Summer dinner w/friends: cheeses w/wine jellies, smoked pork, crepes w/ricotta & spinach, mocha semifreddo
|June 5, 2010||Posted by ameliaps under bechamel, cheese, chocolate, crepes, dessert, mousse, pork, sauces, semifreddo, summer|
We had friends over for dinner. This is my absolute favorite time of the year to entertain. Fresh pre-summer evenings in which we can sit outside with candles and the bugs are not there to bother us yet.
We set up a loooong table, with draping tablecloths, ferns from the garden and many many candles.
There was quite an interesting group: a photography artist, two scientists, a journalist from CNN, an international contract deal maker, a PR spokesposperson, two designers (one interior, one graphic), an economist and professor from Emory University, my food blogger friend (she is lovely and so is her site: check it out), an IT guru, a slow-food leader, a high-end jewelry creator, and of course me and my lovely husband Todd :)
What a fun night!
We had a lovely time and conversation was lively, with good wine, my home-made lemoncello, and delicious food. I had brought back groumet cheeses and chocolate from my recent trip to Geneva Switzerland. I served the cheeses for appetizer alongside a selection of wine jellies (bought recently at the farmers market).
Todd, my husband, smoked a lovely piece of pork shoulder in the green egg grill, after rubbing it with his special spice combination, which includes, at a minimum, freshly coarse ground pepper, paprika, and cayenne, then basting it with a vinegar mop.
Alongside the pork, I made some delicate potato souffles in individual ramekins, and then a large tray of crepes with ricotta, spinach and nutmeg, baked after covering them in bechamel sauce.
I aslo made a fresh lentil-cucumber-quinoa-parsley-celery salad, which was rather refreshing.
The Renowned Mr. Brown (smoked pork)
From the book Smoke & Spice by Cheryl and Bill Jamison.
6-8lb pork shoulder
Southern Succor Rub
1/4 Cup Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Cup Paprika
1/4 Cup Turbinado Sugar
2 Tbs Salt
2 Tsp Dry Mustard
1 Tsp Cayenne
Remaining Southern Succor Rub
2 Tbs Salt
2 Cups Cidar Vinegar
3 Tbs Black Pepper
1 Tbs Wocestershire Sauce
1 Tbs Paprika
1 Tbs cayenne
The night before the cook, rub a 6-8lb pork shoulder (Boston butt). Put the butt in a plastic bag and refrigerate overnight. Apply another coating of rub and sit out at room temp for 45 minutes. Smoke at 200-250 degrees for appox 1.5 hours per pound. Mop about once per hour.
2 Cups Flour
½ Liter milk (a little more than 2 cups)
4 Tbsp vegetable oil (what I use) OR melted butter
2 Pinches of salt
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp rum (yes, it gives it a nice aroma!!!)
Sieve the flour with salt twice. Beat the egg. In a bowl, put the sieved flour, rum, sugar and the beaten egg. Mix slowly, adding milk gently, to avoid any lumps in the batter. Leave the batter for an hour to liven before cooking. To loosen the batter, you can use use more rum or milk. After an hour, heat a non-stick pan. Add a small quantity of oil or butter and wait till you hear the sizzle sound. Pour a small ladle of the batter and swirl the pan to spread the batter evenly in the pan. Reduce the flame and allow one side to cook. Now, flip the other side and cook for couple of minutes. If you have a stuffing, you can put it on the crepe and fold it into four. Else, you can roll it. Continue the same procedure to make crepes from the remaining batter.
Here’s a very good video on HOW to make crepes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1DgmbMMOgA
Just fill the crepes with 1 large tub ricotta, 1 bag spinach (sauteed in olive oil and garlic), plus salt, pepper, a good amount of fresh grated nutmeg (I love it), and a couple of egg yolks (to bind). Then cover with bechamel sauce (I like to add to it 1/2 cup grated swiss cheese right after its ready, so it melts right into it and makes it nice and ooey-gooey cheesy), and bake at 350F until golden and crispy.
Bechamel Sauce (a.k.a. white sauce)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups milk, heated
Fresh Grated Nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, but don’t let it brown, about 2 minutes. Add the hot milk, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a boil. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat.
Mocha semifreddo mousse (chocolate, coffee, rum)
4 eggs (for this preparation I use the ones that are pasteurized)
110 gr. sugar (a tad more than 1/2 cup)
2 Tbsp powdered coffee (granulated)
60 gr. (about 2 1/2 oz.) dark chocolate (semi-sweet or bittersweet)
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp rum
2.5 dl (about 1 cup) whipping cream
Pull out 4 large bowls.
In the FIRST BOWL: whip egg yolks and sugar placing it in a bain-marie over hot water, until fluffy. Add the coffee powder and stir.
In the SECOND BOWL: melt the chocolate at bain-marie with the water and rum. Once melted, combine it with the whipped egg yolk mixture.In the THIRD BOWL: whip the cream until medium stiff peaks forms. Combine with the other two mixtures.
In the FOURTH BOWL: whip the egg white unil stiff peaks form. Genrly fold them into the previous mixes.
Pour into ramekins (or like I did, into tall shot glasses) and freeze for at least three hours before serving.