Breast of Duckling - Demi Glace, Foie Gras, Cranberries, Truffles
We have simple dinners at home, often leftovers from a catering engagement. Last night was typical. I prepared a Maple Leaf breast of duckling, simple sauteed in its own rendered fat. Vegetables were sauteed as well; fingerling potatoes, baby zucchini and mini portabello mushrooms. A little pickled red cabbage and a sauce of duck demi glace enhanced with cranberries poached in port, fresh foie gras and a few sliced of Perigourde black truffle finished the dished. Lacking any "cheap" California wine, we pulled a bottle of 1995 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac, France, from the cellar. We finished dinner with a slice of Christmas Stollen from D'Angelo Bakery and honeycomb chocolates from Robataille Candies. Drop me an email for the recipe. Chef2@aol.com
Recently we catered a luncheon for some 300 guests at a local hall. The challenge was to have guests served and a presentation from the host group completed in one hour. The only practical way to do this is to preset the luncheon prior to guest arrival. The art in planning such a meal is to select a menu that has wide appeal, hold well and can be dished up close to service time.
The location was The Carillo Ballroom, build in 1914. The whole event area is build on springs that give the floor some give. The Carrillo Ballroom boasts one of the best dance floors in the Western United States. Its spring-loaded maple dance floor moves under every step, preventing injury and reducing fatigue. A favorite for all dancers, from swing to ballroom.
I chose a Chinese chicken salad in the style of Chef Wolfgang Puck. Rotisserie chicken was set on a slaw like salad mix tossed with a sesame oil dressing and a dessert of poached pears on puff pastry with a pistachio fragipane cream.
With a crew of 12 kitchen staff and 10 servers, we were able to set up tables in one hour and the dish up took 20 minutes to plate and preset the food and beverage at the table. The client was very satisfied and booked us the next day for the following year.
We took a walk in a local forested area this morning and came across this chicken of the woods. It is late in the season to see this in Santa Barbara, Typically, they appear in September on eucalyptus. This specimen looks like is is growing in dirt but there is dead wood underneath. It is most probably on eucalyptus and to be avoided. An earlier crop of shaggy mane has reappeared in a neaby lawn as well as a few agaricus bisporus, white button mushroom.