size 2 designer dress) is to have saved a little orange zest for a garnish. Instead, I used it to make an old fashion with the leftover bourbon...still an excellent use of said orange, as I needed it before serving the 3 initial courses.
It was scrumptious.